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City of Bones

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City of Bones
COB cover
Author/s Cassandra Clare
Cover artist Cliff Nielsen
Narrator Ari Graynor
Mae Whitman
Release Date March 27, 2007 (US)
July 2, 2007 (UK)
Publisher Simon & Schuster
(Margaret K. McElderry)
Cover Jace Wayland
Series The Mortal Instruments
Preceded by
Clockwork Princess
Followed by
City of Ashes
Release order
Released after
Released before
City of Ashes

City of Bones is the first novel in The Mortal Instruments series written by Cassandra Clare.


When 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 odd markings. This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons — and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It's also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. 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 by an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...


Part One, Dark Descent

Clary and Simon were out on a Sunday night and lining up to get into the Pandemonium, an all-ages club that was especially busy that night. There was a blue-haired 'boy' who was able to talk his way into the club with glamour. Observing the humans and keeping his eyes peeled for a meal, he saw Isabelle, an ink-black haired girl in a long, white gown, who then approached him. Seduced and enthused, he follows her into a storage room, followed closely behind by two others, unbeknownst to him.

Clary, attracted to him, watched him up to the point where she noticed the boy and Isabelle being followed by two armed figures. She tries to tell Simon, who can't see them, and goes off after them while Simon calls for some guards.

Inside the storage room, the 'boy' soon realizes that the girl he had followed was not an ordinary human girl. Soon he was tied to a pillar and surrounded by three Shadowhunters.

Clary, at first, sees nothing. However, moments later, as if they had materialized from nothing, she sees them. She watches and listens in for a while, hearing them call the boy a demon. As they were about to kill him, the demon kept insisting that he could give them information about Valentine. Ignoring him, the blond boy, Jace, was just about to stab him with his weapon when Clary comes out from hiding and surprises them, and argues for a while, enough time to give the demon time to tear through his restraints and attack Jace. Eventually, Isabelle and Alec help Jace kill the demon, who then crumpled and grew smaller and smaller before disappearing. Isabelle then threatens Clary, but Jace insists that they let her go.

By the time Simon arrives with the guards, Clary realizes that no one else, other than her, can see the Shadowhunters, so she apologizes for the mistake. Simon and Clary leave the club and head home.

After coming home late from Pandemonium, Clary is scolded by her worrisome mother, Jocelyn. The next day, her mother and their family friend, Luke, tell her that they will be going on a vacation to the farmhouse in upstate New York for the rest of the summer. Clary gets upset, already having set several summer plans, like back-to-school parties with Simon, meetings with her art group, and art classes at Tisch School of Arts that she had saved up for all year. She insists on staying and just working for the summer, but Jocelyn's mind is made up and tells her that she will come with them. Luke had also become upset all of a sudden, announcing his leave, but Jocelyn goes after him and argues with him about Clary. Clary overhears bits of the conversation such as how Jocelyn can't contact Bane who's in Tanzania and how Luke says he can't keep going to him. When Simon arrives, Luke leaves and Clary runs out with Simon.

On the way out of their brownstone building, they encounter a tall man with cat-like eyes who had just come from Madame Dorothea's apartment. The man smiled at Clary, making her dizzy for some reason and forgot about him, thinking that she merely imagined Dorothea's cat.

Simon brings Clary to Nacho Mama, a neighborhood Mexican joint, for something to eat, before going to Java Jones as they had planned earlier. While there, they talk about Clary's mother, realizing that she barely knows anything about her past and the rest of Clary's relatives. Simon then mentions scars all over Jocelyn's body, which, according to Clary, she had never noticed before. Clary soon gets consistent calls from Jocelyn through her cell phone, which she ignores, not wanting to get into any more arguments with her.

They go to Java Jones for Eric's poetry reading. Once there, Simon goes to get them coffee and Clary looks for a seat, when a blond girl asks her about Simon. When Simon returns, she was reluctant to tell him about the girl but does so anyway. They are interrupted when Eric begins to read his horrible poem. She is also unable to proceed when Simon insists on talking to her about his love life. When Clary suggests Jaida Jones, Simon says she likes someone else, and Clary, remembering the question of the blond girl from earlier, asks him if he is gay, which, it turns out, he isn't. She is then distracted by a chuckle from behind them, and turns around to realize that Jace, the blond boy from last night, has been watching them. The boy leaves and Clary follows him, leaving Simon who still cannot see the boy.

When Clary confronts Jace, he begins telling her things about the supernatural that she doesn't understand, saying that she might not be as ordinary as she thinks she is. He then looks for 'Marks' on her hands, explaining that they are runes burned into their skin. He says that most Shadowhunter children get Marked with a permanent rune for weapon skills on their writing hands when they're still young. He shows her the back of his left hand and, although does not see it at first, eventually sees the tattoo-like Mark of an eye after following his instructions about relaxing.

He then tells her to come with him to the Institute as Hodge, his tutor, has instructed him to. They are interrupted by her mother's calls and, this time, Clary answers. Her mom sounds frantic over the phone and tells her not to come home. Clary hears noises and Jocelyn is able to instruct her to go to Simon's for now, and to tell Luke that "he's found her", and her "I love you", before the phone goes dead, not before she hears the eerie calmness in her mom's last words, and a harsh, slithering noise, followed by a thump. After trying to call their home, she drops and breaks her phone and tries to take Jace's from him, which turns out to be a sensor. Jace tries to get her to explain, but, in panic, she attacks him and runs away, racing towards home.

