The Mortal Instruments Series

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Yes, I saw the last Twilight movie and it was much better than all of the others combined – except for the slow first hour.  I thought it was a good end.  I was waiting for this movie to start when I first saw the trailer for The Mortal Instruments movie coming out in the summer of 2013.  Now, I will admit from the casting, to the scenes, to the dialogue – it looked bad.  Let’s begin with the casting of Lily Collins, who is a very beautiful young woman, but they keep putting her in pretty girl roles that have no substance…or maybe her acting has no substance or personality.  Who knows.  Based off of the little bit I saw, she was BAD!  Anyways, the premise was interesting enough for me to check out the book it was based on despite the horrific trailer. 

The Mortal Instruments series is a young adult novel and these can go very, very wrong.  So, I was hesitant about picking this up.  I didn’t really read Young Adult novels in junior high or high school, save for a few books.  I think I cracked open a Sweet Valley High book and was so repelled I just avoided that whole category of fiction after that.  I was more into adult fiction from Stephen King, John Saul, Dean Koontz, and a few european literature classics like The French Lieutenant’s Woman (I remember throwing the book in my room because I was so pissed off with the ending).  But lately some of the best ‘I can’t put down until I finish’ light reads have been Young Adult novels. 

I remember when I read the first book in the Twilight series, and being horribly irritated by the language and the characters.  ( I will forever remember the feeling of nails on chalkboard when I read Bella saying to Edward, “Why didn’t you let the car squish me like a bug!” – who the F speaks like that?! ) I did not understand how it had so many positive reviews and sold so many books.  But considering the first book was rather short, I plugged along and was glad I did as the books got considerably better until I could not put down the last book, Breaking Dawn.  Then came The Hunger Games, although the first book was by far the best book in the series. (They totally dragged out that series unnecessarily.)  Anyways, I was a little concerned when I saw the box set in the Barnes and Nobles with the cheesy, romance novel-like covers, but I picked it up anyways.  And boy am I happy I did. 

The book opens up with Clary Fray waiting in line with her best friend to get into an all ages night club observing a young man trying to gain entrance into the club with a syth.  She is drawn to this boy and follows him within the club after she observes a group of people follow him into an isolated section of the club.  The action starts of quickly.  The questions start piling on.  Clary Fray is no where near as annoying as Bella but not as amusing as Katniss Dean (I found Katniss Dean’s snarky inner comments hilarious).  The male protoganist is amusingly jerky-charming-obnoxious and the back and forth dialogue is chuckle worthy. 

However,  the male dialogue had a certain type of bravado you expect from a grown lothario not a teenage boy.  While Clary played the confused, weaker, smaller but headstrong female teenager role.  Hmmm.  That’s annoying.  Just got the pattern for why these books become so popular across all ages (and genders) when you add the romance element.  The teenage boys ALWAYS play the role of the more mature and “adult” person in the book compared to the female.   Frankly, it’s a MAN in a teenager body.  Maybe a man with issues, but a man nonetheless.  Obviously this is a fairly common romance trope put out by older, middle aged women writers that appeals to female readers of all ages and, yes, some men too.  Men are more likely to show up at the movie theatre to see the story, as opposed to read it though – enter casting of Lily Collins

Don’t let this dissuade you from not reading the series though.  The sci-fi/fantasy shadowhunter world that was created along with the mystery of trying to figure out why Clary can see Shadowhunters, as well as what happened to her mother make this a fast and fun read.   The love triangle is not that interesting.  Or maybe it is because I am not attracted to surfer golden boy types for the most part.  They should have written in Tom Hardy as the male teen lead! Now that would have made it interesting….  🙂

I find myself speed reading the first three books in the series.  I have just recently picked up the fourth title, although it looks like the fourth title is an add on because of the popularity of the series.    Now, some of the answers to the questions in the novel are not hard to figure out, while others are barely hinted at, but it was a good mix of the obvious and the out of nowhere. 

If you are into fantasy set in a modern day urban New York City, mixed in with hints of Judeo-Christian mythology (Nephalim), and – of course – a love triangle, then this is definitely your book.  These are rather thick books but they are quick reads.  The Mortal Instruments series is written by Cassandra Clare and she has extended the original trilogy with an additional two books, as well as written a prequal series.  It looks like the author and her publisher may be trying to milk this thing for as long as possible.  I haven’t started reading the fourth book yet, but the first three are definite must reads if you enjoyed Twilight and The Hunger Games.

*Despite having a kindle, why would I get the paperback version?  No reason other than it was in front of me at the time while I was chilling in Barnes and Nobles with a few friends…Do you remember when people were complaining about the loss of small mom and pop bookstores to big box book-tailers?  Yeah…I will be so sad if these mega chains go the way of the DODO.  So many have closed in recent years where I live.  So, let’s support physical books by BUYING actual books from these stores and not just reading them on the floor!  Otherwise, there won’t have any actual books to read on the floor anymore.  Support!

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