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Discover this first installment of the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and “prepare to be hooked” (Entertainment Weekly).
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.
About the Author
Cassandra Clare is the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Lady Midnight, Lord of Shadows, and Queen of Air and Darkness, as well as the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy. She is the coauthor of The Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman. Her books have more than 50 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages and made into a feature film and a TV show. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at CassandraClare.com. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.
Read an Excerpt
City of Bones
By Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderryCopyright © 2007 Cassandra Clare
All right reserved.
"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."
The fifty or so teenagers in line outside the Pandemonium Club leaned forward to eavesdrop. It was a long wait to get into the all-ages club, especially on a Sunday, and not much generally happened in line. The bouncers were fierce and would come down instantly on anyone who looked like they were going to start trouble. Fifteen-year-old Clary Fray, standing in line with her best friend, Simon, leaned forward along with everyone else, hoping for some excitement.
"Aw, come on." The kid hoisted the thing up over his head. It looked like a wooden beam, pointed at one end. "It's part of my costume."
The bouncer raised an eyebrow. "Which is what?"
The boy grinned. He was normal-enough-looking, Clary thought, for Pandemonium. He had electric blue dyed hair that stuck up around his head like the tendrils of a startled octopus, but no elaborate facial tattoos or big metal bars through his ears or lips. "I'm a vampire hunter." He pushed down on the wooden thing. It bent as easily as a blade of grass bending sideways. "It's fake. Foam rubber. See?"
The boy's wide eyes wereway too bright a green, Clary noticed: the color of antifreeze, spring grass. Colored contact lenses, probably. The bouncer shrugged, abruptly bored. "Whatever. Go on in."
The boy slid past him, quick as an eel. Clary liked the lilt to his shoulders, the way he tossed his hair as he went. There was a word for him that her mother would have used -- insouciant.
"You thought he was cute," said Simon, sounding resigned. "Didn't you?"
Clary dug her elbow into his ribs, but didn't answer.
Inside, the club was full of dry-ice smoke. Colored lights played over the dance floor, turning it into a multicolored fairyland of blues and acid greens, hot pinks and golds.
The boy in the red jacket stroked the long razor-sharp blade in his hands, an idle smile playing over his lips. It had been so easy -- a little bit of a glamour on the blade, to make it look harmless. Another glamour on his eyes, and the moment the bouncer had looked straight at him, he was in. Of course, he could probably have gotten by without all that trouble, but it was part of the fun -- fooling the mundies, doing it all out in the open right in front of them, getting off on the blank looks on their sheeplike faces.
Not that the humans didn't have their uses. The boy's green eyes scanned the dance floor, where slender limbs clad in scraps of silk and black leather appeared and disappeared inside the revolving columns of smoke as the mundies danced. Girls tossed their long hair, boys swung their leather-clad hips, and bare skin glittered with sweat. Vitality just poured off them, waves of energy that filled him with a drunken dizziness. His lip curled. They didn't know how lucky they were. They didn't know what it was like to eke out life in a dead world, where the sun hung limp in the sky like a burned cinder. Their lives burned as brightly as candle flames -- and were as easy to snuff out.
His hand tightened on the blade he carried, and he had begun to step out onto the dance floor when a girl broke away from the mass of dancers and began walking toward him. He stared at her. She was beautiful, for a human -- long hair nearly the precise color of black ink, charcoaled eyes. Floor-length white gown, the kind women used to wear when this world was younger. Lace sleeves belled out around her slim arms. Around her neck was a thick silver chain, on which hung a dark red pendant the size of a baby's fist. He only had to narrow his eyes to know that it was real -- real and precious. His mouth started to water as she neared him. Vital energy pulsed from her like blood from an open wound. She smiled, passing him, beckoning with her eyes. He turned to follow her, tasting the phantom sizzle of her death on his lips.
It was always easy. He could already feel the power of her evaporating life coursing through his veins like fire. Humans were so stupid. They had something so precious, and they barely safeguarded it at all. They threw away their lives for money, for packets of powder, for a stranger's charming smile. The girl was a pale ghost retreating through the colored smoke. She reached the wall and turned, bunching her skirt up in her hands, lifting it as she grinned at him. Under the skirt, she was wearing thigh-high boots.
He sauntered up to her, his skin prickling with her nearness. Up close she wasn't so perfect: He could see the mascara smudged under her eyes, the sweat sticking her hair to her neck. He could smell her mortality, the sweet rot of corruption. Got you, he thought.
A cool smile curled her lips. She moved to the side, and he could see that she was leaning against a closed door. no admittance -- storage was scrawled across it in red paint. She reached behind her for the knob, turned it, slid inside. He caught a glimpse of stacked boxes, tangled wiring. A storage room. He glanced behind him -- no one was looking. So much the better if she wanted privacy.
He slipped into the room after her, unaware that he was being followed.
"So," Simon said, "pretty good music, eh?"
