When young Clarissa ("Clary") Fray sees three teenagers seemingly commit murder in a nightclub, she is immediately intrigued by them and their strange mannerisms - such as their talk about demons and Downworlders. She later shrugs it off, preferring to live life normally with her overprotective mother Jocelyn and her Geek best friend Simon.That is, until Clary meets Jace again, and she goes home to discover that her apartment's been trashed and her mother's gone missing.When she unknowingly kills the demon that trashed her apartment, Jace brings Clary back to the Institute and she meets the other two teenagers at the nightclub - Isabelle and Alec Lightwood, both beautiful and dangerous. Their tutor Hodge Starkweather explains their world to her - that yes, mythical creatures such as vampires and werewolves do exist, known to them as Downworlders, and that Shadowhunters are a special "breed" of people that act like supernatural detectives, making sure that the Muggles of the world are safe and never find out about the demons that inhabit several dimensions.But things aren't over for Clary just yet. There's a war on the horizon - the Shadowhunters against massive demon forces conjured by the Big Bad of the series, Valentine who just happens to be her father. But other than that, Clary's personal life is not without its own drama - how will she cure her mother? What about her relationship with Simon, which is slowly getting more and more complicated? And what is she to do about the beautiful and elusive Jace, who seems very attracted to her?This (former) urban fantasy trilogy by Cassandra Clare (otherwise known as CassandraClaire) consists of City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass. The fourth book, City of Fallen Angels, was released April 2011, and the fifth, City of Lost Souls, was released May 2012. The sixth (and perhaps final) book, City of Heavenly Fire, has yet to be released. Clare has also published the first two books of a prequel trilogy, The Infernal Devices, entitled Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince, respectively. A sequel series, The Dark Artifices, set five years after the events of The Mortal Instruments, is also planned.A film version is also set for production in 2012, with Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower having been cast as Clary and Jace.This series has a character sheet. Please put all character-related tropes there.
Provides Examples Of:
Adults Are Useless - Every single higher-up is at a Clave meeting. All of them. While Jace's group of inexperienced youths are pursuing the Mortal Instruments, the maniacal Valentine, and attempting to stop The End of the World as We Know It. Anyone who isn't is either insane with power, revenge, or a spy.
The Ageless: Warlocks and vampires do not age after reaching maturity.
Ancestral Weapon: Clary is given her mother's stele in the second book. Subverted since she loses it.
Animorphism - Simon is turned into a rat in the first book, and Magnus can turn into a cat
Anguished Declaration of Love - Clary gets one from Simon and another from Jace, while Jocelyn gets one from Luke in the third book. Magnus's is more of an Irritated Declaration Of Love, when Alec demands to know why he hasn't called him back, resulting in this exchange:
Magnus: You're an idiot.
Alec: Is that why you didn't call me? Because I'm an idiot?
Magnus: You stupid Nephilim. Why else am I here? Why else would I have spent the past few weeks patching up all your moronic friends everytime they got hurt? And getting you out of every ridiculous situation you found yourself in? Not to mention helping you win a battle against Valentine. And all completely free of charge!
Alec: I hadn't looked at it that way.
Magnus: Of course not. You never looked at it in any way. I'm seven hundred years old, Alexander. I know when something isn't going to work. You won't even admit I exist to your parents.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Raphael, being Mexican, tends to interject phrases in Spanish when he speaks. In City of Ashes, he tells Clary that Simon "no es muerto," which is incorrect; it should be "no esta muerto." It seems like a classic Google Translate error rather than it being intentional.
Clare has stated when asked by a fan "What kind of a name is Clary?" that she was named after a friend, who's full name is Clarissa, much like the Clary in the books. The only real similarities seem to be red hair(though Cassie also states that she imagined Clary's a much darker shade) and the first four letters of their names.
Battle Couple - When Alec and Magnus go into the final battle as partners
Also Luke and Clary's Mother.
Also Maryse and Robert Lightwood, though not explicitly given screen time as such.
