I’m a sucker for a movie based on a book. So when my close friend (who runs this awesome blog) recommended that I read The Mortal Instruments series and I saw that there was a movie about to come out I couldn’t resist. I hurried and read it finishing it just before the movie came out.
My thoughts? The books had promise. I had hopes that the author could develop the story line into something pretty good. I wasn’t hooked like with series like Harry Potter, Mistborn, The Wheel of Time, A Song of Ice and Fire or even, ahem. . .Twilight. (Confession time: I included some of those series in my list to let you know I don’t always sit at home reading sappy young adult love fiction).
The movie however, as happens most of the time, was not on par with the book and I wasn’t super impressed with the book. There were quite a few painful moments and times when the ferocious shadowhunters didn’t seem too bright (I mean really? You froze the demons and then tried to squeeze past them instead of stabbing them with your demon killing angel blade?) It still was better than the first Twilight movie. Having a lead actress with more than one facial expression probably helped. So I trudged on.
The rest of the series was a quick read. I averaged about 3/4 a book a day and I was genuinely interested to find out what happened. Time and again though I was disappointed in where the author took us. It started out as a dark mix of Harry Potter (a young person finds out that they are part of a magical world– not only part of that world, but an important, slightly famous, part) and Twilight (girl falls in love with bad boy with a soul and their love is dangerous). Although it was somewhat an obvious plot line I thought it had promise. The author tried to tackle more adult subjects than I expected in YA fiction: homosexuality, premarital sex, incest, murder. However, she approached them in such unrealistic and immature ways it ruined the attempt.
Homosexuality: OK, Alec is gay. That’s cool. OK he hasn’t come out yet. I’m sure he’ll work up to it. OK he does that and gets in a relationship. I’m even cool with the fact that he became obsessive and basically the worst boyfriend ever. I’m not cool with the fact that the author felt the need to shout “DON’T FORGET THEY ARE GAY!” every chance she got. I totally hadn’t forgotten.
Premarital sex: THIS is the subject that bothered me the most. None of the characters had a problem with having sex. In fact almost all of them WANT to have sex, but conveniently something happens to stop it. Somehow it’s never morals or parents that stop it, but “I just want to make out a cuddle” ’cause teenage boys TOTALLY go for that. Do I think it’s a good idea for a bunch of 15 year olds to be having sex every chance they get? No. Do I think unsupervised 15 year olds will have sex every chance they get? Most definitely. So don’t pretend they won’t.
Incest: Is it just me or did Clary and Jace have more sexual tension when they thought they were brother and sister than after they found out they weren’t related? It was almost as if once they found out they could have a relationship they weren’t that into each other anymore. That only works in A Song of Ice and Fire. The Lannisters were messed up enough to pull it off; Clary and Jace, not so much.
Murder was really just brushed upon. Jace murdered while he was under a spell so it’s all cool. Clary only kills demons and Simon just almost killed someone so once again we’re all good.
Do I think these books are worth the read? Yes, but check them out of the library and read so many other series first. OK here’s where I’m going to say something that will piss many of you off. I think Twilight is a better series. The characters are developed better, the villains are scarier, and the love story makes more sense. So if you’re looking for a YA cheesy love story pick up Twilight again or if you’re looking for a YA series that has a little more meat to it read the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson.
How do I think this series could have been saved? If it had been written about Simon. Simon was the only realistic character. He dealt with issues like a real person would, I wish he (and all the other characters) had been at least 5 years older than they were to make all of their independence believable, but he was the most real character in the book.
So I’m sorry if I blasted your favorite book. If you disagree let me know why. Back up your argument. I didn’t hate the series I just got distracted by what I saw as unrealistic events or circumstances (no I’m not talking about portals or magic, I’m talking about unsupervised teens running around New York or teens in charge of their hormones).
Once again if you have an argument that could change my mind– throw it at me.