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This article is about the young adult novel by Cassandra Clare , for the novel by Michael Connelly see City of Bones (Michael Connelly novel) or for the novel by Martha Wells see City of Bones (Martha Wells novel).
City of Bones  
City of Bones.jpg
First edition cover of the book City of Bones.
Author Cassandra Clare
Country United States
Language English
Series The Mortal Instruments Trilogy
Genre(s) Young adult
Publisher United StatesUnited KingdomMargaret K. McElderry
Publication date United StatesMarch 27, 2007
United KingdomJuly 2, 2007
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 496 pp (hardback, first edition)[1]
512 pp (paperback)[2]
ISBN ISBN 1416914285
Followed by City of Ashes

City of Bones is the first book in The Mortal Instruments trilogy, a young adult urban fantasy series set in New York written by Cassandra Clare. It was originally published in the USA in hardcover on March 27, 2007, and was released in the UK on July 2, 2007. It was also released in paperback in the USA on February 19, 2008. It achieved #8 on the New York Times Best Seller list (Children's books) in April 2007.[3]City of Bones received considerable praise from Publishers Weekly, Locus, and authors Holly Black and Kelly Link. Criticism was also received from School Library Journal.


Publication History

Cover of the German translation of City of Bones.

City of Bones was first published in the US by Margaret K. McElderry on March 27, 2007.[1] A paperback version of the book was subsequently released in the US by Simon Pulse on February 19, 2008.[2] A hardback large print version of the book was published by Thorndike Press on September 3, 2008. [4] No hardcover copy of City of Bones was released in the UK, but a paperback edition was released by Walker Books on July 2, 2007.[5] An Italian translation of the book was released by Mondadori, and a softcover version of the book is going to be released. [6] A German translation of the book was released by publisher Arena Verlag, and a paperback edition of the book is due to be released.[6] A Danish translation of the book was released by publisher Borgen Forlag, and a paperback book is due for release.[6] A French translation of City of Bones was released by publisher Univers Poche and a softcover edition of the book is due to be released.[6] A Spanish translation of the book was released by Univers Poche, and a softcover edition is also expected.[6]

  • Clary Fray, a 16 year old girl who is a Shadowhunter but doesn't know it. She was raised by her mother, her father supposedly dead. She is a little over 5 feet tall and is described as having bright red hair. She is an artist like her mother. She also has a remarkable power, in which she can draw new runes that are not in the Gray book. Throughout the remainder of the series, Clary embarks on a quest to help her mother while adjusting to life as a Shadowhunter.
  • Jace Wayland: A Shadowhunter orphaned at a young age by the murder of his father, he now lives with the Lightwoods and Hodge Starkweather at the Institute in New York City. He is said to be the best Shadowhunter his age, having been trained severely by his father prior to his death. He is described as having golden hair, eyes, and skin, making him popular with girls, although he has never had a serious relationship. He is very arrogant, but is a very kind and thoughtful person underneath, though he tries to hide it. His name comes from his initials, J.C., short for Jonathan Christopher. In the end of this book it is revealed that Jace and Clary are siblings.
  • Simon Lewis, Clary's human best friend for about 10 years. He is also in love with her, though she does not appear to have the same feelings for him. He also shows a partial interest in Isabelle, though it seemingly ends by the novel's conclusion.
  • Isabelle Lightwood, Jace's adopted sister, beautiful and obnoxious, also a Shadowhunter. She is described as having black hair, black eyes, being tall, and incredibly beautiful.
  • Alec Lightwood, Isabelle's birth brother. It was a long time before Alec had ever killed his first demon, and it was something he wasn't proud of. He was wounded incredibly when he tried to kill a Greater Demon, which was in the end, set back to its own world by Simon using Alec's bow and arrow. He has black hair and blue eyes.
  • Lucian "Luke Garroway" Graymark, Once a Shadowhunter and a member of the Circle which was started by Valentine. Best friend of Clary's mother and seemingly in love with her. Luke is a werewolf and leader of the pack he takes over in the middle of the book.
  • Valentine Morgenstern: A powerful and evil Shadowhunter. He turns up after several years when he was supposedly dead and attempts to steal the Mortal Cup from Jocelyn (Clary's mother). He reveals that Jace and Clary are his children.
  • Magnus Bane, the flamboyantly homosexual High Warlock of Brooklyn, with a romantic interest in Alec Lightwood. When his name is found imprinted inside Clary's mind, Clary and the gang must seek him out to figure out what he has to do with her past as well as her mother. he also often helps the shadow hunters when they get injured. saving Alec once, when he was gravely injured by a greater demon. Magnus also commonly wears glitter, and is very openly gay.
  • Hodge Starkweather, Isabelle, Alec and Jace's tutor. A curse made by the Clave keeps him trapped inside the walls of the Institute, punishment for his days as a member of the Circle.
  • Jocelyn Fray/Fairchild, Clary's mother, a Shadowhunter in hiding because of her involvement in the Circle. She was Valentine's wife. She hid the Mortal Cup (one of three Mortal Instruments) and put herself into a coma by drinking a potion given to her by a warlock to prevent Valentine from gaining its location.


