The Mortal Instruments were a New York Times bestselling series, and there’s ad copy across the front and back ends of the books saying that “fifty million readers can’t be wrong,” yet there were many elements to these books that made it hard for me to truly enjoy them.
A lot of what I had trouble swallowing had to do with how the author created relationship drama. There was the barely contained passionate incest between Clary and Jace that lasted for books 2 & 3 (I almost gave up then and there, I kid you not – if I hadn’t read ahead and discovered they weren’t really siblings, I probably would have stopped). There’s at least one same-sex relationship, and I’m not into that, especially when it’s so descriptive ><. There’s the part where Simon is kind of two-timing with Isabelle and Maia, and the “we’re not really dating/ it's just casual” excuse was way past its expiration date. There’s poor Isabelle feeling burdened with the knowledge of her father’s affair. There’s Maia jumping into bed with Jordan so soon after they are reunited, yet as the series ends you learn she was planning to break up with him already (his untimely death just happened to save her that step). All these elements are drawn from the real world, yet there are no consequences for these “wrong” actions and that gives the audience the impression that all of this is considered acceptable. And that’s not what I want to see when the whole reason I’m reading is to escape from reality.
Then there’s the Clave. For whatever good they may accomplish, the Clave remains as a governing body that accepts racial discrimination, unfair punishments, and the torture of children to verify the accuracy of information. And there’s no indication that this particular system of government will be altered or improved in the future. Not all the members of the Clave are so cold-hearted, and we all know that discrimination and unfairness are very human tendencies, but still. One tends to expect better from the supposed guardians of mankind.
And, for the romantic in me, I struggled with Clary and Jace’s relationship. I really, REALLY liked Jace as a character (I guess I have a thing for the “tortured hero struggling to overcome his past” – ahem, Jesse! – plus he has so many amazing one-liners, I’m totally jealous XD) and it was so frustrating to wait for their relationship to finally *happen*. It literally takes all 6 books for them to really be together. If it’s not one thing, it’s another: there’s that whole we-think-we’re-siblings issue, or there’s Sebastian controlling Jace’s will, or Jace is having issues because he's haunted by his past, etc. I wanted them to have a happily-ever-after, and it did eventually get there, but it’s almost too little, too late. There were only a couple of scenes in the entire 6 volume arc where Clary and Jace truly had the chance to be happy together – and when the struggle far outweighs the success, I kind of start to give up.
All that to say, they were exciting, action-packed books. The plot was driven (a touch slow in the first book, but the pace picks up quickly after that!), the villains were wicked and the darkness was personal, the characters were colorful (perhaps too colorful, in some cases O_o) – yet it wasn’t all that “fun” to read. Maybe I’m picky, but there were just so many elements that detracted from the story that I couldn’t really enjoy it. And if it’s not fun to read, what’s the point?
I guess that explains why I write what I write – because I want to be able to enjoy it! What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section! Until the next time, keep reading!
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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.