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City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments
Written by: Cassandra Clare
Narrated by: Mae Whitman
Series: The Mortal Instruments, Book 1
Length: 13 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (92 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Don’t miss The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, now a major motion picture. Discover this first installment of the internationally best-selling Mortal Instruments series and “prepare to be hooked” (Entertainment Weekly).

When 15-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.

©2007 Cassandra Claire, LLC. All rights reserved. (P)2007 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights resevered.

What listeners say about City of Bones

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Love this book but....

I've read City of Bones before, so it was interesting to listen for a change. I really enjoyed it, but Mae Whitman uses the weirdest, refined/affected accent for anyone who isn't Clary or Simon. It doesn't suit the characters at all, especially Jace because it's hard for the sarcasm to come through... and who is Jace without sarcasm?

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, terrible accents

The narrator uses a thick and kind of irritating accent for most of the characters. It kills a lot of the humor in the writing, especially Jace's wit, which is the best part of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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disapointing

alot of the story she was reading has been alterd, it alot like the actual book but from the very beigning i noticed alot of words, sentence, had been change or even cut out.

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The story is awesome

I love this story and have read it before. This is my first time listening to an audiobook and I am sad that Mae used such odd voices to bring some of these beloved characters to life. I have no idea where she got the idea that all Shadowhunters have to sound so strange.

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Somewhat disappointing

Maybe it's because I watched the show first, but none of the characters really stood out to me at all. I really had to struggle through this one to finish it, I'm sure other people will love this series but I wont be continuing with it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, But Not Famtastic

The narration for this story was iffy. Mae Whitman definitely added a certain excitement to the experience, but I had trouble distinguishing the male voices (aside from Simon’s) from each other. If more than one was in the scene, it was a sometimes difficult to know which one was talking.

The actual story was okay. It was pretty easy to distinguish the plot from the individual book vs throughout the series. However, I feel that it needed a bit more development, along with the characters (however, both might be done throughout the remainder of the series).

Overall, a decent start to the series, improved slightly by the narration. Not a personal favourite, but I was definitely intrigued to find out what happens next.

  • Overall
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Great

I just adored this book! Highly recommended to all. Can't wait to start book 2.

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Awesome story

one of my all time favourite series. it's great to be able to listen to it again to remind me of when I read this book for the first time years ago. great story and marathon. you won't be disappointed if you decide to pick this book up #Audible1

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Wonderful

I recommend this book and this series to my friends... often. I really enjoy this story and have read the series several times and am now enjoying it being read to me. #Audible1

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Good story, reading had its issues.

Great story, good listen. While I only have two criticisms for the narrator, they were big ones for me, given how frequently they occurred: It may be present in a New York accent, but no one outside of the US eastern seaboard pronounces foyer with a hard R (present in all of her "British" accents). And, there's a difference between sarcastic and pretentious. Jace read like a self centered brat.
#Audible1

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Bernadette
  • 2014-06-04

Six of one, half-dozen of the other

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes, if you haven't listened to the original version of City of Bones, narrated by Ari Graynor. If you're like me and have the Ari Graynor version, don't bother. When I say "six of one, half-dozen of the other", I mean both versions are mediocre, as far as narration goes. The story is worth it though, so if you haven't read or listened to City of Bones, go for it! It's worth the credit. If you're just looking for a different version with better narration, don't waste your credit.

What did you like best about this story?

City of Bones opens a captivating young adult series, The Mortal Instruments. Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunter world is cleverly-built and the stories exciting. Keeping up with Clary as she learns about her heritage and discovers the world around her kept me hooked through all six books.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Mae Whitman?

Maybe? She wasn't terrible as a narrator, but her accents were. It would have been a much better listen without the questionable English accents.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Ugh...I wish I hadn't. The movie was terrible and it was one of the worst book-to-screen adaptations I've ever seen (but this isn't a movie review). I blame the movie for the bad English accents. The City of Bones movie decided that the Shadowhunters would have English accents and this is the result of that decision. In all of the other audiobooks (except for City of Heavenly Fire, which also came out after the movie), the Shadowhunters have American accents.

Any additional comments?

I wrote this review for listeners who have the Ari Graynor version of City of Bones and are wondering if this version is an improvement. It isn't.

44 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-06-28

Wish I hadn't listened to the audiobook

Any additional comments?

Didn't like the narration at all, most of the accents were super cheesy and didn't allow me to get into the book. I wish I had read the book instead of listening to it, because I'm sure I would have liked it more that way. The way it was narrated made me really annoyed with all of the characters. I only finished the novel for the sake of finishing it, I had no interest in how it ended.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Petunia1620
  • 2015-06-03

Could be better

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I couldn't finish this book. The writing is good for the young adult genre but the narrator is mediocre at best. I could have gotten past the horrible British accents but I couldn't stand her reading style in general. It's very...forced and immature. Emma Gavin and Marisa Calin are much better narrators. But perhaps it's the director's fault. Regardless, I would skip the audio and read the paperback.

28 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • eat.climb.knit
  • 2017-06-27

Terrible narrator

What disappointed you about City of Bones?

