City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

Saturday, September 26, 2015


5 out of 5 stars

Some stories tell of wands and others of rings, but this one introduces a different phenomenon: The Shadow World. The story follows fifteen-year-old Clary Fray. Clary believes she's normal, but (as many heroines of fantasy novels) she's about to find out that she about as different as you can get. One night, Clary goes to a club called Pandemonium in Manhattan with her long-time friend Simon, so they're dancing and Clary notices that there are hooded figures armed with a knife following a couple that she assumed retreated to another room for privacy. She brings this to Simon's attention, but he tells her he can't see them. So while he goes to call security, Clary decides to take matters into her own hands, she goes after them. At first, when she enters the supply room, she sees nothing. She can't see any tone despite the lighting. Then, as if they sprung into existence between one blink her eyes and the next, she sees them. The hooded figures have now revealed their faces, one fair-haired and tawny-eyed (we learn that his name is Jace, very vital character) and the other, the taller, black-haired and blue-eyed one (Alec) bears resemblance to the girl that Clary initially noticed go into the supply room with the blue haired boy (Isabelle). Blue hair turns out to be a demon that needs to be destroyed, according to Jace that is. Clearly, he's crazy...Right? Clary later finds that he's not crazy and that she's barely scratched the surface with the knowledge of this "shadow world" that Jace fills her in on. Apparently, vampires, werewolves, faeries, angels, demons, and zombies exist (but zombies mostly exist on the south. Again, according to Jace)

Throughout the book, Clary learns of the Shadowhunters, a people she and those around her (also Shadowhunters) slowly begin to realize she apart of.

A thousand years ago, a man named Jonathan Shadowhunter-for whom the Shadowhunters were named after- goes to Lake Lyn, the body of water in Idris (a country between France and Germany that is unknown to mundanes [regular humans], the homeland of all Shadowhunters) he summoned the Angel Raziel. When the angel appeared, Jonathan Shadowhunter requested that the race of man be bequeathed with a defense against demons trying to invade the human world. The Angel Raziel provided Jonathan Shadowhunter with the Mortal Instruments, three objects that included the Mortal Cup, the Mortal Sword, and the Mortal Mirror. Two of these three are thought of by Shadowhunters as myths because of the lack of mention of they're whereabouts. The Mortal Sword is kept in Idris for trials (it forces a Shadowhunter to tell the truth). Raziel put his blood in the Mortal Cup and ordered Jonathan Shadowhunter to drink the blood which had properties that equipped him with special skills and abilities that aided him in the fight against demons. These skills and abilities can be passed on to offspring. Whether both parents are Shadowhunters or just one, the offspring will be a Shadowhunter (it's dominant).

Clary goes back home the next day after she and Simon go to a friend's poetry reading (afternoon after another encounter with Jace) to find her mother gone. She finds evidence of struggle and an attack, and something else she didn't expect to see in a million years: a creature that can only be described as a cross between an alligator with its body structure, a lizard with its long tongue, and a centipede with its many legs that can crawl on walls and can talk and is HUGE. Except this creature isn't something natural, isn't of the human world. It's a demon. She kills it after much struggle.

Also, by way of Luke Garroway, a very close friend of her mom's (Jocelyn Fray) whom Clark's known since she was very young, she finds out that she is indeed (as if there wasn't enough evidence already) a Shadowhunter. In fact, both her parents ARE (notice the present tense) Shadowhunters. Clary is surprised by this because her mother's told her that her father, a veteran- a man whose portrait is hung in their living room- died in a car accident outside Albany just before she was born. Now Luke, man who practically raised her, and while is also a Shadowhunter turned werewolf, is telling her otherwise. Not only is Clary's father alive, but he's an enemy of the Clave (a form of government within the Shadowhunter world, located in Idris). About 20 years ago, Clary's father Valentine Morgenstern, organized the Circle, a change-seeking group that wanted to improve the Clave and the Shadowhunter world in general. However, after the death of his own father, Valentine taken up by grief, started straying away from the original vision of the Circle and adapted new ideas, immoral ideas that included killing away Downworlders (werewolves, warlocks, faeries, etc) because he saw them as unnatural and wrong. So he wanted to weed out what he saw as corruption from the world. During this time (and even earlier on) Valentine and Jocelyn were madly in love and happily marrie, but Jocelyn noticed these changes in him after his father's passing. He became meaner and more obsessed with his new ideas. So much so, that when he and Luke (who was his best friend at the time) went hunting and Luke got bitten by a werewolf, he told him to keep his distance until he was sure he hadn't contacted lycanthropy (there wasn't a significant chance of not contacting it anyway). On the next full moon, he turned, and when he did Valentine told him to do himself a favor and end his own life. Luke was considering this when he came across a wolf pack, joined them, and became the leader (to become an alpha, you have to kill the current leader) and moved on. He and Jocelyn  (who was devastated by Valentine's behavior toward his best friend) met in secret and plotted against Valentine by organizing the Uprising. Valentine's initial plan was to show up during the Accords (annual signing of a peace treaty between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, signed by representatives of each group) which takes place in the Accords Hall in Idris, and kill the downworlders there. Luke and Jocelyn gathered all the Downworlders they could find and fought against the Circle. Valentin, who didn't quite suspect such a betrayal, much less knew Luke was still alive, staged his, Jocelyn, and their son Jonathan's death by setting a fire to Jocelyn's parents house (who were also killed in the fire) that left nothing but remains of and scorched land. Jocelyn, who was pregnant with Clary at the time, fled to New York and abandoned the shadow world. She kept this world from Clary to protect her. Or so says Luke anyway, who found Clary and her mother in New York when Clary was very young. Now that Clary knows the truth, she's determined to find her mother, who was kidnapped by Valentine. Valentine is convinced that Jocelyn possesses the Mortal Cup, an artifact thought to be long lost. With the cup, he intends to breed a new generation of Shadowhunters and righten the wrongs of the shadow world.

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