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Book Club Kits: City of Bones

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

When fifteen-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.

Discussion Questions

  • What was your first impression of Clary? Do you think she had any idea that her life was not exactly what it seemed to be before she met Jace and the Lightwoods?

  • At Pandemonium, Clary hesitates for only a second before following Isabelle and the boy into the storage room. Was this brave or stupid? Would you have followed them into that closet?

  • Early on, when Clary asks Luke what he would do if he saw something no one else could see, Luke tells her that she sees the world differently because she’s an artist. Do you think he’s right? Or is it just another lie designed to keep the world of the Shadowhunters secret from Clary?

  • After Jocelyn goes missing, and Clary is attacked by the Ravener Demon, Clary begins to learn the truth about herself and the world of the Shadowhunters in bits and pieces. How does this make her feel? Does she believe it all easily? If you were in Clary’s shoes, would you be able to easily accept and understand this information?

  • Would you allow the Silent Brothers access to your own mind and memory for any reason? Why do you think Jocelyn decided to block Clary’s memories and perceptions? Was her decision fair? Was it wise?

  • Magnus Bane tells Clary that “Every teenager in the world…feels broken or out of place, different somehow, royalty mistakenly born into a family of peasants. “ (p.213) Is this true of Clary? How about Jace and the Lightwoods? Do you think this feeling of isolation is always part of growing up? Why?

  • How does Madame Dorothea fit into the Shadowhunters world? How does she help Clary and Jace on their quest? Why do you think Jocelyn chose to live near Dorothea, when she was so eager to leave that whole world behind?

  • Hodge, Valentine and even Clary’s mom were part of The Circle. What was its mission? Why is it difficult for Clary to accept this information about her mother?

  • What do you think of Hodge? Is he evil? Why does he betray Jace and Clary at the Institute?

  • Discuss Clary’s relationship with Simon and Jace. How does Simon surprise Clary over the course of the novel? Does Jace surprise her at all? How does Clary show her commitment to both? How do you think Clary’s relationships with Jace and Simon will change?

  • How is the theme of unrequited love explored in the novel? Whose feelings are not reciprocated? What does it reveal about the characters? Do you think this is a common state for teenagers to face? Why? Why are some people so unaware of how others feel about them?

  • Do you think Clary would’ve been a happier person if the Shadow World and her own mundane Brooklyn had never collided? Is the power and insight she gains worth the pain and loss she must suffer to have it?