Clary didn't reply. They were dancing, or what passed for it -- a lot of swaying back and forth with occasional lunges toward the floor as if one of them had dropped a contact lens -- in a space between a group of teenage boys in metallic corsets, and a young Asian couple who were making out passionately, their colored hair extensions tangled together like vines. A boy with a lip piercing and a teddy bear backpack was handing out free tablets of herbal ecstasy, his parachute pants flapping in the breeze from the wind machine. Clary wasn't paying much attention to their immediate surroundings -- her eyes were on the blue-haired boy who'd talked his way into the club. He was prowling through the crowd as if he were looking for something. There was something about the way he moved that reminded her of something...
"I, for one," Simon went on, "am enjoying myself immensely."
This seemed unlikely. Simon, as always, stuck out at the club like a sore thumb, in jeans and an old T-shirt that said made in brooklyn across the front. His freshly scrubbed hair was dark brown instead of green or pink, and his glasses perched crookedly on the end of his nose. He looked less as if he were contemplating the powers of darkness and more as if he were on his way to chess club.
"Mmm-hmm." Clary knew perfectly well that he came to Pandemonium with her only because she liked it, that he thought it was boring. She wasn't even sure why it was that she liked it -- the clothes, the music made it like a dream, someone else's life, not her boring real life at all. But she was always too shy to talk to anyone but Simon.
The blue-haired boy was making his way off the dance floor. He looked a little lost, as if he hadn't found whom he was looking for. Clary wondered what would happen if she went up and introduced herself, offered to show him around. Maybe he'd just stare at her. Or maybe he was shy too. Maybe he'd be grateful and pleased, and try not to show it, the way boys did -- but she'd know. Maybe --
The blue-haired boy straightened up suddenly, snapping to attention, like a hunting dog on point. Clary followed the line of his gaze, and saw the girl in the white dress.
Oh, well, Clary thought, trying not to feel like a deflated party balloon. I guess that's that. The girl was gorgeous, the kind of girl Clary would have liked to draw -- tall and ribbon-slim, with a long spill of black hair. Even at this distance Clary could see the red pendant around her throat. It pulsed under the lights of the dance floor like a separate, disembodied heart.
"I feel," Simon went on, "that this evening DJ Bat is doing a singularly exceptional job. Don't you agree?"
Clary rolled her eyes and didn't answer; Simon hated trance music. Her attention was on the girl in the white dress. Through the darkness, smoke, and artificial fog, her pale dress shone out like a beacon. No wonder the blue-haired boy was following her as if he were under a spell, too distracted to notice anything else around him -- even the two dark shapes hard on his heels, weaving after him through the crowd.
Clary slowed her dancing and stared. She could just make out that the shapes were boys, tall and wearing black clothes. She couldn't have said how she knew that they were following the other boy, but she did. She could see it in the way they paced him, their careful watchfulness, the slinking grace of their movements. A small flower of apprehension began to open inside her chest.
"Meanwhile," Simon added, "I wanted to tell you that lately I've been cross-dressing. Also, I'm sleeping with your mom. I thought you should know."
The girl had reached the wall, and was opening a door marked no admittance. She beckoned the blue-haired boy after her, and they slipped through the door. It wasn't anything Clary hadn't seen before, a couple sneaking off to the dark corners of the club to make out -- but that made it even weirder that they were being followed.
She raised herself up on tiptoe, trying to see over the crowd. The two guys had stopped at the door and seemed to be conferring with each other. One of them was blond, the other dark-haired. The blond one reached into his jacket and drew out something long and sharp that flashed under the strobing lights. A knife. "Simon!" Clary shouted, and seized his arm.
"What?" Simon looked alarmed. "I'm not really sleeping with your mom, you know. I was just trying to get your attention. Not that your mom isn't a very attractive woman, for her age."
"Do you see those guys?" She pointed wildly, almost hitting a curvy black girl who was dancing nearby. The girl shot her an evil look. "Sorry -- sorry!" Clary turned back to Simon. "Do you see those two guys over there? By that door?"
Simon squinted, then shrugged. "I don't see anything."
"There are two of them. They were following the guy with the blue hair -- "
"The one you thought was cute?"
"Yes, but that's not the point. The blond one pulled a knife."
"Are you sure?" Simon stared harder, shaking his head. "I still don't see anyone."
Suddenly all business, Simon squared his shoulders. "I'll get one of the security guards. You stay here." He strode away, pushing through the crowd.
Clary turned just in time to see the blond boy slip through the no admittance door, his friend right on his heels. She looked around; Simon was still trying to shove his way across the dance floor, but he wasn't making much progress. Even if she yelled now, no one would hear her, and by the time Simon got back, something terrible might already have happened. Biting hard on her lower lip, Clary started to wriggle through the crowd.
"What's your name?"
She turned and smiled. What faint light there was in the storage room spilled down through high barred windows smeared with dirt. Piles of electrical cables, along with broken bits of mirrored disco balls and discarded paint cans littered the floor.
"That's a nice name." He walked toward her, stepping carefully among the wires in case any of them were live. In the faint light she looked half-transparent, bleached of color, wrapped in white like an angel. It would be a pleasure to make her fall...."I haven't seen you here before."
"You're asking me if I come here often?" She giggled, covering her mouth with her hand. There was some sort of bracelet around her wrist, just under the cuff of her dress -- then, as he neared her, he saw that it wasn't a bracelet at all but a pattern inked into her skin, a matrix of swirling lines.
