Before there was ... City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

So, did I mention that I love fantasy?  Well now we're going to shift from my love of high fantasy to my love of urban fantasy.  In case you didn't notice, Diana Wynne Jones pops up here again.  What a surprise. It's not because I'm obsessed with her, or anything . . . 

If you haven't read City of Bones, look out for my review in the next few days! 

Before there was City of Bones 

by Cassandra Clare, there was . . . 

 I love her. I love these books. They introduced me to her, and they'll always keep a place in my heart.  Like Clare's series, Chrestomanci features an urban setting with plenty of fantasy.  In this case, wizards.  (Yes, this will pop up again when I do a Before There Was for Harry Potter.)  But not only wizards.  The characters in various otherworlds of our England deal with enchanters, beasties, gods, and all sorts of magical beings.  There's romance, adventure, and loads of dry British humor.  Which reminds me of Clary and her snark. 

So you've read Clare and you want demons, angels, religious overtones, badass female characters, romance, adventure, and lots of fun fighting?  No one does it like Pullman.  These books are on my favorites list.  Lyra is spunky without being annoying, clever without being overbearing.  She lives in an otherworld where people's souls live outside their bodies as daemons (aka adorable pet-like creatures) and hints of an old magic run on magical dust.  Only there are dark forces using these magics to their advantage.  Pair her with cute Earthling Will, and it's a wild ride that'll fill your Mortal Instruments withdrawal.  I'd be surprised if Clare wasn't inspired by these! 

While we're on the subject of snark, who doesn't love snark?  And British snark?  Which is Gaiman to a T, along with an exciting adventure through the hidden underworld of London.  It reminds me a lot of the Downworlders moving through New York; they're there, we just can't see them.  It also has a lot of humor and romance like Clare, and is just a great book in general.  Very accessible for younger teens, too.    

One of my favorite series.  Bobby Pendragon wakes up one day to find that he doesn't exist.  His parents are gone.  No one at school remembers him.  It's like he never existed at all.  The only people who know him are his best friend, Mark, his crush, Courtney, and his uncle, who reveals that Bobby is a Traveler.  These people have the power to jump worlds--and to keep these worlds safe from the chaos-bent Saint Dane.  These especially remind me of Clare.  They have a similar atmosphere, more romance than most male-centered fantasy, and very intricate otherworlds, both within Earth and without.

This is like Clare for younger readers, with more snarky British (or Irish, I should say) humor.  Artemis Fowl is a wealthy genius child determined to trap a fairy for his own use. In the process, he discovers the secret underground world of fairies and other magical beings, and becomes involved in several crazy adventures. Lots of cybertalk and modernized fairy-isms, which is pretty cool and very Clare-like.  The fairy world reminds me very much of the Downworlders.    

Click the book titles to find out more! 

What other older or obscure books 
remind you of City of Bones?


  1. Awesome post! Haven't read Diana Wynne Jones, but guess I need to check her out as I feel the same way about Neil Gaimen. Neverwhere is one of my favorite books!

    Really like your blog and am a new follower. :)

    Alexia's Books and Such...

    1. You should read her! She's like a MG/YA version of Neil Gaiman, in my mind. Thanks so much for following! (I love Neverwhere too. (: It was the first book I reviewed on my blog!)

  2. *hangs head in shame* For someone who enjoys fantasy, I hate to admit that I haven't read any of these! (Except for City of Bones) Thanks for the recommendations. I will definitely have to check a couple of these out. :)