The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
So Imma have a lot to say about this series in general, but we can take it book by book. Follow me on instagram @theorphanscode if you want to see my Readalong for City of Bones.
Book One: City of Bones
“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…”
Okay so this book was a pretty light and fun read from the start and I’d heard a lot of good things about it, but it was really irritating at first because Clare just isn’t that great a writer. She was clearly going for a certain vibe with Jace, Alec, and Isabelle, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; Clary and Simon, on the other hand, were pretty well-done from the beginning. I think she was trying too hard to make Jace aloof and sexy and mysterious but then he would randomly break out of character and not be an asshole and I honestly hated him until like page 300.
The interesting part is that basically the second I started liking Jace I started hating Clary. I don’t really hate her now but I do find her deeply disappointing. She’s just so USELESS until like book 5 and her stupid obsession with Jace screws everyone over so much and I just agh. Clary. Get your shit together.
Anyway there’s this scene where she and Jace flirt super hard in a rooftop garden and round about there I became kind of addicted to this book and bought the whole series immediately (I later regretted this for reasons you’ll see later). And then suddenly I loved Jace and wanted him to be my boyfriend. I’m way too old for that shit but here we are.
So the plot kind of rambled all over the place and then ended TERRIBLY and I was SO DISAPPOINTED and it was obviously not going to be a standalone. So on with the next book…
City of Ashes
Does anyone know what the fucking deal is with the titles BTW? Because none of them make sense except City of Glass. The whole fucking series takes place in either New York or Alicante and I just agh. Where are the bones in the city of bones? Where are the ashes in this one? It seems so forced.
Anyway if you don’t want any spoilers stop here.
Soooo. This book starts off with Jace and Clary being super awkward around each other because they just learned they’re brother and sister. There’s a lot of weird tension where Jace is into Clary and Clary is squicked out and then Simon gets turned into a vampire and Valentine is conjuring a fuckton of demons and Clary develops a new weird power and it was a lot going on and honestly it was one of my favorites in the series. Couldn’t tell you why, it was just good. It ends with Valentine suffering a minor setback but still owning 2/3 Mortal Instruments, with Clary deciding to tell Jace she loves him even if they’re siblings (ew) and with Jace preempting this by telling her he’ll finally respect her wishes to be just her brother, and of course she’s crushed. It’s a little annoying how the whole series revolves around their romance instead of all the MONSTER KILLING AND DEMON WARS, but at least it isn’t as bad as Twilight. I just wish they’d bang and shut the fuck up about it.
City of Glass
This one was BY FAR my favorite in the entire series.
There’s a super important meeting in Shadowhunter Land (Alicante) and the entire crew minus Simon is planning to go, but then Jace tries to manipulate Clary into staying home so she’s safe (barf) and Simon ends up going instead and getting arrested or something and Clary turns up and loses her mother’s stele and we never hear about it again because steles are apparently interchangeable not like wands in Harry Potter so idk why they even bother it’s basically a pen to them.
A lot of shit happens and then a lot more shit happens but let’s talk about the end, shall we? Maybe about the part where, oh, I don’t know, CLARY HAS THE CHANCE TO PICK ANYTHING SHE WANTS AND SHE BRINGS JACE BACK FROM THE FUCKING DEAD. NOT MAX. NOT EVERYBODY. JUST JACE. She could have had A N Y T H I N G aagh I’m still pissed off about it. Why couldn’t the Angel have just raised Jace and been like we’re even kthxbai I mean that sounds Angely enough to me and then Clary wouldn’t have had the chance to be such a COLLOSAL FUCKING IDIOT. I mean come on Clary. It’s MAX. HE WAS MY FAVORITE IN THE WHOLE WORLD.
And then she and Jace still don’t bang.
It broke my frozen icy lil heart into tiny pieces and I just loved it but at the end I was so mad at Clary I can’t even tell you.
This really isn’t the point of a review is it? I should be discussing the storytelling or whatever. Well this should be a good indication that I was super into it.
Let’s pause for a moment.
VERDICT: 4.5/5 stars for books 1-3…but I recommend stopping here. The next three will only bum you out.
City of Fallen Angels
This book is like 90% dumb teenage drama and I hated it so much. Simon struggles to juggle two hot girlfriends, there’s some weird mystery crap with the new lead singer in his band, and meanwhile Clary isn’t doing much in particular and Jace is avoiding Clary and avoiding sleep because he keeps having nightmares where he murders her. And of course he tells nobody about this so bad things end up happening basically BECAUSE he was avoiding her and it’s all just a huge pain in my ass. I do really love Jace in this book though, he’s being a little bitch but he’s always sleepy and skinny and he has so many weird little quirks and I wanted to hug him.
