I’m breaking my rules with this book. There is a movie, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, being released in theaters on August 21, and normally I watch the movie first then I read the book. This way I’m not disappointed in the movie and I enjoy the book. Books are always better, you know that, and they have to cut so much out of the book to make the movie less than 17 hours long that I’ve generally been safe with this approach. (Well, the only exception has been The Hunger Games I almost didn’t read that book because I watched the movie first. However, my best friend bought the book for me as a gift, and I did end up reading it…and loving it too.)
It all began when I was in Dallas for the Neil Gaiman signing, I went to the Half Price Books headquarters, and came across Clockwork Angel also by Cassandra Clare. This is the first book in the Infernal Devices series…it comes after The Mortal Instruments series, and it looked good…really good..really interesting, and I realized that if I didn’t start at the beginning there might be spoilers…I hate spoilers. The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices are all part of the Shadowhunter Chronicles…I’m listing them below, because they are now on my literary “grocery list”.
So should I risk it? Should I break my own rule and read the book before watching the movie? My rule hasn’t been a secrete, I’ve proclaimed it often and sometimes loudly (I’m just not a quiet person), and since announcing my rule about watching the movie first, I have had several people inform me that I have it backwards. Really? Can you be wrong about this kind of thing?
Well, wrong or right, I’m not able to wait. Patience may be a virtue, but it really isn’t one I can claim….and people told me I was wrong, so I have to at least test their theory, right? Can anyone say unnecessary justification? Basically….screw it, I’m reading the book now.
City of Bones has that whole bit with a layer of the world beneath ours that most people can’t even see that I just can’t get enough of. I found Ms. Clare’s world to be very well built. There were none of those so-how-does-this-work? moments for me. Only people with the Sight can see Downworlders, demons and Shadowhunters for what they really are. Everyone else lives on blissfully ignorant of the war being raged around them…it isn’t a new plot device, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good one.
I like the mythology that she uses to build her world as well, and I’ve read enough to have heard mention of the Nephilim and the mortal instruments. In this last season of the television show Supernatural they referenced the human-angel hybrid, Nephilim. House of Night series by P.C. and Kirsten Cast also reference the creatures. Wikipedia’s page lists a whole ton of references from Assassins Creed, The Dragoneers, X-Files, Magic: The Gathering and Hex. Even before my trip down the fascinating rabbit hole that is Wikipedia, there was enough tickling the edges of my brain to make me want to go digging. (Where did I read about this stuff? The bible? This is what happens when you pair an English Literature Major with a Minor in History…It has been driving me bonkers!)
WARNING! Sometimes I’ll go off on random tangents to dig up all the information I can find whatever subject strikes my fancy at the moment. (Don’t worry, I promise that if I go a-researching I won’t stop writing my blog….it may get a bit more…esoteric at times though, fair warning.) Previous “hunting trips” have included gemology, theology (everything from Judeaism to Buddhism to Wicca) and how to read and write in Arabic (I did live in Saudi Arabia at one point. I also don’t recommend trying to learn a language on your own…especially if it involves another alphabet…it is REALLY hard!) Curious minds want to know!
Aaaaaannnnddd, back to the book! City of Bones started out a bit slow, but picked up nicely with in the first couple of chapters. I say it started out a bit slow, but there’s a murder in the first handful of pages, so really not that slow. The more I think of it the more I wonder if could have been done a bit deliberately. There’s a roughness to the beginning of City of Bones opening chapters. You already know I’m a sucker for a well written, well rounded character, and Clarissa (Clary) Fray seemed a bit flat at first. Something in the first few chapters just seemed off, unfinished maybe, but I think that’s intentional because there are revelations to be had, my friends. My thoughts are either that the unfinished feel of the early chapters was an intentional device or the author was trying a bit too hard not to reveal secrets, because, without revealing spoilers, there are secrets aplenty. With each new unveiling, the characters gain depth, the plot, as they say, thickens, and even the imagery gains sharpness that was lacking. Friendships are built, relationships are broken, enemies made and allies gained….and nothing is really as it seems. Excuse me while I go grab the next book City of Ashes so I can see what happens next….
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest. He stared down at the boy in the red zip-up jacket and shook his shaved head. “You can’t bring that thing in here.”
Would you rather read the book first or watch the movie first?
Any books that are coming to the big screen that are “must reads” ?
‘Til Next Time,
The Shadowhunter Chronicles