I am so late to getting around to Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, even though my sister has been trying to get me to read them for over a year. I started reading City of Bones yesterday morning, and now I’m halfway through the third book, City of Glass (there are five written so far, with the sixth and final book due out in early 2014). Now that I’ve started to read Clare’s books, I sort of can’t stop, and catching up on them now is in perfect timing for the movie release in August.
Fifteen-year-old Clarissa “Clary” Fray lives in New York City with her mother, and she has plenty of freedom to explore the city with her best friend Simon when they’re not at school. On the night that they venture to the club Pandemonium, Clary witnesses an attempted murder that only she can see, as three individuals carrying otherworldly weapons go after a blue-haired boy. Clary leaves the club completely unsettled, especially since Simon didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.
From there, Clary begins to see a world she didn’t know existed, one populated by demons and vampires, werewolves and faeries, and the Shadowhunters who keep the order between them all. Clary is herself a Shadowhunter, however, she has been raised without knowledge of her abilities, or of her own mother’s participation in the Shadowhunter society that she eventually left behind.
When her mother disappears, Clary is brought into the fold by three unlikely individuals: teenage Jace and his foster siblings, Alec and Isabelle. And Simon, her hilarious best friend, is dragged into this world right along with her.
Like all great YA fantasy series, the world expands as the series progresses, slowly introducing new characters and new places, while also expanding on those characters and places that have been integral to the story since the beginning. I love how two relationships in particular grow and develop – that between Clary and Simon and then between Clary and Jace – and go to some pretty unexpected places. But Clary’s relationships work so well (and seem so believable) because she is herself an incredibly strong character who knows herself, even when she is uncertain about the new world she’s been thrown into. In the same way that Katniss is so sure of her decisions in The Hunger Games (even if they don’t always seem like the best decisions), Clary knows her own mind and who she is in a changing environment.
I can’t believe I’m just getting to this series now, but I’m definitely making up for lost time!