He froze. "You -- "
He didn't finish. She moved with lightning swiftness, striking out at him with her open hand, a blow to his chest that would have sent him down gasping if he'd been a human being. He staggered back, and now there was something in her hand, a coiling whip that glinted gold as she brought it down, curling around his ankles, jerking him off his feet. He hit the ground, writhing, the hated metal biting deep into his skin. She laughed, standing over him, and dizzily he thought that he should have known. No human girl would wear a dress like the one Isabelle wore. She'd worn it to cover her skin -- all of her skin.
Isabelle yanked hard on the whip, securing it. Her smile glittered like poisonous water. "He's all yours, boys."
A low laugh sounded behind him, and now there were hands on him, hauling him upright, throwing him against one of the concrete pillars. He could feel the damp stone under his back. His hands were pulled behind him, his wrists bound with wire. As he struggled, someone walked around the side of the pillar into his view: a boy, as young as Isabelle and just as pretty. His tawny eyes glittered like chips of amber. "So," the boy said. "Are there any more with you?"
The blue-haired boy could feel blood welling up under the too-tight metal, making his wrists slippery. "Any other what?"
"Come on now." The tawny-eyed boy held up his hands, and his dark sleeves slipped down, showing the runes inked all over his wrists, the backs of his hands, his palms. "You know what I am."
Far back inside his skull, the shackled boy's second set of teeth began to grind.
"Shadowhunter," he hissed.
The other boy grinned all over his face. "Got you," he said.
Clary pushed the door to the storage room open, and stepped inside. For a moment she thought it was deserted. The only windows were high up and barred; faint street noise came through them, the sound of honking cars and squealing brakes. The room smelled like old paint, and a heavy layer of dust covered the floor, marked by smeared shoe prints.
There's no one in here, she realized, looking around in bewilderment. It was cold in the room, despite the August heat outside. Her back was icy with sweat. She took a step forward, tangling her feet in electrical wires. She bent down to free her sneaker from the cables -- and heard voices. A girl's laugh, a boy answering sharply. When she straightened up, she saw them.
It was as if they had sprung into existence between one blink of her eyes and the next. There was the girl in her long white dress, her black hair hanging down her back like damp seaweed. The two boys were with her -- the tall one with black hair like hers, and the smaller, fair one, whose hair gleamed like brass in the dim light coming through the windows high above. The fair boy was standing with his hands in his pockets, facing the punk kid, who was tied to a pillar with what looked like piano wire, his hands stretched behind him, his legs bound at the ankles. His face was pulled tight with pain and fear.
Heart hammering in her chest, Clary ducked behind the nearest concrete pillar and peered around it. She watched as the fair-haired boy paced back and forth, his arms now crossed over his chest. "So," he said. "You still haven't told me if there are any other of your kind with you."
Your kind? Clary wondered what he was talking about. Maybe she'd stumbled into some kind of gang war.
"I don't know what you're talking about." The blue-haired boy's tone was pained but surly.
"He means other demons," said the dark-haired boy, speaking for the first time. "You do know what a demon is, don't you?"
The boy tied to the pillar turned his face away, his mouth working.
"Demons," drawled the blond boy, tracing the word on the air with his finger. "Religiously defined as hell's denizens, the servants of Satan, but understood here, for the purposes of the Clave, to be any malevolent spirit whose origin is outside our own home dimension -- "
"That's enough, Jace," said the girl.
"Isabelle's right," agreed the taller boy. "Nobody here needs a lesson in semantics -- or demonology."
They're crazy, Clary thought. Actually crazy.
Jace raised his head and smiled. There was something fierce about the gesture, something that reminded Clary of documentaries she'd watched about lions on the Discovery Channel, the way the big cats would raise their heads and sniff the air for prey. "Isabelle and Alec think I talk too much," he said, confidingly. "Do you think I talk too much?"
The blue-haired boy didn't reply. His mouth was still working. "I could give you information," he said. "I know where Valentine is."
Jace glanced back at Alec, who shrugged. "Valentine's in the ground," Jace said. "The thing's just toying with us."
Isabelle tossed her hair. "Kill it, Jace," she said. "It's not going to tell us anything."
Jace raised his hand, and Clary saw dim light spark off the knife he was holding. It was oddly translucent, the blade clear as crystal, sharp as a shard of glass, the hilt set with red stones.
The bound boy gasped. "Valentine is back!" he protested, dragging at the bonds that held his hands behind his back. "All the Infernal Worlds know it -- I know it -- I can tell you where he is -- "
Rage flared suddenly in Jace's icy eyes. "By the Angel, every time we capture one of you bastards, you claim you know where Valentine is. Well, we know where he is too. He's in hell. And you -- " Jace turned the knife in his grasp, the edge sparking like a line of fire. "You can join him there."
Clary could take no more. She stepped out from behind the pillar. "Stop!" she cried. "You can't do this."
Jace whirled, so startled that the knife flew from his hand and clattered against the concrete floor. Isabelle and Alec turned along with him, wearing identical expressions of astonishment. The blue-haired boy hung in his bonds, stunned and gaping.
