City of Bones Literary Elements

City of Bones Literary Elements


Fantasy, action/adventure, young adult

Setting and Context

New York City, 2008, specifically Clary’s apartment, Pandemonium Nightclub, the New York Institute and the City of Bones.

Narrator and Point of View

A third person omniscient narrative, which follows Clary and Jace at different points in the story.

Tone and Mood

The tone is light and humorous at times when the characters are having positive times together, but can quickly switch to intense and suspenseful, eliciting moods of excitement, during action sequences.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The main protagonist is Clary Fairchild and the antagonist is Valentine Morganstern.

Major Conflict

Clary, Jace and the rest of the Shadowhunter crew must find the Mortal Cup, an object used for creating new Shadowhunters, before Valentine does, because Valentine wants to use it to summon an angel and take over the Shadowhunter world.


When Valentine and his demons attack the Institute to steal the Mortal Cup and Hodge, the mentor of the young Shadowhunters, is revealed to be a traitor.


In Chapter One, Clary observes that the boy in front of her in line at Pandemonium Nightclub has eyes that are too green to be natural, foreshadowing that he is actually a demon.
In Chapter Three, when Clary asks Simon if he wants to ask out a girl in their grade, he is very uncomfortable and says that he likes someone else, foreshadowing that he actually likes her.
In Chapter Ten, Hodge suggests that Valentine would have sacrificed his own son for his cause, foreshadowing that he actually does have a son.


In Chapter Eleven Jace tells Clary not to eat the fairy food because it will make her go “a little crazy”, and then tells her that it will likely make her run naked through the streets of New York.


When the Shadowhunters use seraph blades they have to assign them the name of an angel, which alludes to the Bible.
Clary reads the book The Golden Bough in her apartment, an allusion to the study of comparative religion.


“[The flower] swelled to twice its size and burst open. It was like watching a speeded-up film of a flower blooming: the delicate green sepals opened outward, releasing the clustered petals inside. They were dusted with pale gold pollen as light as talcum.” –pg. 312


Magnus Bane is a High Warlock, a title that brings to mind a wise, elderly man, but he actually only appears to be twenty years old and likes to wear glitter and hair dye.
Valentine is Clary’s father and should want to protect her, but instead he wants to use her as a weapon.


Jocelyn’s best friend, Luke, has been in love with her since she was a teenager. Clary’s best friend, Simon, has been in love with her for years as well.
At the beginning of the book, Clary thinks she has been betrayed by Luke, someone who she has known for years and thought she could trust, but who turns out to actually be on her side. At the end of the book she is betrayed by Hodge, another person who she thought she could trust, but who she has known for considerably less time.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

Metonymy: “Still seeking a rockin’ bod?” –pg. 39. Rockin’ bod is a metonymy for an attractive girl.
Synecdoche: “Maybe a visit from the Silent City.”-pg. 224. The Silent City is a synecdoche for all of the Silent Brothers.


“The crack threw a network of spidery lines across the smiling faces of Clary, Luke, and her mother.” –pg. 122

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