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I wanted to like these books. I really did.
The problem was, I got about a quarter of the way into the first book and I was already bored. I made it to about the fifth book before I finally gave up.
What makes these books so bad, you ask? Well, I basically agree with everyone who dislikes these books: the characters are boring and underdeveloped, the story was way too focused on romance, and the writing alone was enough to make me lose interest in the plot.
So in conclusion, it's probably safe to say that these books are not for everyone. I came into this series expecting epic, kick-ass fantasy novels, but what I got was an angsty teenage love triangle that sounded like it was written by a thirteen-year-old emo girl. So thank you for your time and have a nice day.
This series is packed with unforgettable characters. What makes this series great is that they are flawed and not perfect little YA cookie-cutter protagonists that saturate the landscape today. Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Alec, and Magnus make bad decisions sometimes, because that's what real non-perfect humans do, they get hurt, they bleed, they grieve, and then they get back up and continue to kick unbelievable amounts of ass. I don't know why people keep comparing this series to twilight because they are absolutely NOTHING alike. I guarantee you will not See the big reveal coming. Interspersed within the books are references to the works of Dante, Virgil, homer, Shakespeare and many other classics, leading me to believe the author Cassandra Clare was extraordinarily well read by the time she wrote this series, and it shows. Although the protagonists can sometimes come off as impulsive, cocky arrogant, rude, or otherwise unlikable, please take into consideration the fact that they are teenagers tasked with circumnavigating the beaurocrocy of their unbelievably hidebound elders who refuse to take them seriously while also protecting the world from Eldrich abominations. This would make anyone a little snarky from time to time.
It’s Fantasy Kitchen Sink at its absolute worst, and I think I might hate Clary Fray even more than I hate Bella Swan. Bella’s whiny, but Clary is so stupid I don’t know how she managed to reach fifteen, and an even more blatant Mary Sue than Bella. She’s an outright bitch to her "best friend", Simon, who was the only character I didn’t wish would drop dead; she slut-shames, fat-shames, and thinks that ugly people wouldn’t want to live forever, because ugly. She hates Isabelle, the only other female in the main cast, for being pretty. (But of course Clary’s Suetiful All Along herself!)
Our Heroine, ladies and gentlemen. Yeah, die in a fire, you little brat.
And then there’s Jace Wayland, our supposed Hero. Isabelle, who’s more cipher than character, tells Clary that “his rudeness is what makes him sexy”. I’m just going to leave that there, and let it speak for itself. We’re told, over and over, that he’s “charming”, but he’s certainly never shown to be. What we actually see is a condescending bigot with a superiority complex a mile wide, whom we're supposed to like...because he's attractive? I don't know. I do know that constantly being told he's charming did not make me think he was anything other than an obnoxious little bastard.
That’s one of this book's biggest problems: lots of telling, and little showing. Information is doled out through chunks of exposition, delivered in dialogue I’m sure is meant to be witty, but is at its best cheap Joss Whedon leftovers. The worst, and what makes the book unreadable, are sheer number of bizarre similes and metaphors that are crammed in three to a page. We have “bending as easily as a blade of grass bending sideways” (ow); a character sitting with “a bird’s bright-eyed stillness” (um, what?), and another’s face “shines with the light of his own personal miracle” (again, what?)
The book. Is. Riddled with this garbage. And it’s beyond lazy writing; it takes Viewers Are Goldfish to a laughable extreme, sometimes repeating information already given in the same chapter.
The climax is anticlimactic, the villain is a joke, and the characters are flat, each granted one, maybe two personality traits. Their dialogue is interchangeable to the point that, without dialogue tags (and hello there, Said Bookisms), it can be hard to keep track of who’s talking. The “twist” is obvious a quarter of the way in, and the fact that it takes the characters so long to get there just makes them look completely stupid. 0/10, do not recommend.
Alright, so I'll get the obvious out of the way first: yes, this is very similar to Harry Potter. I consider it sort of a homage, for the simple reason that Infernal Devices isn't similar to Harry Potter (or anything else) at all, but I'm not the biggest Harry Potter fan - if you're a fan of it, you're likely to feel like this series is treading old ground. But I don't. There are definitely some elements similar to Harry Potter, but again, I think it's an intentional homage. And it feels like an injustice to dwell on that, because this is a shockingly enjoyable series that, while it won't appeal to everyone, most definitely appeals to me.
Basically, the series is definitely flawed, and it's not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. And maybe you will, too, if you're the type of person that would enjoy it.
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare is a series that focuses on a group of humans called Shadowhunters, defenders of humanity from demons thanks to the angel blood they have. Such is the premise of the series, and for the most part, it works. The setting gives way to fantastic storytelling and a great plot. However, there are two problems that reveal Clare's past as a Harry Potter Fanfic writer and works against the series.
The first is that the characters, who are mostly expies of characters from the Draco Trilogy, are supposed to be saviors of the human race, but don't seem to care about them in any way. Simon, a normal human, is mostly ignored by everyone (including his Shadowhunter best friend and female Lead) until he becomes a vampire, and there's tons of Fantastic Racism towards both humans and Downworlders (magical creatures). The narration never even bothers to call them out, except when it's convenient to create drama between Clary and Love Interest Jace, or to hypocritically call out the villain, Valentine.
