The Mortal Instruments, Good Young Adult Fiction?

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.

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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.

True Blood, The Vampire Diaries or Twilight?

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OK so I read the Twilight series a few years ago and the 13 year old in me really liked them.  I read them all in about a week and then watched all the movies (at the matinee with all the other women that were really too old to be obsessed with this tween romance).  I liked the books, tolerated the movies, but knew deep down that this was a silly series.  Just the fact that Bella felt the need to dwell on the fact that she was so mature and kept trying to be turned before she became “old” was a constant reminder that this series was meant for high schoolers.

So when I saw previews for shows like “The Vampire Diaries” and “True Blood” I had no desire to add to my repertoire of cheesy vampire stories. However, about a year ago I made a deal with a friend that I would watch “The Vampire Diaries” if she gave “Doctor Who” a chance.  The result? I watched all of TVD in record time and she watched about a half of a season of DW before giving up (you’re missing out Kaila).

Then two weeks ago I was convinced by another friend that obsesses over “Game of Thrones” with me to try “True Blood.” Yeah. . .I watched the second episode of Season 6 last night.

My thoughts on all these series?

Seriously, is there a formula for vampire stories that I’m unaware of?  Insert one human that smells amazing, is beautiful, and slightly mentally or emotionally handicapped (come on Elena (Nina Dobrev) makes some seriously stupid decisions and Bella falls apart without a man), add one nice vampire, and one vampire that is bad on the surface, but good at heart, then a dash of werewolf to increase the amount of bare skin and sexual tension.  TA DA!

Obviously something keeps me watching.  Maybe it’s the lovely way Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) says Sookie (which makes up for the horrible name in the first place).  Or maybe it’s loveliness of the vampires themselves (OK the “Twilight” vampires aren’t as pretty as TVD or TB vampires, but all of them got something going on).  It is most definitely Alcide Herveaux.  I mean come on Joe Manganiello can do pretty much anything and as long as he’s shirtless I’m cool with it.  And Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) has carried “True Blood” in the episodes that consisted of some plot line that drug out too long (I can even over look all the witch crap just because it just meant more Lafayette).  Both Jason Stackhouse (Ryan Kwanten) and Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R, McQueen) are great supporting brothers.  Jason is delightfully brave and stupid and Jeremy is strong and level headed when it’s most needed.

The Vampire Diaries has had an amazing group of supporting characters with Alaric Saltzman (Matthew Davis), Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Jenna (Sara Canning),  and so many more people have added a lot depth and spice to what could have been a fluff show. Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) snarkiness has definitely kept me coming back for more even though that meant I had to watch Bonnie (Kat Graham) or Elena running around messing up everything that Damon and Stefan (Paul Wesley) were trying to accomplish.  At least Sookie (Anna Paquin) seems to actually be able to handle herself and although she is a pretty big idiot a lot of times she’s not the whiny weak person that Elena is. There have been many times I wished that Caroline (Candice Accola) was the heroine in TVD instead of Elena. She can adapt and for the most part isn’t an idiot (at least not after she become a vampire). Twilight did have Alice and Jacob to help it out.  Some of the best chapters in the Twilight series were written from Jacob’s perspective.  He was so much more down to earth than Bella and thankfully had some sense. Bella though. . .well lets not talk about her too much, we might make her cry, blush or jump off a cliff.

So if you are 13 read/watch “Twilight”, revel in the teenage angst, ignore the poor writing, and know it’s OK (I won’t talk much more smack here since I have read them more than once—OK more than twice).  If you are looking for a more adult version of a vampire love story by all means check out “The Vampire Diaries.”  Wade through the first season (it really takes some effort early on), try to figure out how high school children get their hands on so much alcohol, also how they are actually passing high school considering the number of days they skip.  The character development is good (except for Bonnie) and even though Elena gets on my last nerve, Nina Dobrev is amazing as Katherine Pierce (it amazes me how I can love Katherine and hate Elena).  The show isn’t afraid to kill off popular characters which I think always helps keep a show new and fresh.

Now we come to True Blood.  I do think they mixed it up with the premise a little in that vampires are out in the open and are trying to “mainstream” within society.  I see this show as a pretty good show, but since it’s on HBO they throw in a soft-core porn scene anytime the plot slows down or every 20 minutes, whichever comes first.  They do a great job developing characters and plot development is pretty good (although I’m not super crazy with where things are going now with Bill or Sam), but it is not for people who don’t like crazy amounts of sex and violence.

I’m a little ashamed that I know so much about all of these series, but no so ashamed that I didn’t pay money to meet Ian Somerhaulder and get this embarrassing photo made at DragonCon last year:

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Haha I think I was one of the only women that day that didn’t feel him up (all I could think about was how much it must suck to get rubbed on my hundreds of crazy fans all day). The result though was this creepy photo.  Totally worth it.  No go off and enjoy some teenage angst or hot sexy vampire love and try to wipe the image of that photo away.

But first take my poll!