The Mortal Instruments are a 6-part fantasy series by Cassandra Clare. The novels follow Clary Fray as she stumbles into the world of magic and the supernatural. Over the course of the story, Clary discovers she’s a Shadowhunter – a Nephilim destined to protect the human world from demon invasions. She and her friends – both old and new – must battle the evil that springs forth from a past she doesn’t even remember. Love and life are both on the line as this group of teens fight to save the world!
Interestingly, one element of The Mortal Instruments that I appreciated was the author’s stance on religion – which is to say, it was hardly mentioned at all. (Only Simon is described as having a religious identity – he’s Jewish, but it was mentioned the same way you might say someone’s favorite color is orange.) I felt slightly apprehensive as I started this series; the Shadowhunters are Nephilim, created from both humans and angels, and I’ve already had a disappointing experience reading about angels and humans in Fallen. But when it became clear that faith wasn’t going to play any real part in this story, I relaxed. I’d rather religion be ignored than displayed incorrectly.
In fact, I think what Jace says in the first book – that if God exists, He doesn’t care about them – is exceedingly accurate. As Nephilim, they are not part of God’s chosen people, and therefore God is just as likely to ignore them as anything else. Since they do in fact serve to protect humanity, I can where God would tolerate their existence, as opposed to simply wiping them off the face of the earth, but go no further. (This is assuming a world in which “all the stories are true,” as the foreword in each volume states; you know how I like my fiction to be compatible with my beliefs from the real world!)
Although, despite the story’s avoidance of religion in general, there were what appeared to be an abundance of Bible quotes. However, no reference information is provided – either in the text, or as a footnote or endnote. So there’s no way to know for sure if those quotes were actually from Scripture. At first this frustrated me – it sounded like the Bible, I wanted to know where in the Bible it was from, if it was! But as the story wore on, I realized that since all of those “quotes” – if indeed they are quotes – are pulled out of context and used to refer to something other than intended. For example, they are used as clues for deducing a location or as tidbits explaining parts of Nephilim history. So perhaps it was for the best that those lines aren’t actually labeled as Scripture. If you’re going to use it, use it right or don’t use it at all! XD
Of course, I include strong religious themes in my stories because I’m trying to make the point that God is mightier than magic, and I enjoy the challenge of weaving my faith into my fantasy in such a way that is respectful and appropriate for sharing Christianity. I don’t often quote the Bible in my books (perhaps that will change, so far it just hasn’t seemed right for the story), but if I do, my goal is to do it in such a way that no one comes away disappointed :-).
I have more to share on these books, but in the meantime, what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Until the next time, keep reading ;-).
P.S. – If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends! Here’s a link:
P.P.S. – Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram, and sign up for my email list!
I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.