Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Review: Cassandra Claire - City of Bones

In some ways I don't like Cassandra Claire. There is no rational reason for this, though if you believe internet rumors there could be plenty. I'm fairly sure that the only reason I have for not liking her is a sense of extreme jealousy. Cassandra Claire has gone from being a ridiculously popular fanfiction writer, to being a ridiculously popular novel writer and hanging out with some of the coolest people in the industry. Me? Jealous? Never. In some ways the reason I brought the book is that I harbored this vague dislike. I wanted to be proved wrong, and to be shown that she deserved all of the praise and adoration she got. So far though? I'm not convinced.

The first thing I noticed about the book is that it's really long. As a fan of epic fantasy, I think that this is a great sign, but the novel itself doesn't seem to have the stamina to keep going. I'm not quite sure what it is, but something about the book just doesn't keep me hooked the way it should.

The plot itself if decent, although there are vauge Potteresque allusions in this too: young girl knows nothing of magical world until she stumbles upon it, big bad evil who has been hiding for years and everyone believes is gone, but now his inner circle is rising again..... plus pretty boys that are a fanfic writers dream. That considered, she does a pretty good job of making a magical world, using all the sterotypes to her advantage so she never really has to explain things, but the reader still has a clear idea of what the baddies look like.

The characters also felt a bit like they were from derived from specific stereotypes, and while they are quite well fleshed out, they still don't entriely escape completely from those origins. The dialogue between them on the other hand is quite good. While I tended to skim the action scenes, the interactions between the characters is what kept me interested in the books. The book is predominately about teenagers and how they interact with each other. There are some gems of wisdom in there that I totally agree with, and think that teens that read really need to hear.

The ending gives me hope of things to come. While some of the twists at the end were predictable, some were less so, and i feel that the book nicely deviated from the Harry Potter trap. With the next book in the series, which is due out soon, Cassandra Claire should hopefully be able to get rid of the taint of Potter altogether, and allow her characters and plot to grow into themselves. I have great hopes for her, let's see how it goes.

You can check out city of bones on Amazon

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At December 6, 2007 at 8:06 PM , Blogger Ruzkin said...

I'm really enjoying going through your reviews, it's rare for people to review YA fiction with the same depth that is given to literary fiction, so this is a welcome change. Thanks for checking out my blog, this is the only way I could figure out to reply - is there even a reply function on blogspot?

Anyway, catch you about, and if you really did want to suffer through that first NaNo draft then feel free :)

At December 7, 2007 at 12:16 AM , Blogger Nicole Canal said...

Not so much with the reply ability - you can reply in the same thread and if they are subscribed to the thread they will get it. So here is my way of finding out if you are subscribed to this or not :P

I'm glad you like the reviews, I don't have much of a readership yet so I don't really get feedback, I'm mostly just doing it they way I like to read and hoping that works out.

So do you have more of your novel up online or can I request a copy by email?


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