Next up: “City of Bones”, “City of Ashes”, “City of Glass”, “City of Fallen Angels”, “City of Lost Souls”, and “City of Heavenly Fire” by Cassandra Clare.
The first three books were our introduction into Clare’s Shadowhunter ‘verse; after those three, Clare began publishing a ‘prequel’ trilogy (The Infernal Devices, which will also be reviewed). The release of the prequel trilogy books was staggered with the release of the second half of The Mortal Instrument series books. Companion books have also been published, and the sequel series The Dark Artifices is also slated for release (the first book, “Lady Midnight” in March 2016).
Clary Fray is seeing things, strange things, from the corner of her eyes. But she hardly expects that what she’s really seeing is the truth, a shadowy other world that had been under her nose her whole life. After witnessing a group of teenagers with strange marks tattooing their bodies kill a boy in the Pandemonium Club, she’s pulled into the shadows herself, learning the truth: Demons and angels, vampires and werewolves, fairies… they’re all real. And there are humans, Shadowhunters, who protect the mundane world from those that would bring harm.
When she is attacked by a demon and her mother disappears, Clary finds that the world of the Shadowhunters has been closer to her life than she ever suspected. Jace, Isabelle, and Alek– the teens from Pandemonium– can help her find her mother… and help her learn about her Shadowhunter blood.
More of my favorite: urban fantasy! These books are chock-full of action, mystery, horror, and no small amount of drama. While the books’ base plots are simple, there is a lot of complexity that comes in through the characters, their histories, and their ambitions. Also, hurrah for some representation– there are a number of minority characters and sexually diverse characters.
Clare is not afraid to make her characters suffer, which is a good thing, really. If you’re going to put your characters into a war and you want the story to have real weight, you have to be okay killing people off or hurting them. If they skate through without a scratch, where’s the meaning? Make the danger real, make the sacrifice real. This series delivers in that.
I suppose my biggest complaint is the ‘love triangle’ trope with which the YA genre is overrun. It is such a cliche by now that it’s tiresome. At least The Mortal Instruments injects some unique tension into its version of this. What’s a little bit of lying and psychological warfare between family members, eh?
Within the second trilogy, we do see a little bit of a decay in consistency. Some things that were established previously seem suddenly forgotten or changed. It’s not immediately noticeable if you read the books spaced out, but reading through the series one after the other makes a few of this type of mistake stick out. It’s a little frustrating.
Over all, this is a very entertaining series introducing readers into a very fun ‘verse with a lot of promise for more adventures.
Little bit of incest squick– nothing much, just kissing.