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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass Paperback – October 19, 2010
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"The Mortal Instruments series is a story world I love to live in. Beautiful". (Stephenie Meyer, author of Twilight)" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Cassandra Clare is the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Lord of Shadows and Lady Midnight, as well as the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy. She is the coauthor of The Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman, as well as The Shadowhunter’s Codex, which she cowrote with her husband, Joshua Lewis. Her books have more than 50 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages, a feature film, and a TV show, Shadowhunters, currently airing on Freeform. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at CassandraClare.com. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.
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Now onto the books themselves, which I enjoyed even if I felt that they did have a few problems.
The first book, City of Bones, was definitely the weakest of the three. The plot revolves around a teenage girl named Clary Fray, who begins to see a world she never knew existed. After a series of events, she meets with the mysterious Shadowhunters, who are a group of demon hunters. Together, they try to figure out what is going on with Clary and why she can suddenly see their world.
The main problem I had with this book was that it was nothing I hadn't read before. A lot of the plot elements and big reveals are things that the reader has likely seen in other books, movies or TV shows. My other big problem with this book was the pacing of the story. I felt like this book could have shed about a hundred pages and would have been better for it. It took a long time for the book to get interesting for me.
The saving grace of this book was the characters and their interactions. Sometimes it did come off as the author trying too hard to be funny, but for the most part the conversations between the characters were pretty amusing. The characters themselves were all pretty well fleshed out. Magnus Bane was by far my favorite character and I wish there had been more of him in this book. Overall, I'd give this first book three stars. It was a decent introduction, but it did have its problems.
The second book was a lot better and my personal favorite of the three. With the introductions of the world and the characters out of the way, more attention could be given to the story and pacing. The problems with the pacing were fixed in this second book and the story felt much more focused, while being far less cliched. Without giving too much away, Clary is trying to adjust to her new life given the revelations of the last book, while attempting to return to a semblance of normalcy. When a few mysterious murders happen and her fellow Shadowhunter is thrown in jail, Clary begins to realize that returning to normal may not be as easy as she thought.
Easily the best part of this book was the character interactions. Most of the characters had more of a chance to breathe in this book and this leads to some very enjoyable conversations. The growing relationships between Magnus, Alec, Clary, Jace and Simon lead to some great funny scenes, along with a few very dramatic ones. Jace's problems in this book and the way that he deals with it seem realistic, making the reader feel some real sympathy for him (apart from the beginning). Overall, this book was a big step up from the first one that I couldn't put down. I'd give this book five stars easily.
The final book in the trilogy is the City of Glass, which I felt was better than the first book, was not as good as the second book. The story revolves around the Shadownhunters heading from New York to Idris, the Shadowhunter city, to prepare for the final showdown with their common enemy. Clary, not a trained Shadowhunter, wishes to go to Idris to seek help for one of her loved ones, but ends up being left behind due to circumstances beyond her control. The rest of the book revolves around Clary's journey to Idris and her role in what could be the final battle for the Shadowhunters.
There are some things I really like about this book. The pacing, aside from the ending, was pretty good and the story had a good mix of action and drama. The relationship issues that carried through the three books are solved in a satisfactory manner and characters like Simon, who previously annoyed me, began to grow on me by the book's end. Magnus and Alec's interactions in the book were by far some of the most entertaining parts to read.
On the downside, the book's climax and conclusion were really cliched. I went back to feeling like I had read this story before in several different books, such as Harry Potter. The pacing of the epilogue was really slow for me since it had a lot of set up in it for the next book. I knew what was going to happen in the epilogue and I found myself skimming a lot of pages towards the end as it took its sweet time to get there. My other problem involved the actions of the main character Clary, who I thought did some pretty selfish things in the book. Thankfully, the other characters called her out on it, but it still irked me sometimes.
Overall, the book was pretty exciting and well paced, up until the end where the pacing and story telling went down a notch. I'd give this book four stars.
I definitely enjoyed the trilogy more than I thought I would at first. After I got past the first book, I was very interested in the characters and the story. I would recommend sticking with it if you're having trouble getting past the first book. The second book and the vast majority of the third is worth it.
BTW, every time she writes "[so and so] threw up [his/her] hands..." I picture the character vomiting up a pair of hands. Every. Single. Time. It's time to drop that turn of phrase. Ugh.
The Mortal Instruments is a VERY well written "YA" urban fantasy/romance. As an adult reader (I am 33) I was surprised by how well written it was. I felt like it was one of those rare finds (like Harry Potter or Twilight) that can easily appeal to teens and adults alike. It has complex characters you can fall in love with, a fast-paced and action packed storyline that progresses naturally without feeling rushed, and a vivid world that comes alive in your mind as you read. What you will NOT find in this series is graphic adult themes such as descriptive sex and dark or disturbing types of violence. There will be blood, fighting, dying, "implied" sex (in later books) and underage drinking, and the descriptive romance doesn't make it past second base.
I am looking forward to reading more from this author and would recommend it highly to older teens and adults who enjoy engaging, well written YA fantasy/romance books that play on a literary level which surpasses what you may typically expect from the genre.
While one story is set in rural Minnesota and the other in NYC, the characters are quite similar:
Clary and Wendy both were ignorant of their heritage and destiny, and not very likable characters to begin with
Jace and Finn are the forbidden love
Isabella and Willa are the girly girl friend who help them acclimate
Alex and Tove are both gay
There are hobgoblins and warlocks out to get them
Given the similarities in the stories, I liked Trylle for the faster pace. I'll try to finish the other two books and see if there are dramatic differences between the series