Honestly, it takes a lot for me to write a review, but this book is that bad. I had read other ones who said the accent was bad, and yea, it's not great. But for me what is worse is the narrator's choppy, "every sentence is a statement" style of reading. She reads everything fast, and as if it's dropping a bomb. Even sentences that have a follow up comma are read that way. I could get over the accents, but the choppy way of narrating everything as if it's a single stand alone statement is grating.

What didn’t you like about Mae Whitman’s performance?

See above.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • whitephoenix
  • 2017-11-10

This narrator... why?

It's not just pronunciation. It's like the narrator doesnt even read books. A-badd-in. Abbadon. Just... why? I literally almost quit half way. Because half the time I'm wondering what she's even talking about then I'm like ooohhhh, she's just bad at words.Just rough.

4 people found this helpful

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  • JamieB
  • 2017-05-26

Love the series not the multiple narrators

Wish the same narrator was used on the books...hard to picture the characters when the voices keep changing.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2016-10-27

interesting story...childish writing

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I read the prequel series to this first, the infernal devices, which was an amazing series. the writing was profoundly better than this book. It is obvious that this first book was writing by an immature author, while her later works are much more seasoned. I recommend the prequel series far over this one.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Tj
  • 2015-10-10

Adults who loves fantasy, skip this book.

If you are new to the fantasy genre, this is a cute, fun world. The narrator needs to work on her accents/dialects but is otherwise fine. But if you are an Adult who loves fantasy, skip this book. You will find no new ideas or surprises here.

23 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Lady Disdain
  • 2014-05-13

Horrifyingly bad accents

What would have made City of Bones better?

Using a narrator that can actually do voices, OR telling Mae Whitman to stop doing them.

What didn’t you like about Mae Whitman’s performance?

Her accents sound like bad community theatre. Why re-record the book if you aren't going to make it amazing? This one is as bad as the original.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I love this book but the audiobook is TERRIBLE.

27 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Joshua Bergeson
  • 2019-11-23

Excellent premise, wonderful worldbuilding, garbage main characters.

I cannot express how mixed my feelings on this story are. It has some serious ups, and some staggeringly diarrhea inducing downs. The setting and world-building are truly fantastic. Though it doesn’t particularly do anything unique or original, it does put many aspects of modern fantasy together in a way that is truly interesting and fun to experience. So hold onto your toilet paper kids, we are about to spend ten hours on the toilet and things.....might get a little awkward.

I really enjoy the colorful side characters and the writers ability to develop settings had me immersed throughout the story. Small details put together in a way that really helps visualize each scene, and plenty of subtle suggestion lead me to see the underlying world this story is built on. As a writer I really appreciate these aspects of the experience. I always felt like I knew exactly where I was in the story, and yet the world building didn’t distract me from the character development.

Now for the bad. And holy shit the bad is REALLY bad.

The main character is, despite being very emotive throughout the story, so bland and uncharismatic that I simply could not at any point in the story either relate or really care about her situation. She was basically a wet plastic bag being dragged along to react to things and seem impressed by all the shiny neon haired non humans throughout the story.

Simon, Alex, and Iz are all interesting, multifaceted, complex characters that develop throughout the story, and I enjoyed their place in said story. I legitimately felt so strongly towards Simon, as I feel he is a character MANY guys can relate to both in experience and personality. Alex and Liz take a little longer to develop, but do so very well throughout the plot.

Jace however is an unbelievably unlikable edgelord. I’m sorry there is no way around this. He is a 10 year old boys fan fiction character and a 14 year old girls idea of a “dreamboat”. Half of all narrative dedicated to him is purely existent for the sole purpose of constantly describing how gorgeous and flawlessly super charming he is supposed to be, however he only ever comes off as a total douchebag who hurts people for no other reason than he can. There are even points in the story when Clari’s inner monologue states that she is aware of and sickened by his needlessly venomous attitude towards Simon.....and then immediately starts gushing about how fucking blonde he is and spends a page describing the color of his eyes.

To make things worse, the romance between Jace and Clari is the most contrived, shallow, and unremarkable piece of YA trash I’ve ever seen. The first half of the book is spent with the main character constantly going on about how much she absolutely loves and cannot love without her friend Simon, and how much of an insufferable shitbag Jace is. Then all of a sudden he makes some vague mentions of his troubled past and she falls for him like he’s the second coming of edgelord Jesus riding a guitar playing unicorn farting pure happiness and heroism.

As for the audio performance. It was par. Accents were awful. But it wasn’t enough to be off putting. I sat through it because I really enjoyed the story, even though I was wishing the entire time that I could trade the protagonists for literally anything else. FFS a moldy peanut butter sandwich and a bottle of Fanta would have made better main characters than Clari and Jace.

Overall. 3 out of 5. It’s a fun, colorful, and interesting romp through a well built world with some serious flaws. But I managed to sit through it all which is no small feat. And I appreciated the things it did right enough to write this review in the hopes that someone writes a fanfic about Jace sniffing unicorn farts while the rest of the cast goes off to do interesting things.

2 people found this helpful