The main characters, Clary Fray and Simon Lewis, are at a club where Clary witnesses a murder by a group of teens, and is shocked that Simon and the club's security guard, cannot see the culprit—a boy called Jace, who claims that the boy he murdered was a demon. The next day, Jace offers to take Clary to meet his tutor, but before she can do so, she receives a distressing phone call from her mother. She returns home to find her mother missing, the apartment trashed, and a monstrous creature, a Ravenor demon, lying in wait for her. She defeats the creature, but is injured in the process, and Jace takes her to his home. His home is called "the Institute", an old gothic cathedral in New York that humans, or mundanes, can't see, because it is protected by a force called glamor. Here, she recuperates. She also meets Hodge Starkweather, Jace's tutor, as well as his siblings Isabelle and Alec Lightwood.

Returning to her apartment with Jace, Clary is attacked again by a monster called a "Forsaken", which Jace kills. They escape through a magical portal to Luke's, a family friend's, house, where they meet Simon and overhear a conversation between Luke and two men who Jace reveals to have killed his father. They return, with Simon, to the Institute and recount the conversation to Hodge, who in return tells them the tale of a group of '"Shadowhunters", or demon hunters who are invisible to humans, known as "the Circle", who attempted to kill all "Downworlders", or demons. Although their leader, Valentine, was supposedly burned to death, Hodge feels that Valentine may have survived. Hodge also reveals that he, the Lightwoods, Luke, and Clary's mother were all members of the Circle.

Hodge then acquires the help of a monk with magical powers, called a "Silent Brother", Jeremiah, to discover how Clary is able to see Shadowhunters and why she was attacked. Jeremiah discovers a block on Clary's mind, and takes her and Jace to the City of Bones, where the Silent Brothers attempt to break it. Although the attempt fails, Clary discovers flashes of information, particularly the name Magnus Bane, which, with Isabelle's help, Clary traces to a party, which she attends with Jace, Simon, Alec and Isabelle. There, they discover that Magnus is the High Warlock of Brooklyn, and he placed the block on Clary, although his attempts to help her remember are unhelpful. During the party, Simon is turned into a rat by a faerie drink, and Jace and Clary have to rescue him after he is taken home by a vampire.

After returning to the Institute, Jace and Clary talk and eventually kiss, but when Simon catches them and gets angry they argue with each other. Clary begins to draw, and draws a rune which allows her to make her drawing real, leading her to believe that this was how her mother hid the Mortal Cup, within a Tarot card. They return to Clary's apartment, and are attacked by a demon who is searching for the Mortal Cup. The battle leaves Alec badly injured and Simon saves their lives. They return to the Institute and give Hodge the Cup, but he betrays them and gives the Cup, and Jace, to Valentine. When he tries to escape, Hodge is attacked by Luke in werewolf form. Luke then tells Clary that Valentine was her father, before he and his pack attack Valentine's HQ.

During the attack, Luke and Clary get inside, and while Luke is distracted, Clary finds Valentine and Jace. Valentine reveals that he is also Jace's father, making them siblings. Luke then returns to fight Valentine, with Jace's help, but Valentine escapes to Idris, where he has hidden the Cup. Clary retrieves her mother, who is in a coma, and takes her to a hospital. In the meantime, Alec has been healed by Magnus Bane. Clary and Jace meet at the Institute and express their frustration that they cannot be together.

Allusions To Other Works

In the novel, Cassandra Clare includes references to the works of other authors such as Holly Black, who is a friend of Clare's.

  • In the beginning of the book, Clary is drawing and listening to a band called Stepping Razor. Stepping Razor is the name of Ellen Fierch's band in Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale.
  • In the scene in Chapter 10 where Clary and Jace are riding in the carriage, Clary looks out the window and sees a few homeless teenagers. One of them is a girl with a shaved head, the other a boy with dreadlocks and facial piercings who appears to be blind in one eye. These teenagers are actually the characters Valerie and Luis from Black's book Valiant : A Modern Tale of Faerie.


See also



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