I guess it’s time to admit I read The Mortal Instruments
I have read all six books in The Mortal Instruments series.
I have read ALL SIX BOOKS in The Mortal Instruments series and not only did I do it willingly, I didn’t totally hate the experience.
The Mortal Instruments is a Young Adult series by Cassandra Clare that was apparently once Harry Potter fanfiction that has now been repurposed to be published and sold as original fiction. I mean, if we’re comparing it to reused fanfiction, this stuff is leaps and bounds above Fifty Shades of Grey. I tried to read that, for the record, not because I felt like it would be interesting, but I like knowing the things I mock. It lends my mockery a sense of credibility. Yeah, I can make fun of Fifty Shades of Grey because I went through the pain of reading that garbage.
I mean, I didn’t actually go through the pain in the end. I only got halfway through the first book before I had to put it down, but whatever, I feel like that gives me enough room to mock mercilessly. So, yeah, if we’re comparing to other used fanfiction, The Mortal Instruments is a work of art.
The truth is, I don’t even care that it’s reused fanfiction. If that’s the case, than hey, good on Cassandra Clare. She took something she did for fun and turned it into buckets of money. I didn’t even read them for mockery purposes, really. I watched the movie because Aidan Turner’s beautiful face is in it for thirteen minutes (yeah, it’s possible someone counted) and it was just… it was pretty terrible. But the thing is, I kind of fell in love with the character he played and I wanted more of him, so I willingly picked up the books.
For awhile I took notes. I had to give up on it eventually because I was taking notes on EVERYTHING, but for about half of the first book I managed it.
So we’re introduced to Clary Fray and her best friend Simon, who’s actually one of the few characters who doesn’t spend the series being so infuriating that I want to put out my own eyes. We’re also introduced to the Shadowhunters, who are, as far as the first scene goes, teenaged assholes who are super arrogant and think they’re really special, but maybe that’s due to the fact that they’re invisible. I mean, who needs to be polite when no one can see you, right?
And we’re introduced to Jace, Clary’s love interest. What the hell, Clary? How is this dude your dream guy? He’s such a serious dick. He launches right into talk of demons and fairy folk and then gets pissy when she doesn’t understand. DUDE, YOU’RE BEING SUPER FUCKING VAGUE. How is anyone who is a “mundane” (btw, kind of offensive, Jace, don’t you think?) supposed to just hear about demons and be like, ‘oh, yeah, that’s not at all alarming or out of the ordinary’.
Then, on page 33, Clary says, “You think you’re better than us. That’s why you’re laughing at it.” THAT’S IT, GUYS. THAT’S THE SERIES. THERE DOESN’T NEED TO BE ANY OTHER BOOKS AFTER THIS. But seriously, she called Jace on his shit after having known him for about ten seconds and she still falls in love with him? I don’t understand.
(Side note: I just realized Jace is Dennis Reynolds. Why do I hate him so much and love Dennis? Is it the sociopathic tendencies that make Dennis loveable?)
Within ten seconds Clary is also thinking about showing Jace her naked chest. Or about how weird it would be to show it to him? Or something along those lines, but either way, SHE’S FIFTEEN AND HE’S A DOUCHE. I don’t get the whole bad boy thing, to be totally honest. Is that really appealing to teenagers? I realize I’m a thirty-year-old married woman reading a Young Adult series, but… REALLY?
Not that Clary is much better most of the time. “Clary found this hard to believe, though perhaps no more hard to believe than the existence of zombies.” What does this sentence even mean? That she DOES believe in the existence of zombies? It’s such an awkward sentence that really doesn’t make a lot of sense, but what was I expecting out of a book that uses the words ‘dull’ and ‘gleaming’ to describe the same thing.
I’m taking most of this from the notes I took and apparently I really hated the first book. I don’t remember hating the rest of the series quite this much, but I think maybe I’ve just blocked out all the Jace and Clary stuff. To be perfectly honest, I enjoyed a lot of the supporting characters. Luke Garroway is a perfect human (werewolf, whatever), and Magnus Bane is adorable. I loved Simon and Isabelle, but Jace and Clary? UGH. Anyone else as your central romance. ANYONE.
This is unrelated to the review, but just look at this man:
I have notes here as being irritated about the girl on girl hate early on in the first book and I stand by that. There are ways to make Isabelle tough and badass without having to make her confused about how to interact with women or being jealous or hating all the other women she meets. It definitely improves and at least we’re given a reason for it later on, but it still made me roll my eyes. Can we maybe not go out of our way to teach young girls that the only worthwhile thing they can do is get noticed by men and the only way to do that is to shit on other women?
This is where my notes end, but a lot of the stuff I complained about at first improved. The best books in the series, by far, are the ones that didn’t focus quite so heavily on Jace and Clary at the same time. Some things didn’t improve, like the fact that Jace’s hair/eyes/skin are described as gold about seventy million times in one book. If I hated myself just a little more, I would go through and reread and count how many times that descriptor is used, but I just can’t do it. I mean, okay, we get it, he’s the golden god of The Mortal Instruments world, we don’t need to be reminded of it every six lines.
I have to say again, I didn’t hate everything. The world is really cool. The plot is pretty sprawling. There are a lot of wonderful characters that populate this series. I’m definitely not saying it’s a complete waste of time. I had fun reading it and I know only part of that fun came from making fun of it. Magnus Bane is a goddamn delight and anyone who says otherwise is wrong. The man (warlock, whatever) has named his cat Chairman Meow and has some of the best lines in the book. Plus, he and Alec are super cute when Alec isn’t being a total child.
I would read a book about Luke Garroway’s past, for the record. I would read a thousand books about Luke. By far the most interesting character in the book, as far as I’m concerned, but I really would have loved to know more about him. Like what in the world possibly kept him totally in love with the same woman who wouldn’t give him the time of day for decades. My only problem with Luke, as with all characters, lies in his exceptionally un-adult behaviour. I know not everyone makes good decisions all the time and I realize that a YA book is going to be populated by mostly young characters, but I think my problems lie in the moments the adults act like children. Everyone is blinded by something in this series and, spoiler alert, most of the time it’s sex. Or love, apparently, but I’m pretty sure almost all the characters in this book confuse love with sex except for Luke and Magnus. (Also am I to believe that a man like Luke has really been celibate for fifteen years while he waits for Jocelyn? That poor werewolf. I could write essays on why the Luke/Jocelyn dynamic is seriously messed up and MAYBE I WILL. Just not today.)
They’re teenagers, they want to bone, I get it, but COME ON. You don’t love every single person you suddenly want to get naked with. Unless you live in this world, I guess.
I should stop being such a jerk, because I did have fun. I think there was a lot of potential for a really excellent series that could have been improved by writing a little less focused on Jace and Clary. Their romance was just incredibly contrived and kind of exhausting and I think a lot of the time spent on them could have been better spent elsewhere. Also maybe less time spent on incest/not-incest/oh, actually, incest. That would have been a good thing. It was just a wee bit excessive and it got kind of weird after awhile.
Overall? It’s fun. If you don’t want to engage your brain too hard and can overlook the serious immaturity of the two idiotic main characters, it’s a lot of fun. I’d say it’s definitely worth a read for Luke and Magnus alone, but I loved Simon and Isabelle, too. A lot of the other minor characters were pretty forgettable, but I don’t regret the time spent reading this series.
I just regret that there was so much emphasis placed on Jace.