Wednesday, 20 April 2016

City of Bones & City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare: Where I Struggle To Get IT!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker Books
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know... 
I have never been, and will never be, someone who beats around the bush. I am just going to come right out and say it: I did not enjoy this book. It's the second time I have read it, and I didn't enjoy it any more the second time around. The important thing here is this though, I am not going to give up on this series. I am determined to finish this series, the Infernal Devices (which I hear is a lot better!) and then get to Lady Midnight straight after. My hopes is that I will enjoy the series more as it goes along. But, at the moment, I am not all that impressed with the series and really can't see what all the fuss is about.

So you might be curious why I ended up not liking this series. Don't worry, I am going to go into all the detail, as I feel it is only fair to explain why I didn't enjoy this book. So, here we go, time for the negatives:

The length: Oh my, I hate unnecessarily long books, and this one was just that. It is over 400 pages long and really doesn't need to be. I understand that Clare is trying to create a world here, one that is very vast and needs a lot of world building. I just don't think that needs to be crammed into the whole first book, especially when it means that the plot drags because of it. I got so bored whilst reading this book, which isn't good for a first book in a series - they're supposed to get you hooked, so you want to continue on.

The Harry Potter link: For anyone who doesn't know this, Clare started out writing Harry Potter fanfiction on a popular fanfiction site. The Mortal Instruments is not a release of her Draco trilogy, the story is actually different - but she didn't use parts of it in these books and the characters were basically the same as the ones she used in the original Draco trilogy. In the original fanfiction, Jace was Draco - the blonde hair and daddy issues make a lot of sense! Clary was Ginny. Other characters appeared, for example Luke is her version of Lupin. Not to mention Voldemort became Valentine and the Death Eaters then became his Circle - fighting for Shadowhunters as the pure race, rather than Purebloods. And muggles became mundanes. Clare wouldn't be the first person to profit off of releasing a book with characters based off another authors - E.L. James has made millions doing just that. But it still bugged me a little whilst reading and it was hard for me to look past.

The characters: Characters are hugely important to me. I want to love the main characters in a story, otherwise I find it hard to continue reading their story, because I just don't care what happens to them. I had a massive issue with both Jace and Clary in the first book - I don't like either of them.

I really disliked Clary because I found her to be whiny, annoying and prone to making ridiculously stupid decisions. There was also a part of this book where she literally just claws Jace across the face, like some kind of cat woman - for no reason. Gah, Jace should have turned round and decked her! She plays the helpless damsel far too often, she is always in need of saving. Nope. No. Nope. Please, please, please get less annoying as this series goes on. I BEG YOU!

I really thought I'd love Jace, because he is very sarcastic and sarcasm gives me life. But, alas, he just didn't work for me. It came across like Clare was trying too hard with him, every single line he utters is something sarcastic and it just made it so he never felt like a real person. Plus. let's be real for a second, Jace just comes across like an arsehole in this book with zero redeeming qualities.


The writing - When I'm reading a book with terribly writing, I feel like crying. This was not an example of good writing. But, having already read book two, I am happy to say that the writing improved sooooooo much between book one and book two. It's Clare's first published novel so I can understand why her writing might be a little lacking at the start. It made this hard to read though, especially when she starts describing apples of tasting of green. WTF?!? What the hell does green taste like? Clare throws in far too many similes in this book, and ones that never make any sense.

All in all, I didn't feel like this was the most awful thing I have ever read. But I honestly didn't really enjoy it or feel like continuing the series after finishing. The one positive is that I do love a lot of the secondary characters, which makes me want to continue on just to see what happens to them. As far as book one goes, I don't think it's a strong start to the series and it does make me very nervous to continue on.

But
The truth is, there is one giant reason I struggle so much with this series and that is this:

The author: I don't like Cassandra Clare, not one little bit and I just have zero respect for her as an author. She plagiarised, this is a thing that happened A LOT with her fanfiction. Her very popular fanfiction was removed because of plagiarism. She took chunks of other authors works, as well as using dialogue from TV shows. Now, everybody makes mistakes and that is fine. But own up to them. Hold your hands up to them and apologise. I would be able to move past is easily if Clare had apologised. She didn't. She said the plagiarism was an intentional homage to these books and TV shows. She then changed her writing name from Claire to Clare, to get away from the google searches that would lead you to all the plagiarism articles (these can now be found using Clare). And also harassed and bullied anyone online who called her out on it. No, bad Clare! So yes, I didn't enjoy the book as a whole, but there is a small part of me that worries that my dislike of Clare also influenced how I felt about the book. EH! 

2/5 Butterflies


City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker Books

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
Now I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book so much more than book one. It definitely still had its issues though and didn't make me love the series or really make me want to continue on - I still will though, as I am a determined reader! The major improvement was the writing, it has changed so much from book one to book two. It was so much better in this book and wasn't painful to read. It gives me a lot more confidence in the next books, if the writing continues to improve like this.

My issues with this book were the following:

Simon & Clary: These two are just super awkward together and don't work at all. I just felt they got together far too quickly in this book. Everything about them as a couple just made me cringe so much whilst reading this book, it was so uncomfortable. At that point Clary lusting over the guy she thinks is her brother grossed me out less than her and Simon.

The pacing and length: What is with Clare and her pacing?!?! It's so off. This book started so strong but then began to completely drag again. I have no idea why that is, but they just do. I think it's all the unnecessary descriptions of things, just paragraphs that can be completely skipped and you'd miss nothing of importance. These books are just too long, they definitely could do with being shorter or better edited.


Jace & Clary: I still don't like either of them, they just both annoy me the absolute crap out of me.

