I haven’t read the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare before – it’s wasn’t that I wasn’t interested; it’s just that I always felt like I had too many books to read in my backlog to add any more to it. Then a few weeks ago I realized that I kept adding stuff to my “to read” list that it was pointless to stop myself from reading stuff that have been calling to me for years.
I started reading the series about two weeks ago. And now I’m on freaking Book Three.
What do I think of the plot and writing style?
The overarching plot and the subplots of these series are in and of themselves very fascinating, but I admit that what I found more intriguing is the writing style: parts of it made me feel like I’m reading fanfiction.
Oh, I don’t mean that in a BAD way. What I meant is that there are nice little quirky turns of phrase in the prose that exposes Cassandra Clare’s fannish tendencies. And that’s a good thing. Sure, it could be a little jarring early on – in the first book, some of the witty banter felt slightly out of place given the fact that some characters hardly knew each other. But as the series progressed, it became a lot more comfortable.
Come to think of it, I think the very beginning of the first book was slightly awkward as well. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m just coming to grips with the plot at that point (I certainly felt that way with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series – and that series’ geekiness made me wonder if the author used to write/read fanfic too) or because many fic writers aren’t used to writing solid “beginnings”. If you really think about it, a whole lot of fanfiction don’t need “establishing scenes” because readers are assumed to already have some solid knowledge of the characters/plot. It might be thing that former fan writers carry over to their original work but I’m not sure.
That said, I still think this is a great read – especially as the story progresses. No matter how annoying Clary is and how much I want Jace to end up with Simon.
Would I watch the movie?
I’m still not sure if I’m inclined to see the upcoming movie, though – I’m one of those nerds who think that the book is better than the movie/TV series about 90% of the time (this is painfully true for the Dresden Files). It MIGHT be worth seeing if only to see Simon come to life. I think he’s the most wonderful Jewish geek ever put on paper and WHY DO YOU TORMENT HIM SO, CASSANDRA CLARE?! I also want to see the fabulous Magnus Bane all colorful and sparkly.
I’m not so sure I’m okay with Lily Collins playing Clary because her hair isn’t right. SHE’S NOT GINGER ENOUGH AND HER HAIR IS TOO SLICK. I know that it’s a stupid thing to quibble about, but I really think it’s part of what makes the character work. She’s insecure because she thinks her hair gets everywhere and that its color is depressingly carrot-like – in many ways, she doesn’t really think she’s pretty. It’s part of why she hated Isabelle on sight, even if they do end up kind of getting along later on. I also suspect that it’s the reason why she’s so stubborn most of the time – she may not be the kind of girl most boys like, but she sure as hell refuses to be completely useless. Of course, that’s what gets everyone into trouble in the first place…
You know, I think I may have to admit that I have misgivings about the casting for Jace too. I keep expecting him to sing “Joanna” from Sweeney Todd.
If you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments yet and you like awesome urban fantasy, I suggest you give this one a shot. Buy it at your local bookstore, or from your favorite ebook resources.