Book Review: City of Bones

city_of_bones_book_cover With the movie (obviously, based on the book) coming out next week, I decided I had to pick this up and start the popular trilogy. So, the following is my review of the book. A comparison of the book to the movie will follow next month.

My overall impression is positive. I felt that the characters were well portrayed and that the author did a great job of covering darker themes while sticking to a YA standard. There was a little bit of swearing, sexual innuendo, and moderate violence. I know it sounds weird, but I appreciate that the book wasn’t squeaky clean, as that feels contrived to me. I remember what it was like being a teenager, and some of the things I heard at school would fall into a rated R genre. But as I said, the material wasn’t offensive or graphic and fit in perfectly with the story and characters, which made it feel like a more alive/realistic story. Another thing I appreciated is that things weren’t simplified too much (one of my biggest pet peeves when reading YA literature. Teenagers aren’t that dumb and can understand an intricate plot with three dimensional characters if we’d give them a chance! Okay, rant over. Moving on…).

The author also did a great job of setting up the characters and the plot. Everything was tied together nicely by the end and came full circle. The ending was a bit abrupt, but I would still like to read the next book of the trilogy.

The writing itself was really polished and tight. I don’t think an editor would be able to do much more to make it clean and impeccable.

A couple of things I didn’t love:

It seemed to me that almost everyone they ran into in New York City – in the middle of the night – were the same age as them (15-16). I’m not saying teens aren’t out late at night getting into trouble, but really? Every character they happen to meet on the streets is their same age? I get that this is YA, but not everyone they would meet would be 15 years old. What’s wrong with making a random character 18 or 19 every once in a while?

The author does put a love triangle in the story. I really am sick of reading about them, but it wasn’t enough to detract from the story, and (as I said above) I still want to finish the rest of the trilogy.

I also think it’s odd that so many teenagers were able to do whatever they wanted with no parental supervision. The main character is covered because her mother is missing and her dad died a long time ago. However, her friend who apparently comes from a normal family with a decent mother, is out at all hours of the night and sometimes did not go home for days at a time. It just seemed odd to me that his mother wasn’t worried about him or something. Even if the author had the friend call home to check in, I could have swallowed that more easily than him acting like he’s already in college.

Out of five stars, I give it three and a half. I think I may even like the next book better. I’ll let you know after I’ve finished reading it.