Publisher: McElderry Books
Genre: Fiction, YA, Fantasy
After arriving extremely late to the party where all of Clare’s fans have gathered in this very popular series, I have finally finished the first book in The Mortal Instruments. The verdict is in! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and meeting new characters. As I previously stated in my What Are You Reading Wednesday’s post, I had picked this book up once before about a year ago and set it back down. At first read I wasn’t gripped nor compelled to continue the story. However, going in a second time I decided to be more open minded and look at this from a refreshed perspective.
I have not yet seen the movie. My friend absolutely loved it and she advised me to watch it. I did however start the television series Shadowhunters. Only about 3 episodes in but I really like it. Writing this has me thinking of how much I want to continue watching the show but I feel like I need to finish the books first because there may be some spoilers. Speaking of spoilers, I’ll do my best not to give any of the really juicy stuff away. Again I am late reading this book so I feel pretty confident that quite a lot of people out there have already read the series.
When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New Your City, she hardly expects to witness a murder— much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It’s also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. 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 an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….
The world of the Shadowhunters is thrilling, action packed, and has just enough of a touch of romance but not so much that it takes away from the action. In this first book Clare eases us into an intricate new world. It is very strongly knitted together. Not only is there a whole other world within the one we are so typically used to, but this other world is invisible to anyone who does not have the Sight. Clary, our teenage protagonist of the story, is as normal as they come. She is a brilliant young artist with a personality as fiery as her red hair. It isn’t until her birthday comes to pass that she is even able to see Jace who is one seriously bad-ass shadowhunter. After Clary’s mother is kidnapped she dives headfirst into the Shadowhunters world with her best friend Simon right at her side. This was a little funny because neither of them have had any sort of training and more times than none they manage to just get in the way of some battles. Having to be rescued themselves rather than helping to destroy their enemy.
Jace and Simon, two peas in a pod or as opposite as black and white? I found both to be true. Jace is burly with beautiful blue eyes and golden blonde hair. He’s definitely the strong silent type. Never really letting anyone see what’s inside. He masks his pain and anger with sarcasm and very cocky jokes. Simon has his own handsome physical features as well. I mean, who doesn’t love a nerd with glasses? Especially the sweet, caring type. Simon always has Clary’s best interest at heart, caring deeply about her safety. He’s a little more open with his feelings, albeit it does take him years to admit to Clary that he’s in love with her. Both are very determined young men who care deeply about their friends. Friends they have both grown up with and consider to be family. These two are clearly the love interests of this story.
Alec, ohhh Alec. Handsome? Yes. Bad-ass? Also yes. His attitude could use some serious adjusting though. To be fair I’ve never been in a situation like his. Not once have ever had to feel ashamed for my sexual orientation so I truly enjoyed this about his character. The way Clare wrote this into the story was clever. Touching on a subject that while widely accepted today, is still harder for some older (more traditional) generations to accept as a reality. I like the way she adds a very real and hard issue into a fantasy world. Making Alec seem all the more human. I was very very close to someone in high school (my best friend) whom I watched go through the same transition that I assume Alec is making now. As the story continues I’m sure we’ll see what will happen and how this struggle will only make his character grow into a bigger bad-ass.
Isabelle, Alec’s sister, is not your typical side character. At first meeting her she has a huge attitude problem. One that will make you either want to slap her, or condone her for being so outspoken when all the others can’t ever seem to say what they truly feel (including Clary). There were moments I literally shouted “Thank you!” to her, other times it was more like “What the hell is her problem?!” She does get a lot better as the book closes to an end. While an awesome Shadowhunter herself she does carry some general personality traits of a typical teenage girl. She’s very into her looks, very comfortable with her body and is not at all afraid of showing it off. Though when Clary comes into the picture we start to see some cracks in her confidence. Which again was something I really liked because it showed me that these characters, while fictitious, are not perfect and still have plenty of room to grow (six books to be exact).
Being a huge sucker myself for strong lead female protagonists I was excited to see how Clary’s character would turn out. What with all the huge praise she’s gotten from fans how could my expectations bar ever be high enough? Sadly after reading this I admit that I’m a little disappointed. Perhaps my expectations were too high. A lot of the time I was wondering where Clary’s common sense was, she even came off a little selfish. Caring more about what she needed and how she was going to get it rather than the people she was dragging into it. I suppose that isn’t entirely fair though. After all Clary is only a teenager who’s thrown into this whole new world and her then her mother is taken from her. Just snatched away with little to no clues as to where she might be. That’s gotta be a shocker for anyone! Surely her maturity is something we’re meant to experience with her throughout the next five books.
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars because I just didn’t fall in love with it. Maybe I’m still in my fantasy funk. There were just too many times where I felt a little bored with the story. This being my second time picking it up it was still a little hard to get into. Of course all books are going to be a little slow in the beginning. After all this is a very vast and beautifully detailed world that Clare has built, it is definitely going to take time to explain it all in depth. I did however love to whole idea of Shadowhunters, magical runes, stele weapons, forsaken humans, and various other demons (vampires, werewolves, warlocks) all living right under our noses. Already I’ve picked up the second book, City of Ashes, though I’m not in a hurry to finish it.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, absolutely. It is a great fantasy read and very fun. It will make you gasp and yell and even laugh. For anyone who is looking for a great adventure I would advise you to pick this up and clear your schedule because you won’t want to put it down once you get into a few chapters.
Also here’s a fun website for anyone who gets really into the Shadowhunter’s world 🙂 enjoy!