The second problem is the world-building that, while interesting, makes no sense. Shadowhunters are supposed to live among us. They are not Harry Potter characters, and as such have to interact with Muggles (or "Mundanes") and their technology (they sometimes take the subway to move around), yet they have no idea of things like the Internet or TV shows, just because Clare obviously liked introducing the characters to those concepts and seeing them react humorously, even if, as I said, it makes no sense storywise. As a side-note, I also fail to see why the (in-story) world finds Jace attractive beyond shallow appearance, since the narration constantly puts him in a negative light, being quite the Jerkass to everyone but Clary (including, I should note, his adopted siblings).
Bottom line, I think the series has some very interesting concepts, and the story and humor is good, but the two problems mentioned above prevent it from actually being great books. They can be entertaining, however, and some twists and turns were very well thought out. I wouldn't recommend it, but see nothing particularly bad about the story or style (except for some descriptions where the prose turns very purple).
I only had to crack about five pages of this thing before its snark started bleeding out of the words and staining my hands.
When I first saw this book, with its cover picture of a sexy man-torso, green sparkles, and a random city, I rolled my eyes and thought that it was gonna be some generic YA novel with either the typical fiery, plucky heroine/the plain Average Jane, snarky bad-boy love interest, pretty Alpha Bitch, and uber-vampie powahz.
I was right, to some degree- but the actual thing proved to be better.
For one, there's Action Girls. Even Clary, who's a normal girl at first, manages to share in the action- in a VERY BELIEVABLE WAY. That made me smile. Oh, and Isabelle? By jove, don't get me started on her- HER WHIP PWNS.
At first, my hate started piling up when I saw Clary get a case of the Green Eyed monster at Simon and Isabelle getting some Ship Tease. I mean, really? Clary, you were ignoring the poor boy in favor of that hottie who you saw murder someone the night before- AND YOU STILL HAVE THE GALL TO BITCH OVER ISABELLE AND SIMON'S BUDDING ROMANCE?!
Back to Isabelle: I'm so glad that she's an Alpha Bitch with Hidden depths, thus making her a Defrosting Ice Queen. If there wasn't any more characterization for her, I would've chucked the book into the nearest fireplace
Characters are cool. Clary disappointed a bit by being a bit bland, but bit by bit, as she developed, she grew on me- although she was annoying at times, with her mindset of BISHIE = DESERVES MY ATTENTION AT ALL TIMES. And Jace was a great send-up of the Charmer/Playboy archetype. Simon, however, was a greater highlight, with his hopeless crush on Clary, adorkable-ness, and his tendency to not be too much of a stereotypical loser. Alec and Magnus were cool, didn't catch too much of my interest (after all, CC IS a former fanfic writer; who'd be too surprised at the Ho Yay?), while Luke's premise was intriguing.
The plot was good. It didn't drag on, nor was it too fast. Just the right pacing. Not too much to talk or complain about.
The worldbuilding was okay. The Shadowhunter > Shadowlanders thing got my attention. That's a really promising aspect of this whole series. It can delve into moral issues, along with the differences between an ordinary human and a Shadowhunter.
I recommend this to anyone with a taste for snark pie.
"City of Glass" was quite the satisfying end to The Mortal Instruments "trilogy." - tied up loose plot ends nicely and ended with a nice Nakama shot. That said, I was excited for this installment. However, I must say it did not live up to my expectations (granted, they were quite high) for a number of reasons.
One. Characterization. Jace and Clary were painfully out of character and bland. Gone were their witty Snark To Snark Combat and well-rounded personalities, replaced by Clary whining "WHY ISN'T HE RETURNING MY CALLS" and Jace going "I AM A MONSTER." I had thought the angsting-over-your-not-really-dad-Valentine was done by the last book. His endearing arrogance was gone and he was replaced by this Bad Dreams-plagued, distant stranger. You know what I mean.And Alec being all Crazy Jealous Guy on Magnus felt kind of silly and forced. You'd think he'd know how long Magnus had lived, being the "bookish" sibling, and why was he so surprised as to Magnus's string of ex-lovers?
Two. The Wangst. Why can't Jace and Clary have a nice, happy relationship that does not have demonic mothers and dead brothers tied into it? I know it was to move the plot, but it was annoying and tiring by the sixth chapter.
Three. The way the plot played out. To be fair, the twist at the end is meant to set up the next book but it still came off as rather forced and kind of weird. The style lacked none of the driving force behind the first three books and the prequel. And the Seelie Queen appearing out of nowhere just felt kind of...out of place.
There were enjoyable things, though. The scenes with Isabelle were surprisingly enjoyable, and I liked how Jordan was brought in via Chekhov MIA. Simon's journey with accepting the Mark of Cain is interesting (I had previously found him to be quite dull as a character until this book), and Maureen seems to be shaping up to be quite the intriguing character, given how little screentime she seems to have given. Luke and Jocelyn's Sickeningly Sweethearts interaction was cute as well, but even all of these pros weren't enough to make up for the cons.
All in all, it wasn't up to par with the previous books at all. I'll keep reading, but if only to see if the fifth and six books live up to the expectations set by the first three.
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