City of Bones (Clare)

City of Bones (Immortal Instruments series #1)
Cassandra Clare, 2007
Simon & Schuster
669 pp.
ISBN-13: 9781416995753 

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. Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Aka Cassandra Claire
Birth—Jul7 31, 1973
Where—Tehren, Iran (to US parents)
Awards—nominated for or won 20 state, regional, and
   organizational awards, including the American Library Assn.,
   Locus, and Coventry Inspiration Awards.
Currently—lives in California and New York City

Cassandra Clare is an American author who has written the bestselling young adult saga, "The Mortal Instruments" series.

Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Tehran. As a child Clare traveled frequently, spending time in England, France, and Switzerland. She returned to the U.S. for high school (in Los Angeles, California). She later split her time between California and New York, where she worked at various entertainment magazines and tabloids including the Hollywood Reporter.

In 2004, Clare started working on her first-published novel City of Bones, inspired by the urban landscape of Manhattan. The book was released by 2007.

City of Bones, a contemporary fantasy story revolving around characters Clary Fray, Jace Wayland, and Simon Lewis, became a New York Times bestseller upon its release. City of Ashes and City of Glass completed the trilogy. A fourth installment, City of Fallen Angels was announced in 2009.

According to Clare, City of Fallen Angels is actually the start of a second "Mortal Instruments" cycle, to include two other books: City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire. The new cycle is to focus on the same characters as in the first cycle, as well as a few new characters we will meet in the new books.

Clare also announced in 2009 a new series of prequels called "The Infernal Devices" set in the same universe as "The Mortal Instruments," but in the Victorian era. This series is to consist of three books: The Clockwork Angel, published in 2010, followed by The Clockwork Prince in 2011, and The Clockwork Princess, in 2012.

"The Mortal Instruments" series has been optioned for film by Unique Features and Constantin Films. First-time writer Jessica Postigo has been hired to write the screenplay, based on the first book in the series. (From Wikipedia.)

Book Reviews
Vampires, werewolves, and creatures of every eerie stripe are lurking all over New York, as Cassandra Clare's City of Bones begins "The Mortal Instruments" trilogy. Clary Fray, 15, knows something's strange when she sees a punk rocker demon destroyed by Jace, Alec, and Isabelle. What's more, her friend Simon can't see any of the rune tattooed trio. It turns out that the three powerful teens are Shadowhunters, a race of warriors. Clary's mother has hidden her own connection to these magical marauders, but the teen's blocked memory is gradually returning. When her mother disappears and Clary is attacked by a monstrous insect predator, the girl is rescued by Jace and they retreat to safety at The Institute. Drawn into the quest for the Mortal Cup, Clary gets embroiled in numerous bloody encounters and betrayals as she uncovers the truth about her father, her family, and the forces stalking her. A romantic attachment to Jace and questions about her relationship with Simon add to her turmoil. Though a family friend in an unexpected guise helps her save her mother, the cliffhanging conclusion leaves plenty of room for new conflicts. Narrator Ari Graymor is suitably ironic and dramatic as the text demands. With a female protagonist and horror movie levels of gore, the novel will appeal to guys and girls who like their fantasy sometimes fast paced and often gruesome. (Gr 8 up.) —Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Library Journal

Fifteen-year-old Clary Fray visits her favorite New York City night club late one evening and watches attractive teenagers follow a blue-haired boy into a storage room. Next thing Clary knows, the boy is dead and the body disappears. Clary is not your typical mundie-she can see Shadowhunters and the demons that they hunt. Clary's mother is kidnapped, their home is ransacked, and Clary kills an evil Ravener in her home. She is then temporarily adopted into the Shadowhunter clan and begins to learn their ways. For some reason, Clary has the Sight and must use her powers and her new friends to find and rescue her mother. Along the way, she is burdened by the love of her best friend, Simon, and the complicated feelings she has towards Jace, a Shadowhunter. This fast-paced fantastic thriller will keep readers on the edge of their seats. It includes everything from werewolves and mind-sucking librarians to vampires and a brother unknowingly kissing his sister-just what teenagers love to read. Clary is an independent, saucy female character who adapts to her newfound powers easily and thinks nothing of throwing a weapon at a werewolf. The dialogue is awkward at times. Clary makes some trite remarks that interrupt the narrative flow. The author is in a writing group with Holly Black, author of dark fantasies similar to this one.

Discussion Questions
(You'll find a set of activities below the discussion questions. Both are provided by the publisher.)

1. When Clary learns that Magnus Bane had erased her supernatural memories, she says that she had always felt like there was something wrong with her. How much of this is because she didn't know her history, and how much is caused—as Magnus says—by the simple fact that she's a teenager? Does she belong in the Shadowhunter world?

2. How much of what mundanes see in this world is a glamour, constructed by those with magical powers? Why do these glamours exist? How do things change for Clary once she can see through them?