Meanwhile Valentine’s dead but there’s a bunch of vampire drama and you’re like “great this is becoming a story about Simon and the fucking vampires and I hate them” and then Lilith pops up and you’re like “oh she’s the new baddie ok she’s like a princess of hell so that’s big” but then at the last second SUDDENLY, SEBASTIAN. And even though Sebastian is the stupidest fucking name ever for a villain there he is. Lilith just turns to salt and is scattered to the ages but conveniently isn’t dead but also conveniently isn’t very useful for anything at all and somehow Sebastian, the biggest dick in the universe, is a bigger threat.
Anyway he kidnaps Jace and then begins the next book.
City of Lost Souls
Jace is missing but obviously he won’t be missing for long and sure enough about 5 chapters in he shows up brainwashed and having a weird bromance with Sebastian and somehow Clary isn’t as scared of Sebastian as she really should be. Jace is basically in love with Sebastian and is chill in a way he’s never been chill with any other person before ever and Clary lets them kidnap her so she can save him but then she’s like “wait he seems happy maybe he doesn’t need saving” but then of course he does because he’s being brainwashed and Clary is a fucking idiot and she’s actually having fun with that prick Sebastian for awhile like he never did anything wrong and yet weirdly it kind of makes sense when you read it. Like you kind of WANT Sebastian to be a normal dude who has the potential to do good things. But then he proves himself a creep like ten times in a row and there’s a battle or something and Jace gets stabbed, again, and it was actually kind of heartbreaking but of course he lived because he’s fucking Jace and there’s a whole other thick ass book to go.
PS it ends with Jace saying he can’t really touch Clary anymore and sex is off the table and I about screamed out of pure frustration.
City of Heavenly Fire
There is no city of heavenly fire, just so you know. She should have just called the book Heavenly Fire but then that symmetry wouldn’t be there and apparently that’s unforgivable. Ugh.
This book was great except for two big points: Emma, and the ending.
Emma Carstairs is in the prologue and keeps popping up as almost a main character, and there’s really no point to her being there at all, she just kind of is. But then her story ended on a cliffhanger or whatever and I read the synopsis for Lady Midnight and I realized: Clare wanted to shoehorn her in there and make this Emma’s origin story or whatever so we’d be attached to her and have to read the Dark Artifices series. Which, fuck you lady, she ruined the goddamn story with it I swear to God.
Other than that the book was fantastic. Adventures in demon land, faerie betrayal, Death Eaters, Sebastian on a rampage, Alec and Magnus broke up and then Magnus got kidnapped, Jordan died (devastating), Maia became pack leader, just a whole bunch of cool shit. Another Alicante battle which because fucking Emma ruined it just wasn’t as good (the MCs were off doing other shit anyway). Simon and Isabelle dated hard. Oh and did I mention CLARY AND JACE FINALLY BANGED omg that was fucking painful why are these books so repressive??? Do people really think teenagers aren’t having sex at every fucking opportunity? Am I wrong? It just pisses me off that Alec is the only one getting laid, does she think gay people are just sluttier than straight people or something, or is it because they’re underage? It makes no sense to me.
Aaaaand then came the ending. It was kind of like the ending to Breath of the Wild…you spend all that time fucking getting there, and then once you finally get to the boss, it’s a letdown. Sebastian died way too easy. I was never once surprised by Clary’s supposed betrayal. Jace had absolutely nothing to do. The skeptron thing was pointless and dumb. Most of the crew spent their time running around rescuing prisoners and apparently being in danger (I wasn’t really feeling it) instead of actually doing shit. And then SEBASTIAN TOOK LIKE FIFTEEN MINUTES TO FUCKING DIE. HE GAVE A HUGE ASS MONOLOGUE. I HATE THAT. And of course he was no longer evil for all that time which was supposed to make you feel sorry for him but I just didn’t, I was so done by this time. SO. DONE.
And then there was all this long ass drama with Magnus and Simon and taking Simon’s immortality was kind of brilliant but then there was all the drama with his memories and I knew they weren’t gonna leave it that way so I don’t know why they bothered but if they’d spent even a little time on it I bet it would have been good but it just wasn’t. So predictable. And then she squeezed in some more characters from another series she’s pimping out (Tessa Gray and what’s his face, Jem maybe? IDK) and they were slightly more bearable but I’m still pissed off it’s all just a big money grab to them isn’t it?
Also I think she was an only child because her opinions on siblings and romance are really squicky. And she’s DEFINITELY SUPER CHRISTIAN because it leaks through EVERYWHERE but it actually wasn’t as bad as it could have been, I guess, but seriously though if Shadowhunters really don’t follow one set religion then maybe include some other mythology in there bitch. Be multicultural for once in your life.
Oh and speaking of there was one clearly autistic kid, one important black character (actually she was just half black), one Asian shoehorned in at the last minute (Magnus), and just white people everywhere basically. But whatever it’s not like it’s 2018 or anything.
I don’t know guys. I just expected so much better. Does anyone want my copies of the last three books?
VERDICT: 3/5 for a second it seemed like it might not be a waste of my life but then I was mistaken. Boo.