The Mortal Instruments
|Genre||Fantasy, young-adult fiction, urban fantasy|
|Published||March 27, 2007 – Present|
|Media type||Print (hardcover and paperback)
|Followed by||The Infernal Devices|
The Mortal Instruments is a series of six young adult fantasy novels written by Cassandra Clare, of which five have been published so far. The Mortal Instruments is chronologically the second series of a proposed five in The Shadowhunter Chronicles.
- City of Bones (published March 27, 2007)
- City of Ashes (published March 25, 2008)
- City of Glass (published March 23, 2009)
- City of Fallen Angels (published April 5, 2011)
- City of Lost Souls (published May 8, 2012)
- City of Heavenly Fire (scheduled for May 27, 2014)
Clarissa "Clary" Adele Fray (also referred to as Fairchild and Morgenstern) is described as having long, curly red hair and bright green eyes. She is very small and thin and often viewed as younger than she actually is. Clary is an artist and in the first book, City of Bones, she believes she is a mundane, or a human without angelic powers. It is later revealed she is in fact a Shadowhunter, or a human with angelic qualities. Clary is described as being incredibly stubborn and often rushes into dangerous situations without thinking about the consequences. Her best friend in the series is Simon Lewis and she is dating Jace Lightwood. She is devastated by the fact that the guy she loves is actually her brother. But eventually she realizes that it is not true. Soon a new power is revealed... she can make ancient runes, runes used by angels, and create her own runes.
Jonathan "Jace" Herondale (also been referred as Wayland, Morgenstern, and Lightwood) is a Shadowhunter and described as being tall and muscular with scars across his golden skin from worn-out runes, or magical Marks. He has curly blond hair and golden eyes, and, like Clary, he is part angel. Jace is one of the best fighters the Nephilim have and is always ready to defend his family. Jace is often flirty and insensitive, and is described to have "pretend" arrogance. Throughout the books, Jace's family remains unknown though often refers to isabelle, Alec, and Max as his siblings and Maryse and Robert Lightwood as his Parents. In City of Bones, he believes he is a Wayland but at the end of the book Valentine Morgenstern reveals to him that he is Jace's father. However, in City of Glass, Jace is told his father is actually Stephen Herondale. Throughout the book, Jace's last name remains uncertain, but in City of Glass, he decides that he wants to take the last name of his adoptive family, the Lightwoods. He as well as Clary has special powers which make him swift and graceful.
Simon Lewis is thin, but tall boy with curly brown hair, brown eyes and glasses. He is often seen wearing T-shirts with gamer slogans. In City of Lost Souls, Simon describes himself as being "hipster" but his best friend, Clary, tells him he is a geek. Simon is the only character to begin his life as a mundane, but in City of Ashes he is transformed into a vampire. Simon is quirky and caring, often putting other people before himself. In City of Fallen Angels, Simon finds himself in a love triangle with the characters of Maia Roberts and Isabelle Lightwood; however, in City of Lost Souls it becomes apparent that he and Isabelle are a couple.
Isabelle "Izzy" Sophia Lightwood is a Shadowhunter; tall, thin, and beautiful. She has long black hair and dark brown eyes, and is often carrying her trademark gold electrum whip. Isabelle is described as being incredibly girly but with a fierce attitude. She is often considered flirty and never seems committed with relationships, although in City of Lost Souls, she admits to being in love with Simon Lewis.
Alexander "Alec" Gideon Lightwood is the oldest Lightwood Shadowhunter. Alec has floppy black hair and beautiful blue eyes. He is described as being quiet but protective of his younger siblings Isabelle and Max, the latter of whom dies in City of Glass. Alec believes he is in love with Jace in the first book, City of Bones, until he meets Magnus Bane and in City of Glass kisses him in front of his parents, confirming that he is gay. In City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls, Alec becomes insecure about his and Magnus's relationship because of Magnus's immortality. This insecurity leads him to consider turning Magnus mortal against his will, which causes Magnus to break up with him in City of Lost Souls.
Magnus Bane is the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Magnus is an 800-year-old warlock who appears 19. He is tall and thin with Asian features, jet black hair, and amber and green cat eyes. Magnus Bane is often described to wear glitter and throws countless parties. Magnus begins a relationship with Alec Lightwood, therefore he feels obliged to become the New York Shadowhunters pet warlock in order to impress Alec. Magnus appears in the prequel to The Mortal Instruments—The Infernal Devices—and there is a series of 10 short stories describing some of the events that occurred in Magnus Bane's long life titled The Bane Chronicles.
Valentine Morgenstern is described as having white hair and dark eyes. Valentine is evil and very manipulative. He was the former leader of 'The Circle' a group of Shadowhunters who despised Downworlders. Valentine was married to Clary's mother, Jocelyn, and they had two children: Jonathan and Clarissa. Valentine is believed to be dead in City of Bones but at the end the reader finds out he is alive and the father of Jace Wayland. In the following installment, City of Ashes, we discover that Valentine is stealing the Mortal Instruments in order to raise the angel Raziel. In City of Glass, Valentine's real son Jonathan, or Sebastian Verlac who he pretends to be in order to gain access into Idris and earn the Shadowhunters trust, shows up and we discover that Valentine fed demonic blood to Jocelyn when she was pregnant with Jonathan in order to create a new breed of "Dark" Shadowhunters which are more powerful than ordinary Shadowhunters. Valentine is killed by the angel Raziel after he raises him from Lake Lyn.
