Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader

Shadowhunters and Downworlders

“If you’ve been reading the Mortal Instruments for any length of time, you know that only two things are certain: Dead doesn’t necessarily mean dead, and you never know whose blood is going to wind up running through your veins.”

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.

Authors Who Contributed:
Holly Black / Kendare Blake / Gwenda Bond / Sarah Rees Brennan / Rachel Caine / Sarah Cross / Kami Garcia / Michelle Hodkin / Kelly Link / Kate Milford / Diana Peterfreund / Sara Ryan / Scott Tracey / Robin Wasserman

Personal Thoughts:

I’ve only read a few essays collections that discuss a book or fiction written by someone else. The last one is The Girl Who Was on Fire which discuss one of my favorite YA dystopian series, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I’m not sure if there are more anthology books out there with this kind of format, but if there is I won’t hesitate reading them since I find this kind of book insightful as a whole.

Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader is a collection of essay pieces by YA authors about Cassandra Clare’s fantasy series, The Mortal Instruments and its world.

The essays in this book discuss different topics from The Mortal Instruments world, characters, story themes, and more TMI related topics. Some of the essays are well thought and rigorous researched. They certainly give me more ideas and point of views about the fiction I already love & enjoy. It is like rediscovering the whole Mortal Instruments series once again.

There are essays too that are fun to read with all the witty opinions or thoughts of the contributing author(s) about Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrument series. Sometimes reading the contributor’s essay is like discussing The Mortal Instruments world with a friend – dissecting every angle, scenes, characters and ideas presented by Cassandra Clare from the first book, City of Bones up to the last book released so far, City of Lost Souls. There are some essays too that makes me appreciate more the last two books that is already out than I did when I read them for the first time. They makes me want to go back and reread the whole series once again with a better understanding and views of the characters and their world. It is like I am a mundane who finally see things around the Shadow world without its glamour.

Though not all of the essays in this material are good or really important. Some topics are just repetition of things that readers of the series like me already know. Not that I don’t want to be reminded of those things, I just wish that they dwelved unto them deeper, explaining more of the why and not how, giving more reasons and deeper explanations than telling how things are presented or happened. Because for someone who have read and reread The Mortal Instruments and even The Infernal Devices like me, I’m pretty familiar with the in and outs of the Shadowhunters & Downworlders world.

Here are the list of essays in this book with there corresponding author:

  • “Unhomely Places” by Kate Milford
  • “The Art of War” by Sarah Cross
  • “Sharper Than a Seraph Blade” by Diana Peterfreund
  • “When Laws Are Made to Be Broken” by Robin Wasserman
  • “Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero” by Michelle Hodkin
  • “Why the Best Friend Never Gets the Girl” by Kami Garcia
  • “Brotherly Love” by Kendare Blake
  • “Asking for a Friend” by Gwenda Bond
  • “(Not) For Illustration Purposes Only” by Rachel Caine
  • “The Importance of Being Malec” by Sarah Ryan“Villains, Valentine and Virtue” by Scott Tracey
  • “Immortality and Its Discontents” by Kelly Link and Holly Black
  • “What Does That Deviant Wench Think She’s Doing? Or, Shadowhunters Gone Wild” by Sarah Rees Brennan

If I have to choose one topic from the above list that I think really stand out, I’ll pick Michelle Hodkin’s essay about Simon Lewis. Michelle obviously do her research well, providing not only facts, but also deeper explanations and reasons about Simon, his role, religion and his character as a vampire.

This book is clearly for fans of The Mortal Instruments series but I think you don’t need to be a fan to enjoy this book. But a little warning, this book should be read only if you read at least one book of The Mortal Instruments world so you’ll get a better grasp of what every author is talking about. There are some spoilers too for The Mortal Instruments books, so be warned.

* This review is based on an electronic book I received courtesy of the publisher, Smart Pop Books / BenBella Books, Inc. via NetGalley.

Book to Movie: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Movie Teaser Trailer)

I’m writing this just after seeing the teaser trailer, which means I am still high right now with all the excitement and goosebumps. So forgive me, If I ramble a bit or much.

As you all know, I love Cassandra Clare‘s The Mortal Instruments series novels. I’m in love with Cassandra Clare‘s writing and the Shadowhunters world she magically created in The Mortal Instruments. The moment that Cassie announced online that there will be a film adaptation coming I squeal with glee. Just imagining seeing those characters that I love, moving live on screen, quoting some of my favorite lines from the book makes me super excited. But when the final casting was announced, I admit I didn’t much like the list. I am one of those who can’t see Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace. Even I approved of his acting & fighting skills, having watched him as the young King Arthur from the Camelot series, I still can’t picture him as the perfect Jace Wayland. Ok. Maybe Jace isn’t perfect, in fact he got real flaws but for me he is always the perfect & the best Shadowhunters in Cassie’s world. It took awhile before I finally accepted the fact that I have no choice but to accept it and just wait and see what will happen.

