GO SEE ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’. That’s an order.

So I’ve written a few times about my (mostly happy) love affair with Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books. Most recently, I wrote about the Infernal Devices series, which was completely satisfying and just right. And at the end, you may notice I wrote about my eagerness to see how the movie version of City of Bones turned out.

Here’s what I thought was kind of funny initially, before the movie even started: Since I’m quite a fangirl when it comes to this series (although I refuse to shell out $2.99 per story for the Bane Chronicles; all together, that’s going to be a lot of moolah), I honestly expected to see crowds out front of my local theater when I dashed out to see it last night, right after it opened (but, admittedly, on a Thursday, before weekend busy-ness). After all, Twilight fans were lined up for hours ahead of each show. And honestly, this series is even better: it has action, hot romance, supernatural elements, and wit. But when my husband and I got there, 35 minutes before showtime, there were two other people seated in the theater. Wha? By the time it started, there was a reasonable small group in there for a Thursday night, but I sat there thinking, I hope that audiences do not miss this movie. 

So I’m recommending it to everyone.

The movie did not disappoint. It stays true to the story without taking too many liberties but not, however, being so faithful to the book that it bogs down the pace of the action and plot; the action is engaging enough for male viewers to be able to get into it (come on, you know that Twilight the movie wasn’t exactly geared toward the men); the romance is still scorching hot (the great kiss scene in the middle is even better on film than it is in the book, which is saying something); the story and the world building are interesting, as in the book; the sets are great. I loved seeing everything I imagined (and didn’t get around to imagining, apparently) come to big, beautiful life on the screen.

City-of-Bones-Movie-JaceCasting: When it all comes down to it, the most important casting pick was for one crucial character. The actor (Jamie Campbell Bower) who portrays the central character, Jace Wayland, is honestly just about a perfect choice. I admit I don’t think he’s great-looking (and yes, I do think that RPatt is just to die for when it comes to looks, not to mention how funny he is in interviews), but the character isn’t really either. It’s all about presence. Jace is intense, moody, and utterly irresistible because of how he emotes. And Bower nails this. He has screen presence galore. He smolders up there on the screen. His hair looks terrible. But it simply doesn’t matter. His whole body, his face, his eyes show who the character is and what he may or may not feel or believe. And when he looks at Clary, his face near to hers, temperatures rise. Yikes.

Now I did mention in that previous post that my main concern would be the humor. The books are laugh-out-loud funny in the banter between the characters and some of their one-liners. The movie just did an OK job on capturing this wit. There were a few good lines, but still, as I feared, that delicious banter isn’t in constant supply. The action and romance win out, and the wit came in last. Even so, it wasn’t a complete bust. I really felt that the Harry Potter movies suffered in comparison to the books because they really did sacrifice most of what I saw as clever and funny in the books. I didn’t feel that this movie did quite so badly.

Overall, a great adaptation and a movie I’m going to have to watch a few more times on the big screen. I liked it that much. Now pardon me while I get ready to head to the theater, this time with my oldest daughter.

Author: Cathy Carmode Lim

I'm a copy editor, writer, and book reviewer with three decades of experience. My book review website is RatedReads.com. I'm a mom of four and grandma of three.

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