3. Where did Nephilim, witches and warlocks, vampires, werewolves, and faeries come from? Do their origins justify the roles they play and the rivalries between them?

4. Why did Valentine rebel against the Clave in the first place? What does he hope to accomplish by stealing the Mortal Instruments and fighting the Clave now? Whose best interests does he have in mind?

5. At one point, Jace says he doesn't believe in God (City of Bones, p. 256). Do you think this is true? Can someone be a Shadowhunter and not believe in God?

6. What is it about the Silent Brothers that is so disturbing to Clary and the others? Do you think the Silent Brothers play up this aura of creepiness?

7. Why was Jace, who rarely felt fear, so afraid when he was imprisoned in the Silent City?

8. How do Jace's feelings about danger and death differ from Alec's and Isabelle's? Why does Jace feel the way he does about putting himself in the line of danger? How does Clary change this?

9. Shadowhunters are charged with protecting mundanes, but they seem to have very little respect for those they serve. Why do you think their feelings for normal humans are so complicated? Why do they continue to serve mundanes if they don't like them?

10. After Valentine takes the Mortal Cup and returns to Idris, why does the Clave find it difficult to trust Jace? What does Jace do to earn their trust? What should he have done? Does Maryse Lightwood really distrust him?

11. What role does Luke play in Clary's life? Does this role change as the story progresses? How does the Clave feel about Luke? Why does he inspire such strong feelings in others?

12. When Simon becomes a daylighter, how will this keep him from finding his place in the world? In what ways is it helpful to him?

13. Discuss the character of Hodge. Why did he betray his young charges? Was he just self-serving and bad, or did he do some good with his life? Was he right to fear Valentine more than the Clave?

14. How did Jace and Clary get their special abilities? Why do you think they developed different skills? Will the other Shadowhunters view their abilities as a gift or a curse?

15. What is the significance of Clary creating the binding rune? Does its origin tell us anything about how Shadowhunters and Downworlders should treat each other?

16. What sacrifices does Simon make? Why is he willing to do these things? Does he gain anything by doing this?

17. Valentine's plotting and lies cause a lot of confusion about who his children are. How does Clary define family? Who had the greatest influence on the formation of Jace's character? Where does Jace belong? Which of the three children—Clary, Jace, and Jonathan—was most affected by Valentine?

18. Several people, including Jace and Luke, accuse Clary of rushing into situations without any regard to how her actions will affect others. Do you think this is a fair assessment? Do any other characters act like this? In the end, does this trait harm or help Clary?

19. Why does Alec have such a hard time telling people about his relationship with Magnus Bane? What changes his mind?

20. What does the phrase "Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin" mean? Where did it originally come from? How does it apply to the situation with Valentine? How does it compare to what Clary was thinking when she wrote it?

21. Clary and her mother are both artists. How does this figure into their gifts as Shadowhunters? Overall, is Clary's gift creative or destructive?

22. Discuss the many biblical references in the book, particularly those that make up the chapter titles—East of Eden, All the Host of Hell, Where There is Sorrow, Sins of the Fathers, etc. Do these chapter headings add to the actions that take place in the chapters they begin? Why do you think the author chose so many quotes from the Bible? Is the Bible important in the lives of any of the characters?

23. The author starts each book and each section within the books with a quotation. What do you know about the sources of these quotations? What sort of works are they from? Is there a common theme? Why do you think the author chose these quotes?
(Questions issued by publisher.)


1. Write a research paper on ancient runes. When were they used? By whom? What did they look like? Are they still used today? What is their connection to modern written language?

2. Clary is able to identify a problem and create a rune that will solve that problem. Choose a problem that is currently being faced by you, your school, your community, or your government and create a rune that will help. What do the different lines in the rune stand for? What will the rune do? What were you thinking when you drew it? Write a story about how the rune is used to solve the problem you chose.

3. Hodge knew many tricks for healing physical ailments using herbs, plants, and other natural remedies. Compare and contrast different branches of alternative medicine—homeopathy, herbal medicine, acupuncture, etc. How do they compare to the practice of medicine as we traditionally think of it?

4. There is a rich mythology surrounding angels, Nephilim, demons, vampires, and other creatures in the book. Choose one of these magical creatures and find out more about them. Find other books and movies that cover the subject, and compare the world found there to the world of The Mortal Instruments. Write a short paper about the history of the creature you've chosen and the different ways it has shown up in literature throughout the years.

5. Shadowhunters devote their lives to making the world a safer and better place for those around them. What can you do to make the world a better place? Choose a cause you believe in and then volunteer.

6. Clary is a talented artist, and often uses art to make sense of the things that are happening in her world. Express yourself through some art form—drawing, painting, sculpting, or collage—and draw someone or something from the books.

7. Shadowhunters have strong ties to their ancestors. Trace the family trees of the Shadowhunters and discover their connections to one another.
(Activities and Discussion Questions issued by publisher.)

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