One day, I will figure out a consistent format for how I write book reviews. I swear, every freaking post has a new format, geez! So today I’m chatting with you about The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Because The Mortal Instruments consists of six books, I am not writing a review for each book; we’d be here forever since as you know, I tend to rant. (This post is already crazy long.) Instead, I’ll share a spoiler-free overview of the series as a whole, and then get into some spoiler-y specifics about what I loved and what I didn’t about each character. If you’d like reviews for each of The Mortal Instruments books individually, they are linked below as I reviewed each one on Goodreads. Let’s dive in shall we?
Overall Series Rating:
The Mortal Instruments follows sixteen year old Clary Fray as she discovers the existence of Shadowhunters, the world they exist in that is hidden from humanity, and all the wonders and terrors it brings.
Spoiler Free Series Review:
If you a mix of multiple fantasy & supernatural elements, action, angst, and romance, you will enjoy The Mortal Instruments. The series is ripe with all those things. Are they the most well written or well thought out books you’ll read? By no means. Many of the books have some plot holes (some minor, some really dumb) and honestly the drama gets drawn out too much sometimes, but these books are just so much fun. Just pure fluff YA fun. And I adore that. I know they aren’t great, but they are so entertaining. Plus, they make me feel a bit nostalgic as my 15 year old self would have reveled in this series. If you’re looking for a light, fun YA read in the fantasy realm, I highly recommend giving this series a try, as long as you keep in mind going in they aren’t the best thing you’ll ever read.
OH, and I do have to say, re-reading this series makes the travesty of a TV show they put out even worse if that’s possible. Do not judge these books by that terrible show. The show got so, SO much wrong, botched Jace as a character, and pretty much ruined perfectly good source material. UGH.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT!
Basically, I just wanted to talk about each of the characters and what I loved/didn’t love about them.
First up – Jace. Oh, how I adore Jace. As I mentioned above, these books make me feel nostalgic as I know just how obsessed with them I would have been as a teenage girl, and Jace would lead that obsession. His wit, sarcasm, cocky attitude, and all around badassery would have made me utterly swoon. (Plus, his Marks, which are basically tattoos, just add to the sexiness.) As it is, he is still my favorite character in the series.
Honestly, I think he dealt with so much more than Clary did. Between the questioning of his paternity for the first three books, and then the aftermath of his TRUE paternity, constantly feeling like you never fit in, his horrific childhood, and pretty much being burdened with saving the Shadowhunter world, Jace had a lot on his plate. And I actually liked that he didn’t always handle it well. He’s a teenager; making well thought out rash decisions isn’t most teenagers’ strong suit. So while sometimes I wanted to smack him in his smug face, I at least understood the reasons behind a lot of his choices, and why he felt the need to take on all things (especially Sebastian), alone.
That being said, by book six I was SO HAPPY Jace finally accepted and embraced that he can’t do everything alone. He finally learned he cannot control everyone’s choices, even if it puts them in harms way. As a character, he grew a lot over the series and that’s always good to see.
Clary: Clary frustrated me more than others in this series, and yet I still always like her. For the first few books, I feel like you didn’t really know her, despite the fact that she is the main character. But I also realized, she doesn’t really know herself. The majority of her life has been a lie, put in place to ‘protect’ her, and she was forced to come to terms with a huge amount of information all at once. It meant re-learning and discovering a huge amount about herself and the people she knew, as well as the people she just met.
But throughout the series, I admired her strength. She persevered through some really shitty circumstances, and never lost hope when she absolutely had a right to. She definitely falls into the “bad decisions because teenager” category, but again, I always understood why she made the choices she did, even if I didn’t agree with them. Plus, she’s an artist, and her rune powers are completely badass. Though I did find them really inconsistent. I wish there had been more of her developing runes in her downtime; it seemed like she only came up with new runs when the world was going to shit and she had to save it via some new crazy rune.
Simon: Sigh. Where to begin with Simon? Honestly, until the final book, I really liked Simon. He basically got hurled into the Shadowhunter world via association to Clary. Being turned into a vampire meant that he became a part of the Shadowhunter world forever. I liked the struggle of him identifying more as a human/Shadowhunter than a vampire, and how that not only ostracized him from other vampires but also left him with a lot of personal turmoil about his life. I liked his struggles of being in love with Clary, though when he moved past that I thought he and Izzy made a great couple.
But then the ending of book six happened and ruined everything. By which I mean a demon made him lose his immorality and his memory. At first, I was annoyed by his memory loss because Jace, Clary, Alec, and Magnus all get their storylines wrapped up with a nice happiness bow and Izzy is left a devastated mess. How is that fair? But then, of course, they discover a way to give Simon back his memories (sort of, it’s a slow process), and live longer by making him a Shadowhunter. THEN WHY DID YOU BOTHER WITH GETTING RID OF THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE?! I get the whole sacrificing your immortality to the demon bit, but why, why bother with the memory loss?! It seemed only there to add drama, and the last thing these books needed was MORE drama.
The ending just seemed a huge disservice to Simon’s character to have him, yet again, different and separate from everyone else. He struggled with that through the whole book, and now, after he’s literally gone through hell with them all and been a vital part of saving the Shadowhunter world, you make him forget all of it? UNCOOL.
Izzy + Alec: Despite filling the designated sidekick shoes, they were both wonderful characters. They start off a little cliche, but throughout the six books you get to know and love them just as much as Jace and Clary. Izzy’s struggles with female friendships were a great touch. Her complete discomfort of being vulnerable was nice to see in a female character, and also made complete sense given how she and Alec were raised. Alec being gay and coming to terms with his feelings about Jace was also an excellent addition. His sexuality, while present throughout the series, never felt overdone or forced. It was just who he was. He and Magnus are fantastic together, and they make my heart smile.
Magnus: While not a main character, Magnus is immensely important in these books, and often a crucial part of the plot. But he is also a wonderful character. I think he’s actually my second favorite after Jace. Mainly becuase he is fully at peace with his immortality. I feel like often in stories, immortal characters are broody and miserable about their immortality. Or they have hardened into cold, emotionless beings who don’t give a shit about humanity. Magnus was neither of these things. He enjoys life, all the time, and loves it. Yes, he sometimes struggles with a disconnect but I love that he is always honest. He knows he’s going to live forever, he’s okay with it, and it’s just part of the package.
Plus, I love when he chimes in on the drama. He’s often pointing out how ridiculous the ‘problems’ are in the grand scheme of things. After living for centuries, he knows how bad things can get which means many problems just seem trivial to him. His immortality also makes it so when he is afraid, everybody else should be too. Overall, I thought Magnus was a brilliant element to add to these books.
Below are the link to my reviews for each book on Goodreads!
Have you read The Mortal Instruments? What was your overall opinion, and who was your favorite character?