It was Alec who spoke first. "What's this?" he demanded, looking from Clary to his companions, as if they might know what she was doing there.
"It's a girl," Jace said, recovering his composure. "Surely you've seen girls before, Alec. Your sister Isabelle is one." He took a step closer to Clary, squinting as if he couldn't quite believe what he was seeing. "A mundie girl," he said, half to himself. "And she can see us."
"Of course I can see you," Clary said. "I'm not blind, you know."
"Oh, but you are," said Jace, bending to pick up his knife. "You just don't know it." He straightened up. "You'd better get out of here, if you know what's good for you."
"I'm not going anywhere," Clary said. "If I do, you'll kill him." She pointed at the boy with the blue hair.
"That's true," admitted Jace, twirling the knife between his fingers. "What do you care if I kill him or not?"
"Be-because -- ," Clary spluttered. "You can't just go around killing people."
"You're right," said Jace. "You can't go around killing people." He pointed at the boy with blue hair, whose eyes were slitted. Clary wondered if he'd fainted. "That's not a person, little girl. It may look like a person and talk like a person and maybe even bleed like a person. But it's a monster."
"Jace," said Isabelle warningly. "That's enough."
"You're crazy," Clary said, backing away from him. "I've called the police, you know. They'll be here any second."
"She's lying," said Alec, but there was doubt on his face. "Jace, do you -- "
He never got to finish his sentence. At that moment the blue-haired boy, with a high, yowling cry, tore free of the restraints binding him to the pillar, and flung himself on Jace.
They fell to the ground and rolled together, the blue-haired boy tearing at Jace with hands that glittered as if tipped with metal. Clary backed up, wanting to run, but her feet caught on a loop of wiring and she went down, knocking the breath out of her chest. She could hear Isabelle shrieking. Rolling over, Clary saw the blue-haired boy sitting on Jace's chest. Blood gleamed at the tips of his razorlike claws.
Isabelle and Alec were running toward them, Isabelle brandishing a whip in her hand. The blue-haired boy slashed at Jace with claws extended. Jace threw an arm up to protect himself, and the claws raked it, splattering blood. The blue-haired boy lunged again -- and Isabelle's whip came down across his back. He shrieked and fell to the side.
Swift as a flick of Isabelle's whip, Jace rolled over. There was a blade gleaming in his hand. He sank the knife into the blue-haired boy's chest. Blackish liquid exploded around the hilt. The boy arched off the floor, gurgling and twisting. With a grimace Jace stood up. His black shirt was blacker now in some places, wet with blood. He looked down at the twitching form at his feet, reached down, and yanked out the knife. The hilt was slick with black fluid.
The blue-haired boy's eyes flickered open. His eyes, fixed on Jace, seemed to burn. Between his teeth, he hissed, "So be it. The Forsaken will take you all."
Jace seemed to snarl. The boy's eyes rolled back. His body began to jerk and twitch as he crumpled, folding in on himself, growing smaller and smaller until he vanished entirely.
Clary scrambled to her feet, kicking free of the electrical wiring. She began to back away. None of them was paying attention to her. Alec had reached Jace and was holding his arm, pulling at the sleeve, probably trying to get a good look at the wound. Clary turned to run -- and found her way blocked by Isabelle, whip in hand. The gold length of it was stained with dark fluid. She flicked it toward Clary, and the end wrapped itself around her wrist and jerked tight. Clary gasped with pain and surprise.
"Stupid little mundie," Isabelle said between her teeth. "You could have gotten Jace killed."
"He's crazy," Clary said, trying to pull her wrist back. The whip bit deeper into her skin. "You're all crazy. What do you think you are, vigilante killers? The police -- "
"The police aren't usually interested unless you can produce a body," said Jace. Cradling his arm, he picked his way across the cable-strewn floor toward Clary. Alec followed behind him, face screwed into a scowl.
Clary glanced at the spot where the boy had disappeared from, and said nothing. There wasn't even a smear of blood there -- nothing to show that the boy had ever existed.
"They return to their home dimensions when they die," said Jace. "In case you were wondering."
"Jace," Alec hissed. "Be careful."
Jace drew his arm away. A ghoulish freckling of blood marked his face. He still reminded her of a lion, with his wide-spaced, light-colored eyes, and that tawny gold hair. "She can see us, Alec," he said. "She already knows too much."
"So what do you want me to do with her?" Isabelle demanded.
"Let her go," Jace said quietly. Isabelle shot him a surprised, almost angry look, but didn't argue. The whip slithered away, freeing Clary's arm. She rubbed her sore wrist and wondered how the hell she was going to get out of there.
"Maybe we should bring her back with us," Alec said. "I bet Hodge would like to talk to her."
"No way are we bringing her to the Institute," said Isabelle. "She's a mundie."
