First, you should know that the majority of books I end up reading either are films already or going to be made into films. I like things that translate to films, plus it tells me that there is a large enough audience behind it that it’s probably a good book. The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Chronicles of Narnia, anything by Jane Austen, The Golden Compass (the movie floundered at best), and plenty more; lots of good books. Not always, I’d like to point out. In any case, my reading habits are largely influenced by the book-to-film sort of thing.
I finally finished the third book in The Mortal Instruments series. And by finally I mean I’ve had it for 2 weeks, versus the two days it took me to devour the first two books. Originally, Cassandra Clare wrote the first three books to be a trilogy, and to never go beyond that. However, she wrote two more and is in the process of writing the sixth, making it sort of a secondary trilogy. I’ve heard those focus more on Simon, to some extent.
I thought I’d throw in my voice amongst the din of voices talking about these books. Widely popular, and I have seen why; Cassandra Clare has a way of spinning intricate tales directed towards a young adult audience.
So let’s sum things up really fast.
City of Bones: Clary sees what she thinks is a murder, but no one else can see it. One of the “killers” starts following her, but she doesn’t freak until her mom is kidnapped and when she returns home is attacked by a demon sent by the mysterious villain, Valentine. She ends up killing it, and Jace, one of the “killers” takes her with him to the Institute. Turns out Clary is a Nephilim who was raised as a mundane and had blocks put on her brain to make her forget what shadow world things she saw. Enter Magnus Bane, the warlock. He sort of fixes her. Sort of. And Clary’s best friend, Simon, gets turned into a rat and taken by vampires. She and Jace go to save him, and werewolves appear. Awesome getaway later, and the whole gang (including Alec and Isabelle) are after the Mortal Cup. Turns out Clary and Jace really like each other. Clary figures out where it is and goes to get it, along with Alec, Simon, Isabelle, and Jace. A greater demon (super powerful) attacks them and Simon swoops in to save the day. Hodge (the kids’ tutor) turns out to be in league with Valentine and hands over the Cup and Jace after snatching it from Clary when they arrive back t the institute, whilst Magnus is healing Alec. Clary and Luke (sort of like her dad. Also a werewolf) go after Valentine because he also has Jocelyn (Clary’s mom). Luke tells Clary that Jocelyn was once married to Valentine, and fled the shadow world to get away from everything that had happened and protect Clary from it. Clary’s mom is in a coma, and it turns out that not only is Clary the child of Valentine and Jocelyn, so is Jace, and Jace was raised by Valentine in Idris. Hurl. Valentine escapes after Jace is unable/unwilling to kill him.
City of Ashes: Clary and Jace are like wtf do we do now cause we still like each other. But Clary and Simon start dating. The Inquisitor shows up and imprisons Jace in the City of Bones with the Silent Brothers. The omg Valentine comes with this demon of fear he summoned and kills all the brothers and steals the Mortal Sword. Alec, Isabelle, and Clary rush in to save Jace, but Valentine is already gone. The Inquisitor thinks Jace is in league with daddy dearest Valentine. Alec, Simon, Jace, Isabelle, and Clary go to see the Faerie Queen, and she makes Jace and Clary kiss. Simon gets upset and leaves, only to be brought back by the creepster vampire Raphael on the brink of death. He’s turned. Ooops. The Inquisitor imprisons Jace after he visits Valentine and finds out his plans, but refuses to join him. Jace escapes because he’s basically Superman, and they all go after Valentine again. The rest of the Clave in NYC comes and helps in the battle on this massive boat, as well as Luke (who has played a big role in the book, actually). Demons everywhere. Valentine is turning the Mortal Sword evil so he can summon and control demons. The Inquisitor dies, Simon is drained for the sword turning thing(but he’s not dead dead. Just undead.). Jace finds him and lets him drink his blood, defeats the fear demon, and then Clary (who can create runes–no one else can), creates a rune on the inside of the ship, with Valentine watching, that tears the whole ship apart into pieces, thus ending the battle. And as the sun rises, turns out that Simon can now be in daylight. No other vampire can. A shadowhunter tells Clary that she knows how to wake up her mom, who is under a self-inflicted spell.
