I wish I could recommend The Mortal Instruments Series, I really do. They’re well written, fast-paced with likeable teen characters and there’s an amazing love story between two of the main characters. But and this is a really big ‘but’: there’s too much in these books that makes me say no thank you.
The Mortal Instruments Series is a paranormal young adult series featuring vampires, faeries, werewolves, demons, angels, so called shadow hunters and ordinary people (‘mundanes’). There is magic, curses, glamour, ancient runes that have power, more types of demons than you can remember and much, much more.
That in itself would be a reason for many Christians not to read it, but for me the many religious references did the trick. Swearing by ‘the Angel’, the many references to Biblical stories and verses but used in a completely non-Christian way (the writing on the wall Daniel witnessed occurs for instance, the ‘mene mene tekel upharsin’), the whole storyline with a captured angel, the references to Lucifer, it all made me very uncomfortable.
The Bible is too often twisted, distorted, for instance where Lilith appears, supposedly Adam’s first wife and now a demon. That’s not something I want young people to read about. All in all, it was too much for me to ignore.
It’s a shame, because the books really are entertaining, if somewhat predictable at times. There are some ideas and concepts that are clearly taken from other books in the same genre. Bad guy Valentine is an awful lot like Voldemort with the same inner circle storyline Harry Potter had. The are-they-brother-and-sister-or-not thing between Clary and Jace made me think of the Luke and Leia story in Star Wars.
But the relationships and friendships between the main characters are fun, entertaining and keep you wanting more. There’s love and friendship, betrayal and loss, heartbreak and confusion. I cam completely understand why teens and girls especially love these books and why they’re in the Top 100 of Teen Fiction. I would love them too, if not for the ‘darker’ content.
As for language and sex, two aspects I always take into account when reviewing books, this series was a real contradiction. There’s hardly any sex, some kissing is described and sex is mentioned, but not described (at least not in the first three books, I stopped reading after those). There was hardly crude language (no s-word or f-word here, quite surprisingly), but there were quite a few mentions of the name of Jesus as an exclamation. It’s part of the religious undertone of these books that I really didn’t appreciate.
The first book in the series, City of Bones has been made into a movie that has just been released. It completely tanked though, so it’s not sure if there will be any sequels. Five books have come out so far with the last book in the series scheduled for release next year. Author Cassandra Clare has also written another series called The Infernal Devices that’s a sort of prequel to The Mortal Instruments Series, but I haven’t read that one yet. I expect it to be pretty much the same though.