So now that the teaser trailer is up online, probably spreading fast at the moment I finally see what Cassie means when she say that there is something in Jamie that is so Jace. In that short teaser trailer I see now that Jamie can be Jace. I can’t get enough of his freaking accent alone. He sounded so Jace in my head delivering those lines. You can’t here it on the trailer below but you can watch it from the trailer commentary with Cassandra Clare, posted in mtv.com.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Film Teaser Trailer

More than the stunts and effects that all looks pretty amazing, what really gives me a high is seeing my favorite characters live, moving and in action. This is only a teaser trailer but it already looks so much promising. I can’t wait to see the final trailer, hoping to see Magnus and more of Alec and of course the movie in August next year. It will be a long wait but after seeing this teaser I know I can handle the waiting because it looks so worth it.

What do you think of the teaser trailer?! Are you as excited as me right now for the movie? Have you read the book, what did you think of it? If you haven’t and you are interested in watching the movie, I suggest pick the book first.

In My Mailbox: April 07

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. This meme is about books that you received or bought during the week.

City Of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments Book #4)

by Cassandra Clare

Yes! I got a hardbound copy of Cassandra Clare’s City of Fallen Angels. This is posted as my my want books last month, not exactly the same copy since I really want the signed exclusive edition but still the same book. Though I’m still hoping to get my own copy of the signed exclusive edition. I’m really interested with the enclosed letter from  Jace in that edition and of-course the bonus signature of Cassandra Clare. But I’m really happy now with what I have. I didn’t expect to get a copy two days after its international released. And the best part is, I didn’t even wait long from Fully Booked reservations.  Isn’t it nice? I guess all my other books in my TBR will need to give way for this book. Sorry but I play favouritism ^__^ . Can’t wait to start reading, so I won’t wait till weekend, I’ll be reading this as soon as I’m done covering, which will be few minutes from now.

Wish List: City Of Fallen Angels (Signed Exclusive Edition)

Few weeks ago, I read from Cassandra Clare live journal account about the signed copies of City Of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments book 4) which she will be releasing through Barnes and Nobles online store. This exclusive edition has the author signature and enclosed letter from Jace. This letter is the one Jace leaves in Clary’s room in City Of Glass, Book 3 of The Mortal Instruments series, before he leaves for a life-threatening mission. The content of this letter has never been revealed until now. The letter will be enclosed in the book as a separate piece, designed to look as if it was handwritten on stationery. The letter will be folded with a removable seal. The letter itself will be gummy glued into the inside back cover.

For some reason I didn’t purchase the signed exclusive edition right away. Today I finally decided to order my own copy, but was shocked to find out that the signed copies is not available anymore from Barnes and Nobles online store. The books were already sold out even before it hit the release date on April 5, 2011. Now, I totally regret why I didn’t purchase it back then.

Here is the book description from Goodreads:

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth book in the bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.
City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

City Of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

“People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but its the way you live your life that matters.”

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 Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters 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 new found 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 final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.

Personal Thoughts:

Most of the time when I read a series, the first book is the only great book within it. It’s rare for me to totally love all books, but with The Mortal Instruments I find every books enjoyable. City Of Glass, the third installment in the Mortal Instruments series is absolutely fantastic. This book lives up to the expectation of the first two books of the supposed to be Trilogy (now will be a series of six books). Cassandra Clare is quickly becoming one of my favorite young adult authors. I’m also loving the multiple points of view writing, it’s a lot more exciting to explore the views of different characters who have different perception of the world around them. Cassandra Clare does a good job of keeping each of these point of views exciting and bringing them together at the right moment. The cliffhangers within chapters where the point of view switches to someone else totally works for me.

The setting of City Of Glass take place to Idris and Alicante, home of Jace and other Shadowhunters. I’ve been imagining this place since book one and I just love the rich descriptions of the place. Every details that Cassandra Clare used makes the place more alive to me. More than 500 pages long, this book is the longest book in the series so far but the pacing of the book is fast enough to stop the story from dragging. Something that is hard to put down once you start reading it.

One of the reasons why I love this series so much is the superb cast of characters. They are all great. All are well crafted and developed one stage at a time, detail by detail. Each characters has distinct voice and easy to recognize. It’s easy to know who is talking right away with each switch of point of view.