The Beautiful Elite: All the Nephilim are somehow good-looking (with the possible exception of Hodge and The REAL Sebastian Verlac). The vampires, too.
Big Brother Instinct - Alec takes his job as the oldest Lightwood sibling very seriously. Jace too, despite not being their real brother.
Blackand Grey Morality - The story kind of trips over this. Valentine is supposedly evil because he hates all Downworlders and wants to kill them all, but when you see how the Shadowhunters treat mundanes and Downworlders, you start to wonder how they got to be the designated heroes.
Subverted when it turns out they aren't related after all
Simon makes sure to tease Clary about it, too. "So, Jace isn't your brother, but you HAVE kissed your brother."
Break the Haughty - Gets a glorious example in City Of Ashes, when the Inquisitor learns that her plan to trade Jace to Valentine for the Sword and Cup won't work. It causes her to freak out and have a short bsod before Maryse snaps her out of it.
Captain Obvious Reveal: The series is rather infamous for these, due to its very frequent use of Foreshadowing. The most hated examples were that Valentine was Clary's father and Clary and Jace weren't siblings.
Chekhov's Gun: In the first book, Madame Dorothea's tarot cards: the Ace of Cups was the Mortal Cup.
Combat Stilettos: Isabelle wears heels constantly and fights in them when she needs to. She has even been known to use them as weapons, slashing and impaling targets with her kicks.
Coming Out Story - Alec is outed quite spectacularly towards the end of the third book.
Luke gets Simon a pamphlet called 'How To Come Out to Your Parents' when he becomes a vampire and tells him to adapt it to suit the situation. Neither Simon nor Clary is amused.
Dating What Daddy Hates: All over the place. Isabelle dates anybody but other Shadowhunters. Alec winds up in a gay relationship with a warlock. Jocelyn isn't wild about her daughter dating the boy that Valentine raised. Jocelyn and Luke's relationship has caused them no end of grief over the years. Valentine forced Stephan Herondale to divorce Amatis simply because she was Luke's sister. Aline and Helen's lesbian relationship is controversial for Shadowhunters. Somewhat invoked and somewhat subverted when Maia and Simon date: A werewolf and a vampire dating is controversial but their mutual surrogate father figure, Luke, doesn't care and thinks highly of both of them. Worth noting that while these relationships are all said to be taboo, actual opposition or fallout is very low-key if it's seen at all.
Dawson Casting: The film adaptation is very guilty of this, casting actors in their mid-to-late-twenties as the teenage main characters. Most notorious is 27-year-old Kevin Zegers as 18-year-old Alec. That said, the producer has revealed that although they won't be specifying anyone's exact age in the movie, the characters are supposed to be somewhat older than their book counterparts.
Everybody's Dead, Dave: Isabelle, Alec, and Clary do this in City of Ashes when they realize that all the silent brothers are dead.
Everybody Lives: For the most part. There's an occasional death, but it's almost always a villain, and if not, it's never a major character.
Expy: Brother Zachariah is a quite obvious expy of Brother Jeremiah, although he's shown to be a bit more human. With good reason.
Fantastic Racism - Nobody gives mundanes any respect. One of the more blatant examples was when Simon takes down the Greater Demon in City of Bones. An Amazon.com review notes that the Shadowhunters react in a manner that "suggests Simon's mundane status was a crippling retardation he managed to overcome; apparently mundanes are incapable of dexterity, motor skills, or strategy?" Who was making weapons before the Nephilim were created, again?
Not just mundanes, but Shadowhunters in general tend to look down on Downworlders too, and the vampires and werewolves are constantly at each others necks, and the Faeries are equal-opprotunity misanthropes.
The elitism of the Shadowhunters is often Lampshaded by outsiders, notably Clary and Simon, as well as Downworlders.
Foreshadowing: The Lightwoods have a history of marital troubles. Isabelle is noted as wishing she had her parents' blue eyes instead of her own dark ones. Blue eyes are a recessive genetic trait, it's impossible for two blue-eyed parents to have a child that's not blue-eyed.