"Or is she?" said Jace softly. His quiet tone was worse than Isabelle's snapping or Alec's anger. "Have you had dealings with demons, little girl? Walked with warlocks, talked with the Night Children? Have you -- "
"My name is not 'little girl,'" Clary interrupted. "And I have no idea what you're talking about." Don't you? said a voice in the back of her head. You saw that boy vanish into thin air. Jace isn't crazy -- you just wish he was. "I don't believe in -- in demons, or whatever you -- "
"Clary?" It was Simon's voice. She whirled around. He was standing by the storage room door. One of the burly bouncers who'd been stamping hands at the front door was next to him. "Are you okay?" He peered at her through the gloom. "Why are you in here by yourself? What happened to the guys -- you know, the ones with the knives?"
Clary stared at him, then looked behind her, where Jace, Isabelle, and Alec stood, Jace still in his bloody shirt with the knife in his hand. He grinned at her and dropped a half-apologetic, half-mocking shrug. Clearly he wasn't surprised that neither Simon nor the bouncer could see them.
Somehow neither was Clary. Slowly she turned back to Simon, knowing how she must look to him, standing alone in a damp storage room, her feet tangled in bright plastic wiring cables. "I thought they went in here," she said lamely. "But I guess they didn't. I'm sorry." She glanced from Simon, whose expression was changing from worried to embarrassed, to the bouncer, who just looked annoyed. "It was a mistake."
Behind her, Isabelle giggled.
"I don't believe it," Simon said stubbornly as Clary, standing at the curb, tried desperately to hail a cab. Street cleaners had come down Orchard while they were inside the club, and the street was glossed black with oily water.
"I know," she agreed. "You'd think there'd be some cabs. Where is everyone going at midnight on a Sunday?" She turned back to him, shrugging. "You think we'd have better luck on Houston?"
"Not the cabs," Simon said. "You -- I don't believe you. I don't believe those guys with the knives just disappeared."
Clary sighed. "Maybe there weren't any guys with knives, Simon. Maybe I just imagined the whole thing."
"No way." Simon raised his hand over his head, but the oncoming taxis whizzed by him, spraying dirty water. "I saw your face when I came into that storage room. You looked seriously freaked out, like you'd seen a ghost."
Clary thought of Jace with his lion-cat eyes. She glanced down at her wrist, braceleted by a thin red line where Isabelle's whip had curled. No, not a ghost, she thought. Something even weirder than that.
"It was just a mistake," she said wearily. She wondered why she wasn't telling him the truth. Except, of course, that he'd think she was crazy. And there was something about what had happened -- something about the black blood bubbling up around Jace's knife, something about his voice when he'd said Have you talked with the Night Children? that she wanted to keep to herself.
"Well, it was a hell of an embarrassing mistake," Simon said. He glanced back at the club, where a thin line still snaked out the door and halfway down the block. "I doubt they'll ever let us back into Pandemonium."
"What do you care? You hate Pandemonium." Clary raised her hand again as a yellow shape sped toward them through the fog. This time, though, the taxi screeched to a halt at their corner, the driver laying into his horn as if he needed to get their attention.
"Finally we get lucky." Simon yanked the taxi door open and slid onto the plastic-covered backseat. Clary followed, inhaling the familiar New York cab smell of old cigarette smoke, leather, and hair spray. "We're going to Brooklyn," Simon said to the cabbie, and then he turned to Clary. "Look, you know you can tell me anything, right?"
Clary hesitated a moment, then nodded. "Sure, Simon," she said. "I know I can."
She slammed the cab door shut behind her, and the taxi took off into the night.
Copyright © 2007 by Cassandra Clare, LLC
Excerpted from City of Bones by Cassandra Clare Copyright © 2007 by Cassandra Clare. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
"Funny, dark, and sexy. One of my favorite books." Holly Black
"City of Bones has everything: vampires, werewolves, faeries, true love, and stuff that blows up. What's more, Clare's characters are brilliant she better not kill any of them off in the next two volumes!" Justine Larbalestier, author of Magic or Madness
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group Guide to
The Mortal Instruments Trilogy
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Anyone who has visited New York City can tell you that it’s a magical place. But what if the magic that resides there is more than hectic energy and a bunch of tourist-friendly sites . . . what if it’s real? What if there’s another layer to this world that most people can’t see, a layer that’s full of faeries and vampires, werewolves and demon hunters, protective runes and evil overlords? In The Mortal Instruments trilogy, Cassandra Clare peels back the glamour to reveal the magic that is usually hidden from us.
In City of Bones, Clary can hardly believe her eyes when she sees a trio of teens slay a demon at her favorite nightclub. Little does she realize that it’s merely her first glimpse into a world that she was born into—a world that her mother, Jocelyn, has tried desperately to keep from her. But with her mother missing and Luke—her mother’s oldest friend and the second most important person in Clary’s life—pushing her away, Clary must turn to these same demon-slaying teens, known as Shadowhunters, for answers. Along with her best friend, Simon, Clary struggles to absorb all that she is learning. Demons attack her; Simon is turned into a rat at a warlock party and stolen by vampires; Valentine, an evil Shadowhunter long thought dead, is back and trying to find the Mortal Cup so that he can create a Nephilim army. Through it all, though, there is Clary’s intense attraction to Jace, the Shadowhunter who both drives her crazy and draws her to him. Can Valentine be right? Can Jace really be her brother?
