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Into the Closet: Cross-Dressing and the Gendered Body in Childrens Literature and Film (Children's Literature and Culture)
Victoria Flanagan
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) - Cassandra Clare It's after dark in New York City, and Clary Fray is seeing things. The best looking guy in the nightclub just stabbed a boy to death - but the victim has vanished into thin air. Her mother has disappeared, and a hideous monster is lurking in her apartment. With her life spiralling into darkness, Clary realizes that she has stumbled into an invisible war between ancient demonic forces and the secretive Shadowhunters - a war in which she has a fateful role to play.

I wanted to read this because Tumblr is currently saturated with hype over the upcoming film and, I admit, I've always been a little curious about this series. There's all the controversy over Cassandra Clare and the claims of plagiarism, and the whole Harry Potter fanfiction type thing. Now, I've never read The Draco Trilogy in its original form, so I can't comment on the similarities to that, but the evidence of Clare's plagiarism of other work is pretty convincing, so I didn't want to like this book. Yet, you know, I tried to go into this with an open mind. (For science!)

I'm currently curled up in bed with a chest infection, and I somehow read the whole thing from start to finish in a few hours.

Okay, the good things:

Firstly, the plot wasn't terrible. I genuinely wanted to know what happened next, though I pretty much knew the Big Spoilers already.

Speaking of the Big Spoilers, I'm impressed that Clare had the balls to put incest in her book. I'm also pretty sure that it'll be sorted out because of One True Love and all that by the time the series is over, but I can't actually see how that will happen. I am conflicted about this.

Also, the action scenes were well-written and I could imagine everything that was happening. A big plus, in my eyes. I find action scenes hard to follow sometimes, and then I skim read and end up missing things, and then I'm like 'wait, what just happened?'.

Lastly, I liked Magnus, despite the fact he seems to be one glittery cliché.

The other characters weren't terrible, either, but they all seemed to share the same acerbic wit (that wasn't that acerbic). Seriously, when all the characters are trying to be witty and sarcastic, it gets a bit grating. I mean, I did like them, and Clary wasn't as overly annoying as most heroines of this sort of book, but I don't know. I felt they lacked some depth, some fire. They just could have been better. I'm hoping this improves in later books, particularly considering this is Clare's first published novel.

The bad things:

Okay, the writing wasn't terrible, but oh my god. The similes. Everywhere! Once you start to notice them, you can't stop noticing them. Also, there was a few times when a big word popped up like 'hello, I used a thesaurus!' And, even if she didn't use a thesaurus, she probably shouldn't have used words that made me want to grab a dictionary when a much simpler word could have done. For example, 'evincing'. 'Showing' would have done. Or, 'betraying', or 'letting slip'. There were more examples, too. Like, who uses 'exsanguinating' when they're in a state of panic? Hm.

Luke. Ah! The plot twist was so obvious!! Of course he was a good guy and was only protecting Clary. I knew that the moment she decided to stop trusting him.

Valentine wasn't villainish enough for me either. He didn't frighten me, and I was never actually frightened or worried about the main characters' welfare.

Also, the scene at the climax wasn't believable to me. Jace changed too suddenly from one extreme to the other. I think that it could have been handled a lot better.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It wasn't great and it wasn't terrible, but it has piqued my interest enough that I will probably give the other books in the series a read. :)