When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder. Much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons — and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It's also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. Within twenty-four hours, Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...
Part One: Dark Descent
Part Two: Easy is the Descent
Part Three: The Descent Beckons
Epilogue: The Ascent Beckons
- Clary Fray - the main protagonist of the series, Clary is a Shadowhunter who grew up in the mundane world.
- Jace Wayland - one of the most skilled Shadowhunters of his generation, Jace is an orphan who witnessed his father's death.
- Alec Lightwood - the eldest Lightwood and Jace's parabatai, Alec is very protective of his family and finds himself not trusting Clary, whom Jace is inexplicably drawn to.
- Isabelle Lightwood - Alec's beautiful younger sister, Isabelle is a strong and fierce Shadowhunter, as well as a rebellious daughter.
- Valentine Morgenstern - the notorious leader of the Circle, believed to be dead for over a decade.
- Jocelyn Fray - Clary's mother who goes missing, kidnapped by Valentine.
- Hodge Starkweather - the tutor of the New York Institute, cursed to forever be unable to leave the Institute grounds because of his past treachery.
- Simon Lewis - Clary's geeky, mundane best friend who inevitably joins Clary and the Shadowhunters because of his feelings for her.
- Madame Dorothea - a hedge-witch who has lived in the same building as the Frays for years.
- Magnus Bane - the High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus is believed to be the key to unlocking Clary's past.
- Luke Garroway - a former Shadowhunter and now a werewolf, Luke is a close friend of Jocelyn who helped raise Clary.
- Raphael Santiago - leader of the New York vampire clan.
- Repackaged US/Canada paperback edition: The repackaged and updated version of the books' paperback, released on September 1, 2015, includes minor corrections and changes, a map of Shadowhunter New York and new exclusive content written by Cassandra Clare, including a new foreword and the extra story When Midnight Comes.
- Limited repackaged hardbound edition: A hardbound City of Bones with the new cover art (normally, from September, the repackaged editions are only in paperback while the hardbound editions will be printed with the original designs; this will be a special, limited edition) which will also contain the maps from the repackaged paperbacks, a poster of Clary done by Alexander Taini, and a brand new extra: the beginning of the book rewritten from Jace's point of view called Awake.
- 10th Anniversary Special Edition: A special edition released on November 7, 2017 to commemorate the book's 10-year anniversary since its first release. It features new cover art, gilded edges, over thirty interior illustrations, six new full-page color portraits of characters, a new piece written by Cassandra Clare, and contains the "Clave's files" on many characters—including Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle, Raphael, Magnus, and Church—which specifies their birthdays, their scars and Marks, and the Clave's analysis of their personalities.
The film adaptation of the book, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, was released on August 21, 2013. Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower starred as Clary Fray and Jace Wayland, respectively, and the film was directed by Harald Zwart. The film was set to be the first of at least a trilogy; the poor reception, however, led to the cancellation of future plans and the eventual reboot into a TV series.
- The original (now hardbound) cover features Jace Wayland, the skyline of New York City and the graves found in the Silent City. The repackaged (paperback) cover also features Jace (with the model the same as the one on the original City of Lost Souls cover), this time kneeling and reaching for the Mortal Cup's tarot card on the ground, wearing his Morgenstern family ring on one hand and a sword in the other, and the Enkeli rune behind him.
- The Jace on the original cover was, in fact, two people edited and put together as one.
- The title refers to the Silent City, which is sometimes referred to as the City of Bones.
- The book is told from different points of view, namely from Clary and Jace, and briefly in a demon's, Hodge's, and Luke's.
- Cassandra Clare is good friends with the author Holly Black. Both have referenced each other's works in their own books.
- Stepping Razor, a band Clary was listening to in her room, is the name of Ellen Fierch's band in Holly Black's Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale. (chapter 2, Secrets and Lies)
- Val and Luis, characters from Valiant, are seen by Clary during a carriage ride on the way to the Silent City. (chapter 10, City of Bones)
- USA Today Exclusive reveal
- "the new ones do have minor corrections and changes. Also maps and new stuff." - Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- City of Bones has a brand new look, Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Cover questions, Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Limited edition, Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- City of Bones: 10th Anniversary Edition on Amazon
- "Only on City of Bones though. On CoLS and the new CoB, he's a human." - Cassandra Clare on Twitter