I started reading the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare as part of last year’s reading challenge. It was one of 26 series I started or continued as part of my Year of the Series. I read the first two books, but didn’t manage to read the whole series last year. For my 2018 Reading Challenge, I managed to work in the final four books of this series as the next book in a series I started (City of Glass), a book I borrowed (City of Lost Souls), a past Goodreads Choice Awards winner (City of Fallen Angels) and a book being read by a stranger in a public place (City of Heavenly Fire).
These six books are lumped together into a single series titled The Mortal Instruments. I think they could have easily been broken into two separate, but related, trilogies. The first three books have one story line and one enemy, all tied together by a hunt for the three objects known as the Mortal Instruments. The final three books follow a different story line with a different enemy, and the title objects have little relevance.
I like how the later books reveal more of the other characters, especially Simon, Alec and Maia, rather than focusing on the two main players, Clary and Jace. This is a fun young adult adventure/romance series filled with angels and demons, vampires, werewolves and more. There are magical runes and magical swords. Overall, it moves quickly and despite their large size, doesn’t take too long to read. But it isn’t perfect.
The biggest issue I have with these stories is all the romantic and sexual drama – the on-again, off-again, will they or won’t they drama. The characters in these books are sixteen and seventeen years old. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good romantic story. And I’m not so naive to think that kids this age aren’t engaging in sexual behavior. But it felt excessive. To the point that I wanted to skip over all those parts. I could have skipped a lot of pages.
Clare also blithely makes use of a social double standard that has existed for far too long. The double standard that says it is not only acceptable, but expected that a sixteen year old boy has had sex, but his sixteen year old girlfriend has not. This feels annoyingly sexist to me.
Still, if you’re looking for a good fun urban fantasy, this series won’t disappoint. Will I read more by Clare? Probably.