The Simon storyline: Anyone who has read it will know what I mean when I say the Simon storyline. I knew what Simon became before I ever read this book, I had just hoped it would have been done better than it was. I was shaking my head so much whilst reading that. Simon, boy, you are sooooo dumb! You kind of deserved everything that happened to you. Make better decisions, don't be another Clary!

There are things that keep me interested in this series though and they are:

Izzy, Alec & Magnus: These three save this series for me. I LOVE THEM!!! I just adore their characters so much more than Clary and Jace. I will continue the series in the hopes that I will be given way more Izzy, Alec and Magnus.
3/5 Butterflies


Talk to me, people, tell me I am not alone! I feel so alone in my opinion of this series. It feels like every other human being absolutely loves it. Is there anyone out there who felt the same as me? Does the series improve as it goes along? Will Jace and Clary ever not annoy me? Do I get more Magnus, Alec and Izzy in the other books? 

12 comments:

  1. I never finished the last three books but I did love the Infernal Devices so much more so hopefully you will as well.

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  2. I'm really curious as to what you'll think of City of Glass (I just finished it yesterday). I'm glad another person in the world doesn't completely drool over this series though. Don't get me wrong, It's okay, but I was starting to feel like a bit of a freak for not loving it as much as everyone else seems to!

    aimee-barnes.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. I have love-hate relationship with this series. I love book 1,2,4 hate book 3,5 and just okay with the final one. You'll definitely get more Izzy and Malec. And also more Raphael Santiago! Those are the reason why I finished the series. And unfortunately, for me, Clary and Jace would get more and more annoying as the series progressed.

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

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  4. It sounds like you have quite the struggle. I don't know that I'd be able to continue on in a series if I hated the first books so much! Best of luck to you haha

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  5. Arrgh but I love these books so much! It hurts that you don't like them, but I do understand. In terms of Jace and Clary they pretty much stay the same throughouth the book so I was never really for them. But Simon, Izzy, Alec and Magnus really do make the books worthwhile <3 And the pacing didn't bother me at all, but then again I've never read these books slower than binge-reading mode.

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  6. I completely agree with you, Charnell.
    I was disappointed with this series and gave up after book four.
    Good luck with book three :)

    Jess @ A Book Addict's Bookshelves

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  7. You are definitely not alone! I've read all of TMI & TID, but still don't really enjoy the story, characters, writing, anything. I'm part way through Lady Midnight, and have been for weeks, and I honestly think I'm only reading it because of the hype and peer pressure.

    The whole Clare situation around plagiarism and bullying sickens me, and I begrudge all the hype she gets because of it. :/

    I hope you enjoy the other books, though, if you read them. They're alright, but not outstanding, imo.

    Sophie @ Sophie Reads YA

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  8. I have the series in print copy and they keep staring at me from the bookshelf. I can't figure out why I haven't started them yet??? Weird.

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  9. I didn't really like the first book either. I tried to reread it so I could continue on with the rest of the series, but no such luck.

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  10. I have ALL the same issues you have with these books, this series, the author. ALL of it. I really dislike Clare and I can't get past how she plagiarized so many popular (and much better) stories. That being said, I have read books 1-5 in this series and plan to read the last one soon. By book 3, Jace at least had grown on me. I still dislike Clary though. The secondary characters are really the highlight for me. I didn't mind book 4 but it definitely wasn't that great. The last 3 novels weren't planned, Clare basically took a deal for more $$$ and added more books. Ugh. Anyways good luck with the rest of the series and hopefully I'll get to the last book by the time you do and we can compare notes LOL!

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  11. First of: Yes you will get more Alec, Magnus and Izzy in the other books. So maybe that's enough of a reason to convince you to read on? I'm not sure. :/ I actually really really loved this series and I'm sorry you didn't. But maybe you will enjoy it better? The second book already got one whole star more in your review than City of Bones...

    If you're interested check out my blog. I'm (kind of) hosting a Shadowhunters Week there for my own benefit because I'm trying to reread all the books and I needed a little more motivation. So I'm doing a ReadAthon this week :) If you want to join and continue reading the series you're very welcome! :) Or you can just post this review of the books you've read at the end of the week on the final post.

    I do hope you'll enjoy the books better if you continue reading the series.

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  12. BOOKISH TWIN POWERS: ACTIVATE!

    For what it's worth, I started out chronologically (The Infernal Devices first - I was a clueless pumpkin) and that series genuinely IS better - not least because it wasn't Clare's first, so the writing flowed better and it wasn't as "Be Vewy, Vewy Quiet, I'm Publishing Fanfiction" as TMI. Also, no brother/sister lusting, so you get to keep your lunch! All positive things. BUUUUT the characters, especially the primary romantic leads, are virtually the same people in both series. And I can see that bugging you as much as it did me, because BOOKISH TWIN POWERS: ACTIVATE. As mentioned before.

    I also agree on every, every, eeeeeeeeverything, because lordie lord, was TMI tedious to get through. I wound up reading 5 out of 6 and to this day I haven't been able to force myself to suffer through Heavenly Fire. (DID YOU SEE THE SIZE OF THAT BLUNT MURDER WEAPON? PROFESSOR PLUM DOESN'T NEED A CANDLESTICK IN THE LIBRARY, HE CAN JUST USE WHAT'S ON HAND.) I mean, I've read bigger books before, but... those had good pacing. #oopsIsaidit

    Having said that, I do hope it improves for you in the latter part of the double-trilogy. And I'll see you 'round Lady Midnight, when I finally talk myself into it. ;)

    - Lexie

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