The Mortal Instruments is the first trilogy set in the world of the Shadowhunters. Cassandra Clare is currently writing two more Shadowhunter trilogies in tandem: a prequel trilogy and one immediately following this one.
Clary Fray has always been hidden from the darkness which hunts her. But after she witnesses three teenagers kill a young boy, and returns home to find her mother has disappeared, she is plunged directly into the path of her hunters. On the run, and desperately trying to find her mother, Clary is rescued by the same teenagers she saw commit murder. Together with the enigmatic Jace Wayland, and siblings Alec and Isabelle Lightwood, Clary discovers the dangerous world of the Shadowhunters: beings who protect humans from the ever present threat of demons, vampires and werewolves. As she digs deeper into her mother’s mysterious past, she realises that these Shadowhunters may be her only hope of seeing her mother again.
The mysterious fame of certain vampire/werewolf oriented books has lead to an explosion of YA fiction dealing with the supernatural. After reading about yet another teeneger who gives up everything to be with a mysterious boy (who turns out to be a vampire / werewolf or, recently, an angel), I was not expecting much from this series. Hence I was pleasantly surprised to read a book with such a strong, independent and delightfully witty female character.
Clary is fierce. Her story is told beautifully by Cassandra Clare, with twists and turns which keep you guessing right to the end (and afterwards). The characters in the trilogy are wonderfully flawed, with each of them grappling with their inner demons. They grow and develop throughout the trilogy very convincingly, and between them perfectly describe that awkward stage in every teenager’s life where they begin to really discover who they are going to become as adults.
While romance in the trilogy exists, it takes a backseat (as it should) to the brilliant action sequences and plot twists. There are moments, yes; stolen kisses and heartbreaking confessions, and these add to the pace of the story, but for once the romance is told realistically – no girl in her right mind is thinking of her achy-breaky heart when there are many-headed demons attacking her.
A brilliant read I recommend for lovers of YA and fantasy fiction. I am eagerly awaiting the publication of the next few books!