Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Student Review: The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

The Shadowhunter series by Cassandra Clare mixes the fantasy elements of Harry Potter with quick wit of Jennifer L. Armentrout and romance like Sarah J. Maahs. This brilliant world produces serious thoughts masked under layers of humor and unlikely situations. Shadowhunter Chronicles contain four series: one currently being written, another started, and two completely finished. The setting is in New York where vampires, werewolves, fairies, demons, and people with angel blood are masked from the rest of society by Glamours. These series contain all genres in a single roller coaster like world with sharp twists, surprising turns with anticipating climbs and heart wrenching drops.

The world starts with City of Bones, the first book in The Mortal Instruments Series. Clary Fray and Simon Lewis enter the Shadowhunter world unknowingly when Jace Wayland meets them at the Pandemonium Club. Clary can see past these Glamours the Shadowhunters put up, and soon learns that she herself is one along with Jace. Through time, Cassandra introduces Jace’s family and friends, and the entire Shadowhunter world, mainly including Alec, Izzy, Jordan, Mia, and Magnus Bane. They obviously love each other like family, but cannot help but bicker constantly. For instance, in the first book when the Shadowhunters meet Clary, “What's this?" he demanded, looking from Clary to his companions, as if they might know what she was doing there."It's a girl," Jace said, recovering his composure. "Surely you've seen girls before, Alec. Your sister Isabelle is one.”  Together they fight against chaos from demons and other supernatural elements. Next, this world takes a rewind to the 1800’s with William Herondale, Jem Carstairs, and Tessa Gray. It includes saving the Shadowhunter’s main home, dealing with the spreading of drugs in London, and one of the best love triangles I have ever read. The interesting part of the Infernal Devises, that series’ name, is how the main characters in that series are the ancestors of the ones in The Mortal Instruments. Fast forwarding into 2007, you meet Emma Carstairs and Julian Blackthorn, the two kids who have an everlasting parabarti bond that is soon to be ruined as soon as they fall in love in the first book, leaving a mess for them to clean up single-handedly.

Even though I love almost every single part of these books, I will say there are some things that I would change. First, I would shorten a lot of the books. The first two books in the Mortal Instruments are frankly, dull. Characters are being introduced constantly and a world is being brought up all around us. At times it is hard to pay attention to the plot of the book when you get distracted by the small nuggets of gold placed precariously throughout it. Of course, that is imperative to do in a book. If there was no world building then this series would be trash. Also, I felt like Cassie added a few things that were unnecessary, and then took away a few things that I thought were necessary. For instance, in the last book when the squad is traveling in Hell, you get to know every little thing about their travels. But, you get no point of view from the antagonist, which leads to getting bored with where the book is going, and leads to less character development in evil characters. But, Cassie needed to do that to leave curious holes so she could fill them in later.

Cassandra Clare has a speciality for ripping people’s hearts. She developed this skill writing various fanfictions at a young age for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. She started off writing her own series in 2004, starting with City of Bones. She has collaborated with several other authors, mainly Holly Black, and has written a elementary-age series called Magisterium. On her ‘free writing’ time, she writes short stories about Simon Lewis, one of the main characters in Mortal Instruments, and tells about his experiences in the Shadow world. The enjoyable thing about reading Cassie’s work is how all of her books tie together, even the ones not in the Shadow world. Characters will be mentioned from other series, or random events will happen that already happened in her previous work. The Mortal Instrument books have been turned into a movie, receiving a whopping 12% on Rotten Tomatoes. In other words, it completely flopped and no other movie was made. In early 2015, they attempted again and made it into a t.v. show by the name of Shadowhunters. This got waaay more success and season two is coming this January, exciting fans everywhere.

This entire world I believe is fabulous. The writing style that Cassandra Clare possesses is absolutely intriguing. These books contain different points of view from main and side characters, making for an intensely powerful way of reading. The plot twists in this series is the main talent Cassie has. She makes you fall in love with different aspects of a book and then rips away your hopes and dreams in a single sentence. She changes your opinion of bad guys constantly. At first you are scared, then excited, frustrated, sad, and then happy with them. By the end of it all, you actually feel for the bad guys, a thing that doesn’t usually happen in books. She makes you think good guys are bad guys and the other way around. Granted, it gets frustrating sometimes. My favorite characters were the ones that were plotting to rule the world, which was fun, yet entirely heartbreaking. One of my favorite lines from the series is spoken by Jace Wayland. It says, “To love is to destroy.” It is very relevant throughout the series because every time Jace shows affection, he immediately masks it through sarcastic answers and neglection of his friends. But then again, Jace cannot help but be a romantic, saying: “And I'm suppose to sit by while you date boys and fall in love with someone else, get married...? And meanwhile, I'll die a little bit more everyday, watching.”

Love is what carries these books, and that is why relationships in these books are so strong. Whether it is the relationship between mother daughter, father daughter, father son, and daughter son, everything is intensely dramatic and heartbreaking in its own way. This world brings to light family situations that I had never thought of before. For example, Clary’s mother is single and has to raise a teenager but also is dealing with starting a new relationship. Clary’s father left her with iffy siblings and a troubled past that Clary has to sort through. The love (or hate) everyone has for each other is unreal, creating an unbelievable bond between the characters and then yourself and the characters.

Gathering all my thoughts about this series has been quite hard. After reading the entirety of this world about seven times, I can say with all my heart that this is my favorite series of all time. Not only has this series provided insane entertainment for me, and birthed some of the best quotes of all time such as, “Usually I'm remarkably good natured. Try me on a day that doesn't end in y.” On a more serious note, it has also shown me how hard people’s lives can be, and I’m just not exposed to it. They make you think more deeply than you would assume of a YA fantasy book. Such as quotes like,“There is plenty of sense in nonsense sometimes. If you choose to look for it.” These books with leave you hungry for more, and i swear that by the end of it, you will be asking for seconds.
by: Aubrey S.

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