The Mortal Instruments

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

It’s official: I have hopped on The Mortal Instruments bandwagon. Though the series made its’ debut in 2007 I had only heard of the series about a year ago from a friend when I expressed interest upon seeing the trailer for the movie. At the time not much came of that interest as I was extremely busy moving into my first apartment several months prior. Ahhhh the sweet bliss of adult life and the empty wallet that accompanies it. About two weeks ago on a Saturday night I was flipping through the On Demand menus for the movie channels while my boyfriend was cuddled up on our chaise lounge soundlessly sleeping. When I came to the Starz On Demand menu and saw this movie being offered, I pressed play without even thinking twice… but then I had to pause the movie so I could pour myself another glass of sweet red wine.

I wouldn’t say the movie was horrific per se but it certainly was not outstanding. It intrigued me enough to begin reading the series but not enough for me to purchase the DVD. Although I do think Lily Collins was far too beautiful for the role of Clary, I still enjoyed her portrayal nonetheless. Whereas Collins may not have been a dead ringer (though not blonde Rhys Meyers suited the villainous role perfectly) I thought the rest of the cast was spot on especially Jamie Campbell Bower – he was THE Jace.

Like many book readers, I cannot fathom why the screenwriters/producers/directors choose to completely change details authors meticulously slave over. By no means am I saying that the movie should follow the book 100% as that is impossible. I am familiar with various forms of writing, screenwriting being among them. I can tell you, there are certain aspects to writing that cannot be portrayed on screen as the author wrote them. That being said there will always be minor changes when going from page to screen. But my beef isn’t with the minor changes but the needless addition/removal of material. The parts that particularly ruffle my feathers were the scenes from pandemonium and pretty much everything between chapters 19 – 23 in City of Bones. Fans of the book series, who haven’t already watched the film, should proceed with extreme caution.

Ok now lets steer this conversation back to the books and talk about the elephant in the room for a moment or as I’d like to call it the “unnecessary plot point.” There was absolutely no significant reason to make Jace and Clary siblings. Simply put: writing this in allowed Cassandra Clare to move the plot forward while distinguishing herself from the rest of the young adult authors. I do admire her for being so brazen but the writing wasn’t fluid and it felt as if she were fighting her own story. This is more apparent in City of Ashes and City of Glass than City of Bones since there has been more time for Clary and Jace to digest this revelation. As I continued to read the series Clare, possibly unbeknownst, gave me the hope I needed to forge through the series. It was blatantly obvious in the dialogue between Clary and Jace that this was NOT the end to their epic love story. And while we’re on the subject, I might add, Clare wrote this plot mildly if not intriguing in City of Bones than took it one step too far in City of Ashes and City of Glass. I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that this plot should have been put to rest in book 2. And what I mean by a step too far is the proposed incest on Clary and Jace’s part. Clary was literally going to give her whole heart to Jace at the end of book 2 regardless of Jace being 100% her brother – not step brother or half brother, full brother.

Is there really any other thing to say besides “you’ve got to be f***ing kidding me Cassandra Clare.” I mean really, were these paragraphs entirely necessary? Clare’s love affair with incest story lines gets even sillier later on in the series. This is a clear example of how Clare comes from a fan fiction background. I should be reading this online by an amateur fan fiction author, not an accalaimed and established novelist.

City of Bones Chapter 9

Since I only just began the series I was able to read books 1-6 without any interruptions (ahhh the benefits of not reading a series as soon as it is published.) The online community informed me that this series was intentionally supposed to end with City of Glass. I could see that, loose ends were tied up, but I’m thrilled she went on to write 3 more in the series. Clare took risks with the remaining books – the story takes a darker turn and dare I say, plunged. Honestly City of Fallen Angels was utterly unmemorable. It was an ode to Simon, as the entire book revolved around him. Yes, it was Clare’s dark stepping stone into the remaining books but the story was dull! Now City of Lost Souls on the other hand…. that was where the series gained my undivided attention.

And of course this review wouldn’t be complete without commenting on Clare’s second incestual story line. Considering my feelings concerning the “unnecessary plot point” you’d think I would absolutely hate the way Clare wrote in Sebastian’s love/infatuation for Clary in City of Lost Souls… but while obviously disgusting, I thought it was great! Maybe it’s because I am older than the intended target audience but I would have loved to see this storyline play out. Clary and Jace’s “grrrrrr I’m deeply in love with my sibling” angle was appropriate for young adults whereas the Clary and Sebastian angle was mature and seemed intended for adults. A topic of this sort should have been delved into by an adult audience not young adult – Sebastian’s sanity would have been interesting to explore further.

I’m actually kinda livid with how City of Heavenly Fire was written. Clare is an unbelievably fast writer, if her published works is any evidence, but she’s also interactive with her fans on a level that not many other authors can claim to be. Instead of being an heartfelt finale it ended up being a link to her newest series The Dark Artifices. I couldn’t believe she left the entire story line of the Blackthorn’s in cliff hangers. It really pissed me off. I can almost guess the plot of her new series now, “while in search of answers to her parents deaths Emma learns of a Faerie retaliation against The Clave for being forced to disband their army (and etc.)” I won’t lie, I’m interested enough in the Blackthorns (especially Mark) to read her new series but that does account for the fact that she used The Mortal Instruments to get there. One of the problems I have with her writing is that she spends too much time pleasing her fans. Whenever I read what I see as a forced story line, character romances, sexual orientation or even race and nationality I feel as though it is pleasing the fans more than the story. Reading of J.K. Rowling’s regret at having matched Ron and Hermione reaffirms my idea as a writer, go with your instincts.

The proposed incest is a serious put-off but I chose to pursue the books regardless. It was a positive decision to do so, I enjoyed reading the remaining books in the series. I recommend trudging through, it is an engaging series if given the chance to prove itself.

The writing itself was quite good, definite eye rolling at times but Clare is nothing but a confidant writer. Her past as a fan fiction writer showed in certain aspects of the series because of their outlandish nature. I applaud her for keeping the reader entertained but it’s those over the top scenes and plots that really turned me off from the series. After finishing the series I am giving the series 4/5 for keeping me entertained and giving me inspiration.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

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