City of Bones & City of Ashes – Cassandra Clare

I don’t recall ever hearing of Cassandra Clare before reading Melissa Anelli’s Harry, A History, but as a fan fiction writer myself, I am intrigued by stories of those who start out writing in that genre and move onto success as a true published author.  But it was more than that.  Having read fan fictions of varying qualities, I feel fairly confident that most of the stories out there are very poorly written and I confess that I wanted to see if publishing standards had fallen as low as the Twilight saga would suggest that they have.  To that end I was quite skeptical of the story, but now have to recant my skepticism.


Clare’s protagonist, Clary, seems ordinary but we soon come to learn that she can see things that others can’t, and we are sucked into a world where demons and monsters are real, and a secret society called Shadowhunters battle them.  Clary learns that her mother was part of this world too but left it to escape Clary’s father – the evil Valentine (quite an ironic name).   Valentine was presumed dead, but has been resurfacing and is pursuit of the Mortal Instruments, items that would give him dominion over the demons.  In the end of the first book he manages to procure the first of three items: the Mortal Cup.  In the second book he gets the second, the soul sword.


With a title like The Mortal Instruments it should not have struck me as such a surprise, perhaps, but the book is riddled with references to religion.  Most obvious are the ideas of demons and angels, but it goes to far as to say that certain churches have kits assembled for Shadowhunters who are in need.  Vampires are also present in this story and they are literally damned, unable to see the sun, enter places on hallowed ground (like churches), or comfortably travel on water because it is pure.  Given the religious aspects of the story thus far, it will be interesting to see what happens in the next book: City of Glass.


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