You know a book is big when you see a life-size poster of it at the entrance of your local Wal-Mart. Let's face it. Books usually don't get the fanfare surrounding the hype of DVD and video game releases. They're second class citizens when it comes to the promotion juggernaut of the entertainment industry. So it's encouraging to behold the superstar status of young adult author, Cassandra Clare. Her Mortal Instruments series is on fire with film adaptations in the works and endorsements by Twilight's Stephenie Meyer gracing the covers. Her level of fame is about to break through the stratosphere.
So let's explore what created this phenomenon. In the fourth book, City of Fallen Angels, the strangest love story of all time continues. Strange? Well, yes. Good girl Clary meets bad boy Jace and sparks fly. Just when things start to get interesting, they find out they're brother and sister. Yikes! Yet they can't stop thinking about each other. They know it's wrong - and not to mention illegal - but they think about pursuing their physical attraction anyway when lo and behold, (***spoiler alert***) it's revealed they're actually not siblings after all. Phew! DNA won't stand in the way of this romance. You would think Jace would be relieved, happy, ecstatic with the revelation, but he begins pulling away from Clary. Something's up. The question is - will Clary get Jace to tell her what's really going on or is she better off not knowing what evil tendencies may lurk in her beloved's heart? Things never seem to run smoothly for those enraptured in the continual tumult of adolescent infatuation.
Teenage relationships. They're Clare's bread and butter, and she's not one to shy away from controversy either. Take poised, polished and ultra-conservative Alec with his centuries-old warlock boyfriend, Magnus Bane. Yep, they're gay. And you know what? It works. That's because Clare shows the reality behind the supernatural underpinnings. They're two guys trying to sort out their feelings for each other. Alec is hesitant at first to come out of the closet, but he loves Magnus enough that he is willing to take that chance. He feels threatened by the scores of former lovers his beau has accumulated over hundreds of years, but Magnus perseveres in reassuring his much younger companion that he is committed to making things work.
Isabelle, Alec's sister, is on the other side of the spectrum. She's a wild child known to date all species of the paranormal realm. She's experimented with all different types of admirers. At first, she couldn't stand Clary's best friend/ex-boyfriend/newly created vampire, Simon. But when a werewolf chick starts showing interest, she's all into him. The verbal sparring between the two heats up the page as Isabelle tries to figure out how to love a boy who is so much her opposite while wondering if he's truly still in love with Clary. Ah, the love triangles in young adult fiction.
These characters are all entwined in various relationships, but what's really going on with them? Well, Clary and Jace along with his foster siblings, Isabelle and Alec, are what are called Nephilim - a race with angel blood meant to destroy the demons who have made their way to Earth. They're pretty much like heavenly ninja warriors. They have allegiances with warlocks like Magnus and vampires like Simon, but they're leery to trust these inferior races of Downworlders. However, they'll band together with anyone determined to beat back a demon onslaught that could cause their annihilation.
And one such cataclysmic occurrence was once feared to be perpetrated by Clary's father, Valentine. However, the threat also came from another direction - an unexpected ally of Valentine's who was hidden away for just such a purpose. The teenage avengers uncovered his identity (which is shocking, by the way) giving Jace the chance to eliminate him. But is this secret assassin really dead? Is he truly gone? Will what Clary did to save Jace's life after this epic showdown set in motion a series of events that can no longer be stopped? Will a good act turn into a torment that will afflict the core of Jace's very soul? Will it sunder their love forever? Intrigued? Then it's time to delve into this riveting series and find out for yourself.
Overall, a series whose popularity is a godsend for a flailing book industry.
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare is available for $19.99 at Amazon.com and at CassandraClare.com.
Thank you to Yara for recommending this book. Follow her fantastic book blog and Twitter posts.
Review copy provided by Valley Community Library.