The story continues in City of Ashes, with Clary attempting to forget her love for Jace by avoiding him and dating Simon. All that changes, though, when she hears that Jace has been imprisoned in the Silent City by the Clave’s Inquisitor, who refuses to believe that Jace isn’t working for Valentine. When Valentine chooses that night to kill the Silent Brothers and steal the Mortal Sword, it only makes Jace look more guilty. After figuring out that Valentine is killing Downworlders in order to perform a ritual that will turn the Mortal Sword into a powerful instrument of evil, the teens visit the Seelie Court to ask the Faerie Queen for her help. In short order, Clary’s love for Jace is revealed, Simon is turned into a vampire, and Jace confronts Valentine on a ship in the East River. Clary discovers that she has the ability to create new runes, which serves her well during the climactic battle on board Valentine’s ship, as the Nephilim fight a host of demons and Clary tries to keep Valentine from converting the Mortal Sword. Clary manages to destroy Valentine’s ship, but not before he escapes, many Nephilim are injured, and Simon finds that drinking Jace’s blood has made him impervious to sunlight. Things seem to be getting back to “normal” when Madeleine Bellefleur appears to tell Clary that she knows how to wake up Jocelyn, who had been captured by Valentine’s demons and into a deep sleep.
City of Glass takes place mostly in Idris, where Valentine is believed to be looking for the Mortal Glass so that he can complete his plan to overturn the Clave and eliminate all the Downworlders. Clary is in Idris too, hoping to find a way to wake up her mother. In the course of doing this, she discovers that, before they were born, Valentine infused Jace with the blood of a demon, and Clary with the blood of an angel. When demons attack the supposedly impenetrable city of Alicante, the revelations fly fast and furious. Simon has been imprisoned next to Hodge, Sebastian is a spy for Valentine, and Max Lightwood is killed. Luke offers the help of the werewolves as the Nephilim decide whether to fight Valentine, but it seems that there’s no way for the two groups to work together, and Valentine will be unopposed. . . . Until Clary creates a rune that binds a werewolf to a Shadowhunter, allowing them to fight together and share powers. Magnus Bane brings Jocelyn to Idris, and she and Clary make up while the rest of the Nephilim prepare to fight. Clary also marks Simon with the Mark of Cain so that he can fight with the rest and secure a place for the vampires in the new world that is being built. At a final showdown between Valentine, Jace, and Clary, Jace is killed, but not before finding out that he’s not really Valentine’s son. When Valentine raises Raziel from Lake Lyn, he doesn’t realize that Clary has changed the summoning runes just enough to control the angel. Valentine is killed by Raziel, who then brings Jace back to life at Clary’s request.
The Mortal Instruments series speaks to the outsider in all of us as we try to figure out who we are and how we fit into the world, without letting anyone know how scared we are. By finding a balance between the worlds of the mundane and the Shadowhunters, Clary defines what sort of adult she will be. She finds out who she loves, where she belongs, and what she’s willing to fight for.
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· Why was Jace, who rarely felt fear, so afraid when he was imprisoned in the Silent City?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· What sacrifices does Simon make? Why is he willing to do these things? Does he gain anything by doing this?
· 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?
· 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?
· Why does Alec have such a hard time telling people about his relationship with Magnus Bane? What changes his mind?
· 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?
· Clary and her mother are both artists. How does this figure into their gifts as Shadowhunters? Overall, is Clary’s gift creative or destructive?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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?
· 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.
· 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?
· 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.
· 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.
· 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.
· Shadowhunters have strong ties to their ancestors. Trace the family trees of the Shadowhunters and discover their connections to one another.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
if your trying to decide to read this series or not...dont wait! trust me. the first few pages, i cant lie, i was feeling like i was playing catch up. it starts off in the middle of a night out on the town without really explaining much. but after only a few pages i got my bearings and learned who the characters were and how they were related to the main character. WARNING!!!...after you understand whats going on, you wont be able to stop. all types of events start to happen in Clary's life which will hav no choice but to lure you in with her! its not crazy-busy but also leaves no room for you to get bored...the perfect mix. :) everytime there wasnt action or almost unbearable suspense, i was soaked up in the lust and romance of Jace and Clary. although it is written in 3rd person, it is so easy to become the characters and be overwhelmed with their intense emotion. its sad for me to admitt, and i probably would hav beat myself up for even thinking this before i read this series, but the Mortal Instruments Series goes hand in hand with the Twilight saga...or probably even better. this is definitely for people who fell in love with Twilight and just cant seem to find a good enough book to fill its spot. And although the end of this book can be heartbreaking...dont give up on it!! it gets better and better with each sequel!!!!
I loved reading this wonderful book! It is a story that keeps you entertained for hours.
City of Bones is the first book in The Mortal Instruments trilogy for teens. It's an edgy urban fantasy with a roller-coaster plot, intricate and original world-building, and complex characters. Clare's combination of sarcastic humor and deep honesty makes for pitch-perfect dialogue and compelling character development. A must-read for teen fantasy buffs, this book should also be of interest to adult fans of urban fantasy. No surprise that the first two books in this series have already hit the New York Times Bestseller List-- This is some of the best stuff to hit the teen market in the last few years.
