Series Review: The Mortal Instruments

Series: The Mortal Instruments
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books 2007- 2013
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Urban
Series Rating: HalfHeart
Source + Date Read: Library + September 2013
Recommend: It’s a great mish-mesh of paranormal, fantasy, urban, YA romance. So if you want some bisexual warlocks in your morning tea, you’ll love this (or Magnus really).
Series Pro’s: Detailed world building, and 2 shout outs for diversity! We’ve got non-white characters, multi-ethnic characters, gay characters and green faeries. Dude, Clare did a good job in the diversity rating.
Series Con’s: I oscillate between wanting to shoot Clary and Jace and hugging them. Such wavering emotions are not good for readers like me.
Favourite Line: “Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt.”
Blurb: 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?

City Of Bones :

City of Bones is a decent, or good, introduction into a complex and long series. This book checks more boxes in the YA MUST HAVES list than the YA MUST NOT HAVES list. By that I mean, Clare weaves a very detailed world where nothing is ever what it seems. There is glamour, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, shadowhunters and bad guys.

I also appreciated that the bad guy was given a some-what human face in the series, in that we end up finding some riveting stuff about parentage, heritage and so on. I don’t want to spoil anything but I did enjoy this installment. I do have one quip though, I find angsty Jace to be thoroughly annoying and immature. I know there are a lot of die-hard Jace fans, but I am not one of them. I am also, on the fence about Clary. I would also, not say that the characters are relatable, especially at what they do at 15.

City Of Ashes HalfHeart:

There are so many things going for City of Ashes. This book is by far, my favourite in the series? Why? I will break this down for you easily:

  • Introduction of New Awesome Diverse Characters (Maia, I  you!)
  • Expansion on the world building.
  • Characters take time to truly evaluate their emotions.
  • Good fight scenes.

I was a bit surprised to see that this wasn’t as popular with other bloggers as City Of Bones was, but I am a true sucker for detail and authors going into the history and back story of things. Clare attempted to address issues that she left hanging in City of Bones and for that I commend her. Many say this was the most boring book in the series, but I find it the most illuminating.

I must really commend Clare for her inclusion of multiethnic characters. She doesn’t make their ethnicity a focus in the series, but to have a biracial character, even if it’s only mentioned in a sentence and that is all, is truly inspiring.

City Of Glass :

This book develops at a world wind pace and Clare neatly ties up some serious loose ends from the first and second books. I found the book to be quite enjoyable and filled with the usual tensions, action and love.

The whole concept of a ‘downworlder’ is also thoroughly explored and I really did like that part. Maybe it is because I like books where the oppressed gain a smidgen of internal and external power. I find it fascinating that werewolves, vampires and the Fae are considered lesser-than because of their demon blood. Yet the antagonist in the series is someone with angel-blood. So, darkness does not always beget darkness I believe. Well that’s what I’m taking from it.

City Of Fallen Angels  HalfHeart:

It all goes downhill folks. I enjoyed the first three books of this 6 part series, however, I believe that Clare should have left the series at that. Her expansion of the Mortal Instruments world is interesting, however, this book lacks plot and is filled with so much teenage angst, that as an adult, I find it thoroughly revolting. Look, I was a teenager once, I too had a fancy for self-doubt and guilt, however, I do not want to actually read it again now as a 24 year old!

I will not shame this book completely, and I will say that Clare’s development of Simon as a lead character instead of a side-pet is empowering and interesting. I just wish he would stop whining so much.

City of Lost Souls HalfHeart:

Oh my goodness I didn’t like this book. I only managed to finish it because (1) I refused to give up on it and (2) I wanted to read the final installment in The Mortal Instruments series, and I figured reading this would help in understanding what the heck will be going on.

I do have a few confessions: (1) I skipped every single chapter told from Clary’s perspective. Why? Because of instead of her character evolving, she devolved (is this a word?). I know that many would disagree with me but I am extremely disappointed in this character. Throughout the series she showed increasingly erratic, selfish, immature and bratty behaviour and those ugly traits rear their ugly heads in this instalment. I could not stand to read any chapter involvign Clary or Jace. The only thing to redeem this book? Magnus. Without him, I would have dropped the series all together. He is the only character that shows a modicum of grow. What is the author doing?!?!


I did enjoy this series, but I had to lower its rating upon reflection because I have so many issues with it, from the way it is written to the development of characters. Magnus and Luke are the shining jewels of the series and make it thoroughly enjoyable and worth it. Without them, I really would utter some expletives and give up.

Next week Friday I will do a Film Vs Book smash up for the City of Bones. Beware, blondie (ahem, Jace) will not be spared from any criticism from my part.




About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, SFF, YA and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Series Review: The Mortal Instruments

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  5. DoingDewey says:

    Your description of the diversity of characters in this book makes it sound like the author really did a great job! I think the wishy-washy emotions would bother me too though.

  6. I actually gave up after book 3, which I found horrible. I also thought it should have ended there, because the ending was good and the story felt.. done for me. Seeing that it went downhill from there, I’m happy I decided to stop reading 🙂 Great review!


  7. Kelley says:

    City of Glass was probably my favorite in the series, just because I liked all the imagery in Alicante, and the EPIC BATTLES were pretty cool. I can’t believe you skipped every single Clary chapter in City of Lost Souls! Ummmmmmmmm those are kind of extra important in that book, lol.

    I do agree that Magnus is the best character in the entire series. I pretty much hate Alec for how he treats Magnus.

    Are you gonna read the final book when it comes out next year???

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      I will read it, I want some closure and I reallly, reallllly need to find out where Magnus ends up. I lub him.

      I had to skip those chapters man, I got so frustrated with her character! I read all the bits where Sebastian and her were talking and I pretty mich figured out what was going on near the final battle, but I officially became a Clary-Hater and a Jace-Despiser because of it.

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