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
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.
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