Friday, April 15, 2016

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Well, with the movie and the TV show, it was bound to happen. It seems I always am behind the trends of YA, but I do end up reading some of them.

But man, Cassandra Clare is infamous. Like, Anne Rice infamous. Though, instead of declaring the Lestat series are finished and she would write exclusively Christian themed novels, Clare is rumored to be a plagiarist during her time as a fan fiction writer, as well as parts of her books to be taken from other works.

Now that I've read her books... I don't think she really hides the fact that she definitely uses folk tales, myths, legends and other public fantasy ideas in her works. I mean, come on, "All the stories are true..." is a running theme throughout the books, and she doesn't make it a secret that she uses everything from vampires, to Norse mythology, to fairy tales, even Star Wars (finding out they were siblings?! Come on.), so I don't think any authors who accuse her of stealing her work really has a leg to stand on, because even though she basically uses everything under the sun in her books, it seems it's a work completely her own.Clare creates an imaginative world where she packs everything she can, all the folklore and urban fantasy into almost an unlimited book series.

Man, again, I have to put Clare in with "people whose careers I wish I stole" because she doesn't pretend to think up all of this stuff on her own. She takes it all and her theme is, "all the stores are true." Brilliant. I would take the haters any day of the week.

I do give her mad props for her extensive world building, which led her to numerous books. How many books does she have out now with different series stemming from The Mortal Instruments? 20? She definitely put time and effort using all she can and she's made a career out of it.

The real question is... is it any good? I'm not sure if I'm qualified yet to answer that question, because I feel like I stumbled into a real Hannibal situation, where I am so saturated with the TV show and the movies, that when it came to reading the books, there was nothing new. The books were almost like the movies, and the TV show added much more to the books. The first book, the City of Bones, definitely follows the movie of finding the Mortal cup, though I'm still confused about the big round blue portal in the movie.

However, her downfall are the characters in the books. She creates a very extensive world with alternative realities and universes, and the "rules" of the universe are practically nonexistent, that she leaves barely any room to introduce any real characters. I was deeply confused when it was revealed that Valentine was also Jace's father. Just to move plot along and create conflict between Clary and Jace, Jace, who was deemed a quick thinker, smart and almost wise beyond his years, absolutely took Valentine, who was deemed a psychopath, at his word, and was immediately obedient to him.

What also didn't work for the book was the snappy dialogue between the characters. It had a very Joss Whedon flair to it, which is admirable, but... since I didn't feel a connection to any of the characters, I thought the dialogue fell flat. I also don't buy that 15 year olds talk like that at all. I taught 15 year olds... they are way dumber. Apparently her writing improves greatly, which I'm looking forward too.

Was it riveting? No. Now that I've seen the terrible movie, and I am watching the TV show on free form which leaves me feeling more confused (I still don't know what's happening and I've read the book now) everytime I watch it. Overall, it took me a bit to get through. I found it boring and I also realized that not much happened (which is an awful realization when you are holding a monster of a book). However, I'm reserving my judgement about this book series with the second book because I definitely watched the TV show and the movie before the book.

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