Critical reception for City of Bones was mostly positive, with Publishers Weekly calling the book "a compelling story". Teen Ink gave a mixed review, stating that the book was "addicting" [sic] but that parts of the book were quite predictable. The School Library Journal also criticized the book's predictability, but wrote that "Despite the narrative flaws, this version of New York, full of Buffyesque teens who are trying to save the world, is entertaining and will have fantasy readers anxiously awaiting the next book in the series."
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