It seems that everyone is writing their own young adult series, hoping to be the next J.K. Rowling. There will never be a series that will achieve everything Harry Potter has nor will the series ever be dethroned by another young adult set of books. This will not stem the tide of movies based off of young adult novels however. There is one book universe though that stands apart from the pack and is worthy of the discussion and hype surrounding it: The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare which by the end of its course will have twelve books and three separate series to its name.
It has everything that constitutes brilliant fantasy and then some. In just one book, a completely immersive reading experience is created. Readers become fluent in its lingo, soon grasp what it means to have the language of Heaven imprinted on one’s skin. The processes, the lore, every piece of information one could ever hope to want or need to enjoy a brand new world of angels and demons is provided step by step in every book. The character development is insane and fast paced. It has to be to keep up with everything else. Speed does not negate quality however.
Yet, the most remarkable aspect of Clare’s work is not her characters or the world she has created, it is her plotlines that stand her apart from the usual fare. Being a rather intelligent reader, it is not easy for me to be surprised whilst reading. I am not easily led astray nor do I miss foreshadowing. The Mortal Instruments provide a unique and challenging experience. The twists and turns of the story are unpredictable. Clare does not have a formula for her work. The plots are never structured the same way, never are they repeated. Every new book is an entirely different creature than the last. Not only are there plots, there are subplots and even smaller plots still, all tightly woven and interconnected that they can hardly be removed or looked at simply on their own. The reading experience is simply incredible.
Her plot structure is not solely admirable. The plots themselves are extraordinarily complicated and intriguing. Her work is not only entertaining, but also provides social commentary. She is the first young adult novelist I have read who has included homosexual themes and not merely in side characters, but in two main characters. I do not believe there is a controversial social convention she has not touched upon at least once. Yet she is not preachy. She has simply included these themes. They’re not awkwardly placed. In fact, without theme, I do believe the story would lose much.
All around there is something in these books for everyone. They are terribly clever and there is no place in Clare’s world for gender roles. Male or female her characters kick ass, literally and metaphorically. These books are a must read. Lingo that harkens the reader to the days of Hogwarts? Intensely written fight scenes? Some pretty saucy and insanely written romance? Count me in.
Speaking of romance, since it’s inescapable for the young adult genre, it should be said that Clare writes romance like no one else. Is there a love triangle? Sadly, yes, but at least only super early in the series. I, personally, despise love triangles. They are an abomination. Clare wrote one that I find surprisingly tolerable. Even the things I hate she writes and makes me at least somewhat like it. There is honestly nothing that I hate about these books. Clare has written a truly connectable and captivating story. I do not want it to end yet I frantically anticipate reading its conclusion.
You can catch The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones in theaters now.