Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mortal Instruments: Book One - City of Bones

Mortal Instruments: Book One - City of Bones

Cassandra Clare
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-1416955078

Clary Fray has a pretty normal life for a fifteen year old. She lives with her mother Jocelyn in New York City and she spends much of her spare time painting or drawing. When she is not doing this she is spending time with her best friend Simon.

Tonight Clary and Simon are going to a club called Pandemonium. Clary loves the place and Simon goes along for the ride, even though he does not really like the club with its singular music and its even more singular clientele. On this particular occasion things do not go as planned at all. Clary sees a blue haired boy following a gorgeous girl into one of back rooms of the club. The couple are then followed by two other boys and Clary is able to see that at least one of the boys is armed with a knife. She tells Simon about what she has seen and then she goes after the boys to see if there is anything she can do to help.

To her horror Clary sees the two boys kill the blue haired boy and to Clary's amazement the body vanishes into thin air. The boys, Alex and Jace, explain that the blue haired boy was not a boy at all – he was a demon.

The next day Clary and her mother have a fight and Clary leaves the apartment in a huff. She meets Jace again and he explains that he, Alec and Isabella (the gorgeous girl from the club) are Shadowhunters, people who dedicate their lives to ridding the world of demons. Then Clary gets a strange phone call from her mother. Worried about what might be happening at home she hurries to the apartment. When she arrives she discovers that her mother is gone and that a horrific monster has taken up residence in the place. The creature is a kind of demon called a Ravener and it is eager to kill her and eat her.

By some miracle Clary manages to kill the Ravener and Jace arrives on the scene to take Clary to the Institute, a kind of Shadowhunter refuge, so that her wounds can be tended and so that they can all discuss what to do next.

Clary is determined to do everything she can to find her mother. Somehow her mother's story is connected to that of a rogue Shadowhunter called Valentine and to the disappearance of something called the Mortal Cup. Furthermore Clary discovers that her mother once was a Shadowhunter and this means that Clary carries Shadowhunter blood within her.

Readers will find this extraordinary and very compelling story hard to set aside once they start reading. There are fascinating histories about demons, Shadowhunters and other races; there are tales of revenge; there is a satisfying dash of romance; and there are frequent plot twists to keep the reader guessing. The combination of these factors makes this a title highly entertaining and not a little bit addictive.