She finds their apartment a mess, their things scattered and torn and destroyed, Jocelyn nowhere to be found. All of a sudden, a Ravener demon attacks her. As she tries to run away, the demon blocks her way to the door. To her horror, Clary realized that the noises the demon was making were words. At first, it was talking about wanting to eat her, then, springing above her, says something about Valentine not mentioning a girl and that he probably wouldn't mind. Then, holding the Sensor she took from Jace, jams the Sensor between its teeth, the demon's acidic drool spilling onto her skin.

The demon drew back and swallowed the Sensor which begins to kill it. She scrambles away and tries to run but is struck at the back of her head by the half-dead Ravener demon, causing her to collapse. When she comes to her senses, Jace was hiding her at the back of their apartment building from the cops, some of them demons, parked by the curb. He takes her back to the Institute with him to heal her of the Ravener poison in her veins. Before going though, he uses his stele to mark her with a glamour rune to hide her temporarily.

Clary awakens three days later in the New York Institute from constant dreams and nightmares. Once awake, Isabelle tells her about what happened over the past few days and even tells her about Jace's parents. She cleans herself up and goes out to look for Isabelle, only to find Jace playing the grand piano who eventually takes her to Hodge.


Part Two, Easy is the Descent


Part Three, The Descent Beckons



Part One: Dark Descent

  1. Pandemonium
  2. Secrets and Lies
  3. Shadowhunter
  4. Ravener
  5. Clave and Covenant
  6. Forsaken
  7. The Five-Dimensional Door
  8. Weapon of Choice
  9. The Circle and the Brotherhood

Part Two: Easy is the Descent

  1. City of Bones
  2. Magnus Bane
  3. Dead Man's Party
  1. The Memory of Whiteness
  2. The Hotel Dumort
  3. High and Dry
  4. Falling Angels
  5. The Midnight Flower
  6. The Mortal Cup
  7. Abbadon
  8. In Rat's Alley

Part Three: The Descent Beckons

  1. The Werewolf's Tale
  2. Renwick's Ruin
  3. Valentine




  • Clary Fray - the main protagonist of the series, Clary is a Shadowhunter who grew up in the mundane world.
  • Jace Wayland - one of the most skilled Shadowhunters of his generation, Jace is an orphan who witnessed his father's death.
  • Alec Lightwood - the eldest Lightwood and Jace's parabatai, Alec is very protective of his family and finds himself not trusting Clary, whom Jace is inexplicably drawn to.
  • Isabelle Lightwood - Alec's beautiful younger sister, Isabelle is a strong and fierce Shadowhunter, as well as a rebellious daughter.
  • Valentine Morgenstern - the notorious leader of the Circle, believed to be dead for over a decade.
  • Jocelyn Fray - Clary's mother who goes missing, kidnapped by Valentine.
  • Hodge Starkweather - the tutor of the New York Institute, cursed to forever be unable to leave the Institute grounds because of his past treachery.


  • Simon Lewis - Clary's geeky, mundane best friend who inevitably joins Clary and the Shadowhunters because of his feelings for her.
  • Madame Dorothea - a hedge-witch who has lived in the same building as the Frays for years.





Special content

  • Repackaged US/Canada paperback edition: The repackaged and updated version of the book, set to be released on September 1, 2015, will include minor corrections and changes, a map (particularly of Shadowhunter New York) and new exclusive content written by Cassandra Clare.[1][2][3]

Film adaptation

The film adaptation of the book, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, was released on August 21, 2013. Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower starred as Clary Fray and Jace Wayland, respectively, and the film was directed by Harald Zwart. The film was set to be the first of at least a trilogy; the poor reception, however, put the future of the project into question.


  • The original cover features Jace Wayland, the skyline of New York City and the graves found in the Silent City.
  • The repackaged paperback cover again features Jace (with the model the same as the one on the original City of Lost Souls cover) wearing his Morgenstern family ring and reaching for the Mortal Cup tarot card.
  • The title refers to the Silent City, which is sometimes referred to as the City of Bones.
  • The book is told from different points of views, namely from: Clary and Jace, and briefly in Lambert and Luke's.
  • Cassandra Clare is good friends with the author Holly Black. Both have references each other's works in their own books.
    • Stepping Razor, a band Clary was listening to in her room, is the name of Ellen Fierch's band in Holly Black's Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale. (Chapter 2, Secrets and Lies)
    • Val and Luis, characters from Valiant, are seen by Clary during a carriage ride on the way to the Silent City. (Chapter 10, City of Bones)


Start a Discussion Discussions about City of Bones

  • City of Bones Movie Reviews

    44 messages
    • I concur with the above comment.
    • wrote: Having read the books multiple times, we the actual shadowhunters felt personally insulted by the movie. It was inaccurate...
  • This series

    2 messages
    • Okay I've read all this series it's my favorite. Clary and Jade are adorable together sorry spoiler alert Cassandra Clare is a wonderfully aut...
    • wrote:Okay I've read all this series it's my favorite. Clary and Jade are adorable together sorry spoiler alert Cassandra Clare i...

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