This is definately one of my new favorite books. I couldn't put it down the whole time I was reading it. I know a lot of people are complaining about the ending but they need to grow up, its just a twist it doesn't mean anything. I will also say that anyone who enjoyed the Harry Potter series will love this even more. The characters are funny and sarcastic (which I love) and well developed. The book is worth the read abd you will not be dissapointed. Well for the most part. When you finish it though I highly recommend you read the next one because it hints at the end of it in contrast to the twist at the end of the first one. Or if you're too lazy for that just check out the website. Anyway back to the actual book. Its very thrilling and I have to say I thought the funniest character was Magnus. Jace and Simon were funny too but Magnus was funnier. The whole book is fast pace and full of twists. Some suprised me more than others. So, if you're into a book with lots of action, sarcastic characters, and plenty of twists trust me this book has it.
Cassandra Clare, the author, creates a fascinating world within our own, one where demons--more like malicious beings from other worlds; don't think biblical--menace "mundanes" (regular humans, like Muggles in Harry Potter) and need to be kept under control by Shadowhunters. Faeries wander New York City, vampires party at night, warlocks cast spells, and werewolves change at will. As for the people that populate this world, I love Clare's characters. Clary, the main character and viewpoint of Clare's third-person narration, is a strong and funny female lead. Her best friend, Simon, is witty and nerdy in the most adorable way. Jace, a Shadowhunter and Clary's main love interest of the book, is one of the most entertaining characters I have ever encountered. In fact, practically every character is funny. City of Bones is a very quotable book. Most of the best lines are between Clary and Jace, who have great banter. Recommended read.
Very interesting and entertaining. Very good book. finished it very quickly
This book was SOOOOO AMAZING! I...just...jeeze. Hold on while I find words.
The beginning was a little slow, I had to get into it. But once I did (whenever Jace was present) I just couldn't stop reading it. Spent most of my waking moments reading it, more of my unconscious nights dreaming about it. I don't know, it was like some kind of addiction. One time wasn't enough.
I had to re-read it because it was just that good! The ending...oh man, the ending was a heart break. I felt so bad FOR them, ecspecially Jace. I'm still praying that it was a fluke. Jace was definately my favorite character. Him, Magnus Bane, and Simon had me rolling most of the time. Their so sarcastic and witty, it reminds me of me and my friends.
Cassandra's writing is amazing, but what first caught my eye was the cover. (What hormone crazed teen skimming the library wouldn't be attracted to a book with a shirtless guy and the word "sexy" on the cover?) Yeah...that and the fact that it was shiny!
But anyways, It's a really good read for any teen into sci-fi. I put it right up there with the Twilight Saga. Something I never thought I'd be able to do. I hope they make a movie too!
Originally posted at: www.aurorareviews.blogspot.com What if they world you think you know is more than you could have ever imagined? Vampires and werewolves walk among us. Demons and Angels are real. And the man that you've always thought was your father isn't... it's all a lie told to you by your mother to keep you safe from your real father. Fifteen year old Clary Fray is as about as average a teen as they come. She spends time with her friends, goes to dance clubs, and ... witnesses a murder? Okay, that last part wasn't so average, but even Clary isn't sure that what she thinks she sees is real. Thanks to her mother and a powerful sorcerer putting a spell on Clary to hide the magic around her, Clary has missed or forgotten a world that is just out of her reach. I originally picked up this first book in the Mortal Instruments series because of a recommendation by another YA phenom, Stephenie Meyer. She was so excited about getting to read the third book in the series before it was released that it made me curious to see what another favorite author was reading. I'm glad I took a chance on Cassandra Clare. City of Bones is chock full of fun dialogue while taking the reader deep into a fantasy world of Shadowhunters, demons, vampires, mundanes (that's what they call us humans) and werewolves to name a few. Besides Clary there are several other secondary and main characters that bring this adventure to life. First there's her best guy friend Simon that has had a crush on Clary since forever. Then there are fellow Shadowhunters Jace, Alec and Isabelle. Alec and Isabelle are brother and sister and Jace has lived with them so long he's practically a brother. Jace is the dark anti-hero of the series. He wants only to forget his past and hunt demons until he either kills them all or dies trying. I've read other reviews that bemoan the long narratives in City of Bones. While they aren't exactly wrong, I can see the need to describe the world of the Shadowhunters a little more in this first book, including the history of the Nephilim. The obvious bad guy in the books is Valentine. He's easy to dislike because he makes no apologies for mentally abusing his son early in life as well as using people with low self esteem to do his dirty work. He's on a mission, much like Hitler, to destroy anyone that isn't a part of the Shadowhunter elite. I think you'll find this book has a little bit of everything: mystery, magic, intrigue, paranormal, romance and even betrayal. I read this first book in the series straight thru and couldn't wait to get my hands on City of Ashes since I was left with so many questions at the end of City of Bones. If you are a fan of the Harry Potter and Twilight series I think you'll enjoy Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments as well.
I love this book so much. It has everything anyone would ever want in a book. It has action,humor and romace. Its awesome for both genders and its WAY better than twilight. I was amazed at how good of a writer Cassandra Clare turned out to be. I love the plot of the book and the characters. A MUST-BUY BOOK.
