Review: Books 1-3 of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

TMI 1-3

So before I review these books, I want to make one overall point about this series. I’ve rated this series on an entirely different scale than most books. There’s the books that blow me away because of jaw-dropping characters, or a fantastic plot, or mind-melting world building. And then there’s books that suck me in because they’re just good stories, whether they’re well written or not. TMI happens to be of the latter type. I could rip it apart and complain about plot cliches, overused character tropes, and whatnot, but I won’t. Because honestly I’ve read City of Bones three times over now and I haven’t gotten sick of it – in fact, I like it more each time. So despite the fact that I’ve read better crafted books, TMI is one of my favorites, simply because I can completely lose myself in the story.

Also: spoiler alert for all three books. It’s late, I’m tired, and I don’t feel like censoring myself. Sorry! (As a postscript, now that I’ve written the reviews – these are so informal it’s not even funny. Enjoy the completely unedited and uncensored version of my thoughts!)

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 485
Genre: YA, fantasy, romance
Series? Yes, The Mortal Instruments #1
Publisher: Margaret K. Elderberry Books
Publication Date: March 27, 2007

Synopsis from Goodreads: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

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Dwarf Version

Like I said, this is actually my third time reading City of Bones. Mostly because I kept restarting the series and couldn’t get past CoB! But either way, I still love it just as much as the others. And that’s one thing that Clare really infuses in her books: re-readability.

So I guess what I really love the most about this first book is the introduction to the Shadowhunters and their culture. Basically, Jace is a badass. And Isabelle is a badass. And Alec is a badass. And I love reading about their cumulative badassery. Tbh, Clary is a bit snobby hipster for me, but I still like how realistic she is. She’s pretty helpless, but still does her best either way. And no sudden expert-level skills! Of course she finds her “special” powers, but at least she wasn’t a whiz first thing. Oh and I totally ship Alec + Magnus, and Clary + Jace. Though the creepy incest thing turned me off. Nice revelation there Clare – totally made me feel like some kinky weirdo.

Other thoughts:

  • Is it stele as in *steel* or stele as in *steh-lay*? The world may never know
  • Aww Simon so cute. But you are totally friendzoned because come on have you seen Clary with Jace? Soulmates.
  • Hodge what a douche
  • The movie made Valentine seem more deranged than the book. I like book-Valentine better – more clinically diabolical
  • “My nefarious loins” – pure gold
  • Have I mentioned that I hate cliffhangers?

So book one – I like it more for the characters than the plot. Though the plot is pretty solid too! I just think it meanders a bit in the middle. All in all, a great start to the series.

My Final Rating:

Four Stars

Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 453
Genre: YA, fantasy, romance
Series? Yes, The Mortal Instruments #2
Publisher: Margaret K. Elderberry Books
Publication Date: March 25, 2008

Synopsis from Goodreads: Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

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Dwarf Version

Usually with a sequel I like it either more than the first, or less than the first. City of Ashes ended up being exactly equal with City of Bones – out of the two it’s a tie for my favorite! The inclusion of more Downworlders is really what sold this book for me – the werewolves and Faerie cultures were really interesting. The forbidden romance between Clary and Jace is still creepy – because I ship it so hard but know that *ew* but at the same time PLEASE THERE MUST BE A WAY FOR THEM TO NOT BE SIBLINGS. And honestly? Kudos to Clare for making the love triangle go away in a semi-awesome way.

I love that Simon is a vampire. There, I said it. Sure, it’s a bit convenient. But hey – now he’s not only a wickedly skilled Greater Demon slaying archer, but he’s a sun walker too! So he gets to live, he gets to participate, and now he can be at least on a similar level with the Shadowhunters as far as fighting goes. And can we have a party for the Alec + Magnus being canon?

Other thoughts:

  • I don’t think I’ve hated someone as much as the Inquisitor since Umbridge
  • Yay possibility of Jace not being a Morgenstern! Can we please find out so the kissing can commence?
  • Not that kissing – no Faerie queens involved please
  • I really liked the Silent Brothers. Valentine needs to go down
  • Wow Clary – OP much? I’m thinking a few leaks would have done the trick – no need to rip apart a boat
  • Ohhh Jace unleashes even more badass-ness – thought it makes me think that maybe he really is a Morgenstern after all??
  • How can she use so many different steles? I’d think they’d be more of a “wand chooses the wizard” sort of deal – not a “one size fits all” thing
  • Have I mentioned that I really don’t like the cliffhangers??