Jocelyn Fray (also referred to as Fairchild-Morgenstern) is Clary's mother and Valentine's wife. Jocelyn is a beautiful woman with fiery red hair and green eyes, just like her daughter. She is described as a very caring, sometimes overprotective mother. Jocelyn grew up as a Shadowhunter; as a young woman she got involved in Valentine's "Circle" and soon after married him. She has two children: Jonathan and Clarissa; however, while she was pregnant with Clarissa, she found out about Valentine's trecherous schemes and left him in order to protect the unborn Clary. She ran away to New York where she established a new life and tried to raise Clary as a mundane.
City of Bones was highly popular at the time of release, reaching #8 on the New York Times Best Seller list (Children's books) in April 2007. City of Ashes was one of the YALSA's top ten teen books for 2009.
Publishers Weekly commented that it "is a sprawling urban fantasy packed with just about every type of creature known to the genre". Locus praised the book as "a highly readable first novel". Booklist said that there was "plenty of romance, loss, honor, and betrayal to make the journey worthwhile. An experienced storyteller, Clare moves the plot quickly to a satisfying end." School Library Journal said "Though the story is hampered by predictability and overblown writing, Clare continues her talent for mixing hip, modern humor with traditional fantasy, and fans eagerly awaiting the series conclusion should come away more than satisfied." A review in the School Library Journal noted that the book contained a variety of narrative flaws including characters that were "sporadically characterized" and whose behavior was predictable. In spite of this they noted that the book was entertaining and would leave readers anticipating the next installment. The series has been in the New York Times Best Sellers List for 102 consecutive weeks as of September 5th 2013, and No. 1 for 9 weeks straight knocking series as The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson and The Olympians off the top spot. The last time The Mortal Instruments spent 100 consecutive weeks on the best sellers list was in May 2012. On August 29th 2013, City of Bones topped the USA Today’s Best Sellers List, which made it the Best Seller Book of the country at the time. Four other Mortal Instruments books also made the list. City of Ashes was No. 8, City of Glass was No. 20, City of Fallen Angels was 35 and City of Lost Souls was No. 46.
Popular culture references
In City of Ashes, the Faerie Realm and its inhabitants are characters from Holly Black's faerie series, beginning with Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale. Also, the characters Val and Luis from Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie appear in another scene in that book. Within Holly Black's third book, Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale, there is a reference to the Mortal Cup mentioned in the Mortal Instruments series.
Further books in the series
Cassandra Clare has written a series of prequels called The Infernal Devices set in the same universe as The Mortal Instruments, but in the Victorian era. This series consists of three books: Clockwork Angel, published on August 31, 2010, Clockwork Prince, published December 6, 2011, and Clockwork Princess, published March 19, 2013. There is the potential for an as yet untitled sequel(TLH) series to The Infernal Devices set in the same universe detailing the adventures of the next generation of Shadowhunters almost two decades after the events of Clockwork Princess. One of the main characters from The Infernal Devices also takes part in the last three Mortal Instruments books (with another one joining in the last book), in addition to Magnus Bane that takes part in all Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices books.
Cassandra Clare has announced a new series of sequels called The Dark Artifices set in the same universe as The Mortal Instruments, but five years in the future. This series will be a trilogy with all new characters and the focus will shift from New York to the Los Angeles Institute. They are to be called Lady Midnight, Prince of Shadows, and The Queen of Air and Darkness. The first book is scheduled to be published in 2015.
In 2010, Screen Gems announced that they were going into production on a film adaptation of City of Bones, Harald Zwart was announced as the film's director, with Lily Collins starring as Clary Fray and Jamie Campbell Bower starring as Jace. The film was released in theaters August 21, 2013.
- "Children's Books". nytimes.com. April 22, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
- ALA Teen's Top Ten 2008
- "Children's Book Reviews: Week of 4/9/2007". Publishers Weekly. 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2008-01-11.[dead link]
- Locus - "The Mortal Instruments, Book One: City of Bones", Faren Miller, June 2007
- "Booklist Review: City of Glass". Booklist. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Langhans, Eliza. "Grades 5 & Up". School Library Journal. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Clare, Cassandra. City of Bones.(Brief article)(Children's review)(Book review)". School Library Journal. 2007-05-01. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
- Henderson, William. "Want to Know How Cassandra Clare's Widely Anticipated Clockwork Princess Begins?". Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Driscoll, Molly (March 15, 2012). "Cassandra Clare offers a few hints about her next Shadowhunters series". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Bettinger, Brendan. "Screen Gems Positioning CITY OF BONES as the First Film in a MORTAL INSTRUMENTS Franchise". Collider. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- Meza, Ed (April 20, 2012). "Constantin boards Clare, Black project: 'The Iron Trial' centers on boy magician". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- The Mortal Instruments at IMDB
- Official UK Facebook page for the movie series
- Official UK Twitter page for the movie series