City of Glass: It’s time to go to Alicante, the capitol of Idris, the country of Nephilim (Shadowhunters.) Jace lies to Clary to prevent her from going because he doesn’t want the Clave to find out what she can do. It’s not normal. So as he’s trying to convince Simon to convince Clary, the Lightwood family is attacked and Magnus must quickly send them through the portal to Alicante. Jace brings a wounded Simon. Who is a vampire and not allowed in Alicante. The Inquisitor takes him and imprisons him, hoping to frame the Lightwoods. Clary creates a portal (part of her special powers) and takes Luke to Idris with her. Clary says she needs to find the warlock Ragnor Fell, and Sebastian (the Lightwoods are staying with the same people he is) offers to take her to see him. Ragnor is dead and Magnus is there instead, pretending to be Ragnor, and makes a deal with Clary. He’ll wake up her mother in exchange for the Book of White, which has the answer to how to wake her up and is a powerful Warlock book. Clary and Jace go to the old Wayland manor house and Clary retrieves the book, but they stumble upon a secret basement where Valentine did experiments. He has an angel imprisoned there, and he shows Jace and Clary memories. Jace was an experiment with demon blood. Meanwhile, the demon towers (they protect Alicante) suddenly go powerless and demons flood the city. The Gard (where the whole Clave meets) goes up in flames as the adult Shadowhunters race out to save their children. Clary and Jace manage to break Simon out of his cell, and he insists they save the other prisoner too. Who turns out to be Hodge. Hodge knows that Valentine intends to summon Raziel (the angel who made the first Shadowhunter) and needs the mirror, which is Lake Lyn. Sebastian shows up and kills Hodge and runs off. When everyone comes back together, turns out Sebastian also killed the youngest Lightwood–Max. Clary convinces the Clave to ally themselves with Downworlders in order to battle Valentine’s army of demons, and creates a rune that binds them together. Jace goes after Sebastian. Jocelyn shows up and tells the whole story. Sebastian is really Jonathan Christopher–the real offspring of Valentine and Jocelyn and the demon one. Valentine gave angel blood to Jocelyn while pregnant with Clary, though he didn’t know. He also gave angel blood to Celine Herondale–Jace’s mother. So they’re not actually related!!! Everyone goes off to battle the demon army, Clary marks Simon with the mark of Cain to prevent Raphael from killing him, and then she goes after Valentine. He intends to sacrifice her as the final step of summoning Raziel. Meanwhile, Jace and Sebastian battle it out, Isabelle shows up and helps out some, and then Jace kills Sebastian and heads after Valentine. He gets there in time to be Valentine’s sacrifice instead of Clary, and then summons Raziel. But Clary changed one of the summoning runes, so that she is the one who can ask Raziel for something, not Valentine. Raziel shows up, kills Valentine, and then grants Clary the one thing she wants. She asks for Jace. So he’s brought back, and everyone goes back to Alicante. There’s a celebration for the victory over Valentine, and Shadowhunters and Downworlders alike are all together. Jace and Clary can finally be together.
So there’s the short summaries. They were incredibly addictive books. The world Clare creates is incredibly interesting and brilliant, along with her characters who are all multidimensional. When it comes to the plot line, it progresses at a steady pace that leaves you hungry for more. Normally, the second book in a trilogy is sort of the weak one, where there’s a lot of just boring stuff that has to happen to wrap up the first book and get it ready to tie into the third book. However, I felt that the second book kept everything going. Yes, one of the main parts of it had to do with how Clary and Jace were in love and hated that because they thought they were brother and sister. But it spent more of it’s time focusing on Valentine’s plotline and how tortured Jace was over the whole thing with Clary and his father and the whole confusion as to who he is.
I left out a lot of the good stuff. The books are chock full of good stuff. There’s not an easy way to talk about it, but to just say that Cassandra Clare has written a masterful tale, created a beautiful world within our own. And as any good book series should, it inspires me to want to write, to create stories within the incredulous world of Shadowhunters.
City of Bones: A+
City of Ashes: A- (mostly because it’s hard to deal with the whole siblings in love thing)
City of Glass: A (it tied up everything nicely, except Sebastian’s body was never found…)
The three can stand alone, or you can go on reading the rest of the books, which I’ve heard are full of Clare’s twists that break your heart. Oh, something I definitely appreciated with this series was that although there’s a love triangle, it’s never the central part of the story. Simon likes Clary, but Clary and Jace are in love. When they find out they’re siblings, Clary and Simon give it a go and decide they’re better as friends, especially since Clary’s heart is really with Jace. Love triangle quickly resolved. And I love that it was never Clary being confused as to who she liked. She knew who she wanted.
I sketched some Shadowhunters, colored in PS. Jace, Clary, and Isabelle as I imagine them.
Now off to the library; I have book 4 on hold there.