Community Post

I Just Read City of Bones for the First Time & This Is How It All Went Down

March 22, 2018
Casey Nugent
Riveted Editorial Board

Friends. Romans. Countrymen. I have a confession to make.

I have never actually read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

I know! Shock! Betrayal! How could I — a YA lover, a Riveted eboard member, a noted urban fantasy fan — have never read City of Bones? How could I have made such a massive error? That’s what my friends and fellow Riveted staff all asked me — and they were right! It was an error. This book is so embarrassingly in my wheelhouse that the fact I haven’t gotten around to it is astonishing. But no more. No more living in shadows. No more not getting all of your probably excellent Shadowhunters jokes. For today is the day where I finally read City of Bones — and write about it, for you all to enjoy.


  • All these reactions happened in real time — this is not a retrospective post, this is my live, up-to-the-minute commentary in blog post form.
  • In the interest of appealing to my fellow YA-lovers who have yet to pick up City of Bones, I’m keeping this spoiler-free! My reactions are largely context removed, but they are tied to specific chapters up until the end. All that said, if you’re one of those people who thinks even knowing a twist exists counts as a spoiler, or that knowing anything going in is spoiler-y consider this an Official Warning.

What I knew about City of Bones going in: 

  1. It takes place in New York City
  2. Everyone loves Jace
  3. Clary is totally awesome
  4. I am like 90% sure vampires show up at one point
  5. Everyone has these really cool tattoos that look super goth and awesome.

And that’s it! So without further ado, here it is — my reactions to my first time reading City of Bones.

Chapter 1:

Simon, at a club, not dancing and making sarcastic commentary — deeply and unbelievably relatable.

Fun fact! I once took our “Who’s Your Shadowhunter Boyfriend” Quiz and got Alec! So even though I know literally nothing about him at this point, I have decided to stan. That’s my boy!

Isabelle having a whip is VERY COOL and VERY GOTH. I stand by my goth assessment from before I started.

Chapter 3:

Alright y’all, I know Jace is your boy but . . . he seems kind of like a jerk? I’m hesitant. Then again, all great broody heroes start off as jerks, so I’ll hold my judgments.

Alec is also a jerk, but since I have already decided to stan him, I will overlook this for now.

Threatening to kidnap girls is BAD FLIRTING! Don’t do this!

Chapter 4:

I am only 50 pages in and this is an emotional roller coaster.

Chapter 5:

Do Isabelle and Clary become best friends? I want them to be best friends. I have decided, and I will speak this into existence.

Alec: Isabelle hails from one of the greatest Shadowhunter dynasties. [Clary] hails from New Jersey.
Yes atta girl kill him with your Brooklyn rage!!!! GO METS BABY

City of Bones, AKA: Why Is Everyone Being So Mean to Clary She’s Having a Very Traumatic Day Will Someone Please Give This Girl a HUG.

Chapter 6:

Jace doing something incredibly reckless with only 90% certainty it will work is RELATABLE

Clary: *slaps Jace*

 Chapter 8:

I love that Clary just refuses to take Jace’s crap. You go girl!

That said, 115 pages in I am reluctantly warming up to Jace.

Also, every time Jace’s hair is described this is what I picture:

Chapter 10:

Now that we’re getting into the backstory I’ll say this — the idea that a lot of characters who are currently pretty good people were involved in evil stuff in the past is one of my absolute favorite things that stories do. People aren’t good or evil inherently — it’s a choice, and you can always walk away from the dark side.

Jace doesn’t lie?? My favorite trope is “Character Who Refuses to Lie?” How dare he make me start to like him! Frankly.

 Chapter 12:

Magnus Bane has had three lines is already in my top three favorite characters.

 Chapter 13:

“Sorry, your angst isn’t the result of your magic past, it’s just, like, standard teenage angst.” Cassie Clare, you are after my own heart with this writing!

Magnus is extremely deep and also somehow very silly and if that is not the #aesthetic we as a society should be aiming for then I don’t know what is.


A RAT!!!!

A RAT!!!!

Chapter 14:

[mild spoiler] I KNEW vampires showed up at some point!!!

Jace’s ability to maintain witty dialogue under dire straits has officially upgraded him to a Character I Kind of Like. I am sorry, past me, to have disappointed you this way.

Chapter 17:

I am having . . . emotions



Chapter 19:

Jace Wayland slamming Staten Island mid-battle is when I truly and officially fell in love with him. You win, City of Bones, you win.

As for how I’m feeling about the rest of this chapter:




Chapter 20:

What’s up I have been reduced to an absolute disaster by the second half of this book.

The Rest of the Dang Book:

(I won’t lie, I lost track of chapters because the book became officially impossible-to-put-down at this point.)

Look, I don’t have any witty comments for the last two hundred pages of this book. I am alternating violently between:

Wait, I’m sorry — sister?

. . . Sister?

S I S T E R???? 

I need a minute

I need a hundred minutes

I am . . . LOSING IT


Final Thoughts:

I read this book in, like, two (kind of long) sittings. Once I was hooked I was hooked.

I started off hating Jace and by the end I’m fully like

I love all of my children — all of my beautiful, demon hunting children.

If you have not read this book what are you waiting for honestly go read it and then come and bug me in the comments here and we can cry about it together.

If you have read it, I hope I brought back some fun nostalgia for you, or at least you laughed at what an utter fool I was going into all of this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go track down a copy of City of Ashes. No one speak to me for a week. At least.


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