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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

City of Bones

Clare, Cassandra. City of Bones. As I was about to write this review, I noticed a website on the back flap of the jacket. Here is the link. Obviously, I am once more off the mark. I don't know if I'm sorry or glad I followed the link and then looked at the reviews, however...

I thought the book was OK, but definitely YA fiction. After reading the reviews, I realized that many of the things they praised were the very things that annoyed me: I didn't find the story that compelling, would never equate this with anything Joss Whedon wrote, didn't find it "refreshingly free of the attitudes that make some YA fiction for non-adults only..."

However, I have to tell you those reviewers who gave glowing reviews are not just book blurbs-- they include Kirkus Reviews, Locus, The Center for Children's Books, and the Endicott Journal for Mythic Arts.

OK. I decided to don my hair shirt and say, "Mea maxima culpa" on reading the review from the Endicott Journal. I must have been in a bad mood when I read the book - I saw it mainly as a kind of Star Wars analog...although no one mentioned that in their reviews. Once I realized that (early on) I knew pretty much the direction of the story and just made comparisons to the original. Unfavorable comparisons.

I could go into a lot of detail about why, but I thought it was just another YA novel. Not terrible, but not really very good either. With at least two more to follow.

Fiction. YA/Supernatural. 2007. 485 pages.


  1. I'm always a little disappointed when I can't get into a novel that everyone else is praising - disappointed because I feel like I'm missing out on the fun. Sometimes it just happens, though. As much as we'd like to, we can't make a book work.

  2. Makes you wonder if you read the same book right?! :)

  3. Nymeth - I must admit to being surprised that it received such uncritical reviews.

    Iliana - Right! Oh, well, onward and ...onward.

  4. At 485 pages of "just another YA novel" I think I can safely pass on this one.

  5. booklogged - I won't be bothering with the next two books, but I'd still like to see if anyone else agreed with me about this one. :/

  6. It is just as important to be able to articulate why you *can't* join in praise of a particular author or title as it is to speak up when you feel something is a worthwhile book. That helps others determine whether or not the book will speak to them. I don't hold to the theory that you should only blog about a book if you liked it.

  7. Though the novel has many flaws, I do take issue with your point regarding it being a Star Wars analogue, not because that isn't true, but because it ignores the fact that Star Wars analogues abound in fiction. Anything that, like Star Wars, reuses the incredibly common (and perpetually successful) mythic structure nearly as old as storytelling itself will be be guilty of this.

    I did appreciate the humility and intellectual honesty of your review though.