When Books Become Movies: City of Bones

City of Bones Movie Poster


After reading through the first five books in the series and looking forward to the last book, I was pretty excited last summer to see City of Bones come to the big screen. The trailers, clips, and pics all looked amazing. The movie, however, was less amazing.

Book Accuracy

The movie was pretty close. The more “fantasy” a book, the harder it will be to capture every detail, but a few things were changed that had me baffled. The entire ending scene happened in a different location that didn’t make sense. It actually went against the book because in the book, certain creatures can’t go certain places and in the movie, they did with no worries.

My biggest problem was a huge spoiler alert that the movie let out. In the book there is a bomb of a plot twist at the end of book 1 that kept me speed reading until it’s resolved several books later. In the movie, they pretty much gave it away. I was kinda mad at this. Okay, so I was pulling my hair out frustrated. Why! Why would they do that?! I cannot think of a reason that makes sense. They killed the suspense of that entire plot line for the next movies. If they get made at all. (City of Ashes, second in the series, is listed as in development, but it was already pushed back once, so we’ll see.)


The characters felt pretty true. I really liked the cast, though not everyone agrees. I thought Jace’s snark came through and Simon’s tenderness. Loved Luke and Clary. Alec was obnoxious and Isabelle divaesque, so very true to the book. Hate to say it, but I think Godfrey Gao did a poor job with Magnus. For such a dynamic character, the performance needed to be perfect and it felt rather amateur. He looked the part, but that’s it. Overall, I think the actors did a good job of bringing the book characters to life.


The things removed for the movie did not detract from the plot until the major spoiler that I mentioned before. Some of the plot felt a little rushed, especially when it came to bringing out the depth of the relationships.

Overall Entertainment

Not bad. I’ll watch it again. I’ll see the next one, though I’ll be much more hesitant than excited, based on what happened in the first movie. If you enjoyed the book, you’ll probably like the movie. If you didn’t read it or like it, you might not be so enthusiastic. The visual effects were nice–the demons were very creepy and the action was pretty exciting and visually pleasing.


And if you were wondering, I totally dressed like a shadow hunter and did runes on my nails :)
City of Bones Movie NightCity of Bones/Shadowhunter Nails

Movie Trailer


Did you see the movie? What did you think?


One thought on “When Books Become Movies: City of Bones

  1. I agree with almost everything you’ve said here. I remember when it first came out, it was mind-boggling how many book fans loved the movie.

    I liked their choice of actors for the most part, but you are definitely right about Magnus. This is a character that needs to be elegantly larger than life. The actor looked the part, but just couldn’t pull it off.

    I would have given it a much lower rating than you, but if they had decided to do a sequel, I totally would have been there, opening week no less!

    I’m really curious what you think of the Netflix/ABC version, “Shadowhunters”.
    I think it makes the movie look like a masterpiece in comparison! I wrote a short review of it on my blog back in January, just search for “shadow hunters” if you want to read it :D

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