etc // light bulbs killed polar bears

Some quick book thoughts...

...on City of Bones

I spent most of this book trying to figure out why I wasn't enjoying it. Part of the problem, I think, is that it's an utterly predictable variation on Harry Potter: a magical world exists alongside our own, the main character is a part of it, myths based in reality, bad guy wants a new world order, blah blah blah. On the other hand, the writing wasn't bad. I mean, I've read worse. Then, of course, the end happened. Even though I've read enough of the synopses of the following books to know that they're not actually you know what... yeah. Kind of a turn-off anyway.

Anyway, I think I figured out why this book didn't work for me: I can't figure out where it's supposed to be on the MICE Quotient. The world-building isn't strong enough for it to be a Milieu story. There's no central Idea. The Characters never seem to go through any great change (at least not in City of Bones, I can't speak for the series as a whole) and none of the Events are really momentous enough for it to fit in that category, either. Whereas Harry Potter started primary as a Milieu story that was touched off by an Event (Harry 'killing' Voldemort) but, by the end of the series, was a mix of Character and Idea. I think City of Bones was meant to be a mix of Character and Milieu, but the setting felt stale and none of the characters was especially compelling.

Anyone want to tell me what I seem to be missing? Or is the problem just that I'm not the target audience?
  • Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
For me, the problem was not having a character to root for. Like, I loathed Jace. I just wanted him to impale himself a jagged piece of rebar and then burble himself to death. And having that strong of a reaction takes me out of a book, but to make it worse, the author keeps trying to be like, "You should like Jace! He's a poor, tortured soul!" And he just keeps getting crammed down your throat.

Then you add in the fact that the book didn't have a central mythology, as you pointed out, and instead seemed more content to pack in every type of demon or fantastical beast, and it just becomes a mess.

Plus, I've never read a single Cassandra Cla(i)re story that I've liked where it was going. She's stronger at beginnings, but then she wanders into batcrap crazy territory.

My feelings might also be soured by my complete and total dislike of the author, to be fair. But when you plagiarize entire book passages, I reserve the right to give you the side-eye for life. :)
Yeah, it was like Jace was supposed to be this Cool Guy and he just seemed like a snarky little kid. Which I guess he is. To me. *is old*

My feelings might also be soured by my complete and total dislike of the author, to be fair. But when you plagiarize entire book passages, I reserve the right to give you the side-eye for life. :)

Oh, do tell. Somehow I missed this bit of drama.
*rubs hands together* You miiiiiiight want to pull up a stool.

Here's a good site that lists off some of her transgressions: The History of Cassandra Cla(i)re's fandom wank

It all originates from the Harry Potter fandom, which is kind of the king of fandom wank. I was actually in the fandom when this was all going down, so I go to see this from the stands, but essentially, Cassandra Claire was a bully who lifted a lot of lines of her story from things like Blackadder, Buffy and Red Dwarf and then escalated to lifting entire passages from books by Pamela Dean. As far as I can tell, her Mortal Instruments series isn't her original Draco Trilogy story with the serial numbers rubbed off (though there are a lot of similarities anyway), but it's still pretty crummy and there are still a lot of too-close-for-comfort comparisons. Like Clary is essentially her Ginny (whom she wrote in an incestuous relationship with Ron, like WTF woman?), Jace is her Draco. The characters ended up not being anything like canon in her fanfic itself, so it wasn't like she was lifting from JK Rowling, but sometimes it just depresses me when I see her books at Wal-Mart.
Wow, what a storm of crapola, lol. Makes me ALMOST miss the days of my own fandom involvement. Almost. Okay... not really. Is there a word for 'nostalgic and slightly nauseated?'

This makes me wonder if some of Simon's better lines were just lifted from obscure novels, considering they're the only part I kind of enjoyed.