Jace is a favorite of mine in this series. He is totally awesome in this book. His character development is beautifully crafted. From being tough, sarcastic and self-loving to the City Of Bones, he also shows more of his softer and less secure side. With his inner struggle fighting his evil side, it’s easy to feel his heart ache. Sometimes emotionally disturbing and frustrating. Clary is still a strong character, sometimes stubborn but somehow still likeable. She become more stronger and braver in this book. She makes mistakes and learned from it. Magnus Bane is still as witty as he is. Inspite of my silly bad hopes for his character I’m glad he doesn’t turn out the bad guy. I love his character so much that I somehow I expect a lot from him. But he is still lovely as he is. He is wise, confident and consistently in character. Alec also grows into the shadowhunter that he was born to be. He acts more as a responsible older brother and he finally face his inner fear which is confronting his ownself. The conversation between him and Jace revealing Alec’s gender is well delivered. Simon also transformed not just literally but his character grows together with the other characters. His conversation with Jace adds more fun into the story.

Valentine’s other side of character is also revealed. The depth in his evil doing are somehow justify. He is not just the typical paper-thin villain afterall. In his own twisted way, Valentine believes that he is doing the Shadowhunters and the world good. His ideas to clean the unseen world and help the humanity is good but for someone who is able to do a lot of evil things might be unable to care for other. Nevertheless Valentine loved his family dearly. When his wife Jocelyn ran away, he spent years searching for her. He was also fully capable of killing Jace, which was in his best interests, but he could not bear to. It simply shows that Valentine, like all people real or imaginary, is not purely black or white, but a moral shade of gray.

The story is quite predictable. I’ve seen much of it coming way ahead, with all the hints given from City Of Ashes. Clary and Jace relation, Jace real identity, his real parents, Shadowhunters and Downworlders unity, Valentines defeat and even Sebastian’s real identity and the location of the third mortal instruments. The only thing that didn’t happen which I thought it would be is that Magnus Bane is one of the evil character. When Clary and Sebastian find Magnus Bane at Ragnor Fell house I thought for awhile that he is actually on Valentines side or he has his own bad motive.

Overall, In-spite of being predictable and derivative this book is beautifully written. I don’t know how Cassandra Clare works magic with this novel, but it is definitely done well. With the right pacing, continuous flow of events, engaging and unforgettable characters, unexpected funny lines, clever detailed fantasy world, thoroughly engrossing writing style this book is impressive. I have enjoyed the series so far and looking forward for the next three books of the series.

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

“Fate is never fair. You are caught in a current much stronger than you are; struggle against it and you’ll drown not just yourself but those who try to save you. Swim with it. and you’ll survive”

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?

Personal Thoughts:

City Of Ashes is a pretty nice installment to the Mortal Instruments series. Just like its prequel (City Of Bones), it is jam-packed with adventure, standout characters and a solid plot. The writing is as good as the first book. The characters were all well written. There are definitely a lot of them but they are still memorable and easy to distinguish. The old characters from City of Bones are back and there are new characters introduced. There is the Inquisitor, Maryse, Robert, Maia and Seelie Queen. Clary is still a strong protagonist, she is now discovering more of her mysterious power. While Jace become more revealing in this book. He shows a lot of emotions while keeping his strong persona and sarcastic and funny humour at the same time. He also discover more of his abilities and power which the Seelie Queen called “Angel’s own gift”. The other characters are still visible and continue to add more colours to the story.

As for the story, City Of Ashes is much more relationship driven compare to the first book. There were a very good balance between the dangerous actions and the private lives of characters. It continue to emphasize the sibling dilemma between Clary and Jace; the family issue between the lightwoods and Jace; and the father-and-son conflict between Valentine and Jace. There is also Clary dealing with Jace and Simon, Simon dealing with his new life and Alec dealing with his own internal issues. More aspects of the Downworlders are also presented in this book; there are more faeries, werewolves, warlocks, vampires and demons. We also got a chance to see a part of the faerie world. All these and more add more depth and character to the unseen world that Cassandra Clare created.

The magic element of the book is still creatively used in the story. The fantasy magical world seems alive with all the detail and artistic description that Clare used. The fun magic system like the runes, stele and markings are really amazing. I appreciate the idea of giving names for the Seraph Blades even if it’s a bit confusing somehow.

As for the ending, it doesn’t provide much of the resolution. The sibling dilemma between Clary and Jace is not yet solve. But with a few hints given in this book I have the feeling that my theories are correct. Although I love the first book more than this one, I did enjoy it all the same. City Of Ashes is still a great book and a good sequel. It got everything expected from a paranormal series. It has danger, romance, actions, adventures, fantasies, magic and funny moments. With all this, I am excited to continue with City Of Glass to find out more.