Now that I’ve seen the movie as well as read the first book, I think it’s time to get back to this series. I won’t be commenting on the rest of The Mortal Instruments since I haven’t read them yet.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones; Book: , Movie: 2013
City of Bones is the first in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. Originally a trilogy, the sixth and final book (City of Heavenly Fire) in the series comes out this year. Bones is the story of Clarissa “Clary” Fray who witnesses a murder in a crowded New York nightclub, only there is no body and she’s the only one who can see the murderers. A day later she returns home to find her mother gone and their apartment nearly destroyed. She is attacked and rescued by Jace Wayland who takes her to the New York Institute and introduced her to a new world hiding in plain site. The world of the Shadowhunters, half angel half human warriors who fight demons to save humanity, and Clary and her mother are ones too. Soon Clary and her best friend Simon are swept up into a battle of Good vs Evil, with Clary’s family at the center of it all, and the key to finding Clary’s mother is finding the Mortal Cup.
While I found the book entertaining, and the story and mythology very creative, it did have some issues. However, being a first novel, that’s to be expected. In the beginning, when Clary witnesses the other Shadowhunters kill the demon boy in the club, there is way to much exposition and and the character’s throwing around each others names. It makes the scene less mysterious and shocking because what is going on is practically explained to Clary and the reader, and yet Clary doesn’t understand. Plus, they know who each other is and what they are doing. That info is needed, but should be given later through her introduction to the world of Shadohunters, and the character names should be given when she is first introduced to them. Having her know Alec and Isabelle’s names before she meets them is just weird. I did like the third person narrative, it made it possible to show a few scenes where Clary wasn’t present, and gave us insight into other characters.
My other issue is with a scene early on in the story in which Clary is daydreaming about why she isn’t beautiful and what constitutes a beautiful woman: tall and thin like a super model. I balked at this. Now I’m sure the author and the publishers couldn’t foresee how popular the books would become, but if was the editor, I would have been weary of having this sort of thing in a book I was planning to publish. Millions of teenagers, many of them young girls the same age as as Clary, have read these books. They admire Clary and look up to her, and I’m sure the author as well. Clare is all but confirming through Clary what many with body issue problems already think, that to be beautiful is to be tall and thin. I should note that Clare herself is practically the exact opposite, and I would think that she would want to portray that no matter what a woman’s size she is beautiful. Had she also including this point of view somewhere in the book, I wouldn’t have a problem. If she did, I didn’t see it. I only remember the shocking lines about thin being desirable.
As for the movie, I found it quite accurate, if a bit condensed. Condensing of the time frame was to be expected in order to fit the important stuff into two hours. Most of it is all there, just at a faster pace. That’s not to say there weren’t some changes. However, I liked the changes. In the book, it is only Clary and Jace that go to rescue Simon from the Vampires, which I thought was odd. Instead, they all go. In the book, Simon slays a demon by shooting out a skylight with his archery skills, I absolutely loved this and was hoping to see it, but it wasn’t there.In the book, the battle takes place somewhere else and we are left to wonder what happened to Alec and the others. Instead, the battle is moved to the institute, Simon and Isabelle take part with the werewolves, and Hodge returns remorseful to help end the battle. I like this since I never liked how the battle went in the book.
The acting and casting was quite good, not much to complain about there. The movie stars Lena Headey as Clary’s mom Fairchild, Kevin Zegers as Alec Lightwood, and Jamie Campbell Bower in his third YA adaptation role as Jace Wayland. Headey has grown famous for her role as Ceresi Lannister in Game of Thrones, and while her role here is short, I look forward to seeing her continue the role in a later adaptation. Zeggers has been in numerous movies over the years (Yes, that was him as the boy in Air Bud), however I feel he is too old for this role. He may be a good actor, but he is no longer convincing to me as a teenager, especially since I’ve seen him play characters closer to his real age. Campbell Bower previously played Caius of the Volturi in the Twilight movies and appeared as a young Grindelwald in the final Harry Potter movie, so I guess you could call him the triple threat of YA adaptations.
Other than that, not much to report. This one was for once well done, at least in my opinion. I think both can equally be seen as good, as they have their merits, and are almost exactly the same story. I’ll have to reserve judgement on how good the story is as a whole until I read more, but both book and movie have potential to be the start of a great series.