Okay so this one focuses more on the newly-discovered Jace and Clary parental issues, but I still liked the overarching plot of the soul sword and Valentine killing downworlders. Plus, Jace giving Simon his blood to heal? BROTP starting right there folks. Though is that the real reason that Simon is a sun walker now? I wish it was explained more. Right – on to City of Glass!

My Final Rating:

Four Stars

Title: City of Glass
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 541
Genre: YA, fantasy, romance
Series? Yes, The Mortal Instruments #3
Publisher: Margaret K. Elderberry Books
Publication Date: March 24, 2009

Synopsis from Goodreads: To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Timesbestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

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Dwarf Version

Let me start off by saying that this was the BEST OF THE THREE. BY FAR. I could not put it down – even at the risk of being late to work. It was that good. The plot was polished, the pacing was break-neck and action packed, and the characters were just perfect. And there was only a tiny cliffhanger – but it was good enough for me with the happy ending! Though everyone has since educated me that CoG was supposed to be the end, and that makes perfect sense. So I’m considering books 1-3 a separate series. That way if books 4-6 disappoint me, it won’t soil these three. I’ll just break it down in bullet points right off the bat:

  • My ships have sailed!!! Magnus/Alec, Jace/Clary, and Simon/Isabelle. Life is so good right now I can’t even
  • A bit confusing, but it makes sense now how Jace and Clary have the angel essence stuff in them
  • And that Sebastian got the demon stuff – God I hate that guy
  • I cried for Max, though I had been spoiled by the family tree in the Clockwork Princess jacket
  • How stupid do the Shadowhunters have to be? I knew the Lake was the Mirror the moment they mentioned it. DUHHHH
  • Awesome, awesome, awesome fight scenes. Clary taking over the rune to control Raziel was pretty amazing – and oh my heart melted when she used her wish to bring back Jace
  • On that subject – I about died when Valentine killed Jace. Like, jaw dropped, heart in my toes, cold sweat – the works.
  • So we still don’t get to find out how Simon is a sun walker? And the mark of Cain can’t be good – Supernatural has taught me that (Dean and Simon should have a chat)
  • I really want to see this one as a movie – please?
  • I really hate it when “responsible” adults are so hard-headed and ignorant *coughtheclavecough*

I think that’s about it! Best of the three by far, and I don’t really have any other complaint other than I wish Simon’s condition was explained a bit more. But, c’est la vie, and I’m just glad that there was a happy ending for this one! And now I’m going to go ruin that by reading City of Fallen Angels. Wish me luck, send me chocolate, and get the tissues ready.

My Final Rating:

Five Stars


5 thoughts on “Review: Books 1-3 of The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

  1. So, seriously, it’s like you plucked the thoughts right out of my head about all three books! Are we the same person?! Lol. These are great reviews! I kinda like unedited Kayla 😉 Btw, I always pronounced it “steel” in my head. Oh, and “cumulative badassery” = awesome sauce 🙂

    • Glad to know you enjoyed it! Maybe I’ll bring out unedited Kayla more often 😉 I know I had a lot of fun writing that way lol.

      Okay, I always pronounced it steel as well. Good to know!

  2. Pingback: Weekly Update 17 (March 9) | The Thousand Lives

  3. Haha this was hilarious Kayla!

    Okay so first off, I’m glad you mentioned the movie Valentine because I thought his character was a total fail in the adaptation. The reason Valentine is so scary is because he exudes calm and cool. He was crazy on the inside not on the outside but the movie totally missed the mark on that.

    I was so glad that all our ships sailed too! Even though Clary’s snobbishness got on my nerves sometimes I do have to admit that you’re right on her being pretty realistic. The last one was my favorite too, SO MANY EPIC THINGS.

    Can’t wait to read your thoughts on the next books in the series. City of Fallen Angels was just a tiny bit slow for me but I LOVED City of Lost Souls. Great reviews! 🙂

    • Glad I could entertain!

      I’m so glad you agree with me about Valentine – that’s what made him terrifying. You didn’t see the true crazy until the very end of City of Glass, but before then I was totally convinced by his act.

      I don’t know when I’ll read the next two books… For sure before CoHF is released, but I’ve reverted back to being scared by what comes next!

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