This is a teen book that I read before my daughter does. I really enjoyed this book, had a good plot, was really engrossing and couldn't wait to get to the next in the series.
If City of Bones can be described in one word, I would choose amazing. Okay, one word can't describe all of it! I loved the well thought out plot! I also love the little twist at the end! One of the best books I've read. I am sooooooooooo getting the rest of the series!
This is one truely amazing read. The characters had me wrapped in their story from the first page. While I have only read this first book I can already tell it is going to be a great series. Maybe even the next Harry Potter or Twilight?? I can only hope! There is sonmething for everyone in this book. Action for boys. A great love triangle for the girls. I would recommend this to anyone. It is really amazing. You will not regret buying this!
The series was so good! I loved it! It was exciting and always kept me guessing. I couldn't put it down! :)
City of Bones by Casandra Clare is an amazing novel. I fell in love with Clary and Jace (Oh, Jace!!) immediately. Even though it is fantasy, it is not hard to understand the fantasy elements (like a lot of fantasy novels out there). I was unable to put it down, and once I was finished I had to immediately go out and buy the second book, City of Ashes. I am waiting very impatiently now for the third book! I am deeply in love with this series and highly recommend it, especially for those who liked Harry Potter and the Twilight Series.
I picked it up and read the back cover and it sounded good. It is a really good book. Alot better than I expected. I have also read the Twilight series and I liked this better. Also gave the book to a friend to read and he brought it back two days later and said that he could not put it down.
this book and the two to follow are nothing short from amazing!!! i read all three of them in two days-just couldnt stop!!! they have everything a good fiction should have....shadowhunters, warewolfs, vampires,demons, action, mystery,romance and more!!!! (and ALL of these are presented in the story in a non-classcial sense) this is my new fav series after twilight, harry potter and house of night! if you like any of those books>>>>>>> this is a MUST READ...RIGHT NOW lol :-D
I loved City of Bones! It was amazing and the best book that I have read in months! Clare's writing is filled with emotion and expression! I don't think that any other book else can top this one!
This book is filled to the brim with twists, laughs, and a heartbreak. Miss Cassie Clare has made you go against your sanity with this book and it's right up there with Twilight on my list. I loved it!
This was a fantastic book! I couldn't put it down, I read it in about a day. The characters are fantastic, especially Jace, and I thoroughly recommend this book to everyone and all of my friends! Definitly read this book!
I believing that everyone is entitled to thier own opinion, but they are wrong in this case. This book is amazingly well written. TAKE IT FROM SOMEONE WHO READS SHAKESPEARE AND CLASSICS IN THIR SPARE TIME. I have read more books in 2 years than most people read in 5. The storyline is really good. The endings are better. The way an actaul story shiuld be written. I rank it right up there with harry potter, hamlet and erec rex. A MUST READ
I LOVE this book so much and would recomend it to anyone looking for fantasy with some romance. It is my favorite book in the world and I love all the characters (and feel kind of sorry for Simon). THANK YOU CASSANDRA CLARE FOR WRITING THIS! I have read all the books in the series that have come out (1-4) and can NOT wait for City of Lost Souls and City of Heavanly Fire! I suggest you drop everything and read this book right now!
Really liked it, except didn't like the ending as much as I thought I would. But am looking forward to reading the rest of the series! Defintely reccomend!
With most books I've read, I've felt like they started out slow and become more interesting farther into the book. Or maybe that's just me, and it takes me a while to warm up to the story. But anyways, with this book that was most definitely not the case. From the first page, I was completely into the story. I definitely think that it was a good choice to start out the story with action instead of a long, kind of boring exposition. Instead of getting all of the facts in the beginning, you get them throughout the book. Also, the story is completely original (as far as I know), and the whole book is creatively written. There are so many very, very unexpected twists, especially towards the end of the book, and I found myself really feeling for Clary and the rest of the characters. I can't wait to read the next two books in The Mortal Instruments series, and I will do so as soon as I can!
I love the world that Cassandra Clare built with its Shadowhunters, Vampires, Werewolves, Magnus Bane (yes, I give him his own category, because he's just plain fun). I love Jace! He's cocky and funny, and very entertaining to read about. He's probably one of my top book boyfriends. Clary is a super character herself. There is a huge twist! I really didn't see that one coming! Nope, I'm not telling what it is either! You have to read it to find out.
I absolutely LOVE these books and Cassandra Clare. I read this book when it first came out a couple years ago, and i am sooo happy it is getting the love it deserves. Cassie Clare did an amazing job with these books, and they have completely changed my life. There is action, comedy, romance, suspence, and suprising twists in the plot. I love almost anything that is fiction and has these fiction beings like faeries, worlocks, demons, angels, werewolves, vampires, and shadowhunters, but this is more than just a love for the books, its a lifestyle for me now. The series is magnificent and you will come to love it with all your heart. These books are totally worth the money and time, and if you really want to get connected with more of Cassies books and characters, read the Infernal Devices. I am a total fangirl of both of the series, and i am a Shadow Hunter By Heart. Youll love it starting from the first page.