The Mortal Instrument Series is a six book series; “City of Bones,” “City of Ashes,” “City of Glass,” “City of Fallen Angels” and “City of Lost Souls.” “City of Heavenly Fire” is due out May, 2014.
Reviewed by Christine Y. Porter, photographer and Sr. program manager in Northern VA.
Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrument Series: Same Ingredients, Better Cooking Techniques.
Cassandra Clare has not reinvented the recipe for enthralling fans of ‘tween novels. Cassandra Clare has merely assembled it into a more appealing presentation.
‘Tween novels can be equated into a cake recipe: flour, eggs, water and oil have been replaced by a brooding, handsome, and misunderstood male, an underestimated female who comes into her own and who is adored by all, a love triangle, a bad guy contriving to ruin the world, and the usual entourage of quirky yet charismatic characters. It’s not a new recipe by any means; Jane Austin cornered the market on this recipe a long time ago. So why do we keep coming back for more of the same? Because cake is delicious my friends and if it’s butter frosting…even better! That is exactly what Cassandra Clare gives you with the Mortal Instruments series…better frosting!
The first book in the series, City of Bones, sets the scene for the next five books to follow. Yes, I said five more books and a sixth one in the making. However, these are not long books, and you can easily devour one over a rainy weekend.
The heroin Clary Fray, is not immediately likable, and is a cliché in every way imaginable. Jace Wayland, our hero, is indecently good looking, sarcastic, precious and bitter for one so young and also incredibly cliché. We instantly love him. Both Jace and Clary run impulsively into danger, make irrational decisions that fly in the face of all logic, and of course look fabulous while getting the snot kicked out of them by demons; but who doesn’t look amazing and smell great after gutting a demon? I don’t want to be a spoiler here, but where there are demons there MUST BE ANGELS! And fairies. And werewolves. And of course…vampires, duh! I know what you are thinking. “Please tell me this isn’t the “frosting” you spoke of earlier!?” No, this is another part of the modern day cake recipe that replaced butter with cooking oil. Mmmm, moister cake.
The frosting is in the way that Cassandra Clare actually manages to put together a compelling history and back-story to her angels and demons. Clare manages to weave a storyline that is enhanced with family histories that hint of their own intrigue and mysteries. Be warned though, she’s merely setting you up for her prequel series, “The Infernal Devices.” For a dash of garnish she adds biblical references and quotes from Dante’s “Inferno.”
Most importantly she manages to contrive a plot that keeps you intrigued. I’ll admit, it does become a tad predictable at certain points, but she does manage to hook you once or twice along the way. The frosting is created in the way she builds the sexual and romantic tension between Bella and Edward…ur, I mean Clary and Jace, without making you cringe from a saccharin sweet Twilight-y after taste. The frosting is in the fact that Cassandra Clare is a descriptive writer who understands her characters and what motivates them and makes them relatable to readers. Clare manages to get you to care if there will be a happy ending. She manages to pique your interest enough to read the next book.
City of Bones, was recently made into a movie and released in the U.K. Naturally, I found a review by U.K. movie critic who disdained the movie from start to finish; mostly for all the same reasons I list above as being a part of the cake recipe. I for one though will be one of the first in line to watch it come August. I love to eat frosting straight from the container.