Forgotten Phlebotinum: The Alliance Rune. After City of Glass it's never used again, even when Shadowhunters and Downworlders are going into battle right next to each other.
Fur Against Fang: The vampires and werewolves do not get on well; this is because the two demon species which originally infected humans, giving rise to the vampires and werewolves, were rivaling species who hated one another.
Idiot Ball - At the end of City Of Glass, Clary decides to wish Jace back to life. Which is great except she seems to have forgotten about all the other shadowhunters that died. Real considerate there Clary.
Though considering what happens it causes Jonathan to come back to life and create an anti-nephilium group, this might not be a bad thing
Arguably, Simon's little incident with the vampires in City of Ashes counts.
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All of the books in the series are called "City of X". The titular City of Bones is the Silent City, while the titular City of Glass is Alicante.
Naginatas Are Feminine - In City of Ashes Isabelle walks in with her trademark whip and a naginata. When Alec asks if the naginata is for him, she tells him to get his own weapon, promptly giving it to their mother.
Not Good With Rejection - Really, it gets to the point where should-be True Companions are abandoning each other to vampires and demons for slights like "I can't believe you like her/him more than me!" and "It wasn't my fault!" Kind of sends the underlying message that this is all teens are capable of.
Old Shame - You know, it might be easier for Cassandra Clare to erase all memories of that NC-17 Ron/GinnyIncest Fic if she didn't go and give her published series the exact same name.
And boy, does it ever show on the Amazon reviews.
It would likewise have been easier for her to ditch the whole plagiarism debacle attached to the Draco Trilogy if she'd either used her real name or else gone with a different pseudonym. She's one of the few writers who had a pre-built Hatedom and Fan Wank before she even got published.
But she also had a built-in fandom and she got her book deal because of her fandom fame, so it's a bit of a double-edged sword. The fact that so many characters are Expys from her best-known work, not to mention the copy/paste of scenes from the same into this series, would make it a little hard for her to get away with pretending to be someone else anyway.
Best of all, two extra characters have a debate on which fictional gay wizard would win in a fair fight, Dumbledore, or Magnus. ** A reference to Hellsing is made when Clary thinks about how a church looks like "one of her favorite anime scenes involving a vampire priest".
Happens often with animanga, given that Simon is characterized as a typical Geek. At one point Clary asks him if he wants to spend the evening with her watching Trigun.
Simon is described in the fourth book as wearing Jeph Jacques's "Clearly I Have Made Some Bad Decisions" shirt, and Cassandra Clare also mentions his in-universe series "Magical Love Gentlemen".
Shut Up, Hannibal!: In the third book, Valentine avoids this by using a magic rune to keep a character quiet so he can monologue without interruption. The character eventually gives a rebuttal by writing in the dirt.
Summoning Ritual: The titular Mortal Instruments are required to summon the angel Raziel, a ritual that can only be done once every millennium. Once they have all three, Raziel will come to them and will grant any single wish the summoner wants.
Too Dumb to Live – Simon. YMMV. Though, breaking into a hotel of murderous vampires that have expressed that they wouldn't mind having an excuse to turn you into hamburger meat isn't such a good idea. Especially if you go alone. And do it at night.
Sure the vampire blood was summoning him back to Raphael and he would have given in and sought them out sooner or later but if he had only asked Luke, he would have known to wait a few more days and the blood would have gone out of his system as well as the compulsion it had on him to return to Raphael.
Transparent Closet: In City of Glass, everyone seems to know that Alec is gay before he tells them.
Trilogy Creep: First, there was the original trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass). Then, it was announced that Clare was writing a steampunk prequel trilogy set in Victorian London (The Clockwork Angel, The Clockwork Prince, and The Clockwork Princess). Then, a fourth book centered around the Simon character of the first trilogy was revealed to be in the works (City of Fallen Angels). Then Clare decided to add two more books to the Mortal Instruments story (City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire) while also stating that this new trilogy of MI books would no longer focus solely on Simon but rather on the entire cast. This series of somewhat obscure YA fantasy books literally tripled in size.