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Parents' Guide to

City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments, Book 1

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Action-packed start to teen urban fantasy series.

City of Bones: The Mortal Instruments, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 30 parent reviews

age 12+

A Spectacular YA Fantasy Series!

First of all - I've been reading the series since I was a young teen myself, so I might not be the most unbiased reviewer in the world, but I LOVE these books! I picked up City of Bones from my high school library at a friends recommendation, and here I am about 9 ish years later still reading everything Cassandra Clare puts out. The first series in the Shadowhunter Chronicles (City of Bones, City of Ashes, etc.) is a perfect series for young fantasy lovers from 12 years old and up. It has moderate violence, minor swearing, and while the characters are (for the most part) all teenagers, kissing in the most that happens for the first five books. In the sixth book the main couple have sex together for the first time, but it is vague enough that it is (in my opinion) totally appropriate for tweens. The Shadowhunter Chronicles continues after this first series, and as it does, the books get progressively more mature in terms of sexual content, so children who read the first books at 12 might have to put the chronicle on hold for a couple years before continuing.
age 12+

Great book!

I love this series so much! My eldest is completely hooked! There is swearing, but none of it is major or too consistent. A little bit of joking sexual content and a bit of homosexuality if this concerns you. A medium amount of violence but crucial to the plot of the book. But none of it is what you would call a big deal.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (30 ):
Kids say (221 ):

Teen urban fantasy is a popular subgenre, and this first installment of a six-book series has the essential elements. In City of Bones, author Cassandra Clare offers a complex world with reams of backstory involving many characters, creatures, factions, and relationships. In addition to the various sides among Shadowhunters, there are also vampires, werewolves, faeries, warlocks, and others, each with their own politics, powers, and agendas. Unfortunately, Clare's characterization of teen behavior (jealous girls, boys who evaluate girls' bodies and then get violent when upset) is clichéd. Paired with the lack of diverse characters and a reliance on racial, gender, and sexual stereotypes, the book feels outdated.

Book Details

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