I know there will be a million and one reviews of City of Lost Souls out there, so I decided to do something different here. The last thing you need is yet another review of a book from a series that is not only a best seller, from a fab author who rocks our socks, but is also in the makings of a movie! The Mortal Instruments is one of my all time favorites series and I am here to tell you why. Why I rave about these books to anyone who will listen, and others who just tolerate my ramblings with near patience.
In short, these books have everything!
Raising an eyebrow? Questioning my sanity? Allow me to explain.
Now I'm no literary expert, but I know what I like. When my friend Rachel first introduced me to TMI, her words were something like "not too much on the romance, but they were pretty good." But Rachel is a BIG romance fan. She said it had lots of demons, vampires, fae, and other stuff. This alone made me take City of Bones home. Oh, and she said the main guy, Jace, was pretty hot. That helped too. *wink*
As far as I'm concerned, Cassandra Clare is a master crafts...uh...woman for story telling. She wraps you around her little finger and takes you for a wild, crazy, heartbreaking ride. And you enjoy every minute of it. There is action, adventure, love, lust, friendships, enemies, characters you love, characters you hate, characters you LOVE to HATE, plot twists that leave you breathless, worlds so believable you look over your own shoulder...the whole tamale people!
My gateway drug to Fantasy Fiction was The Lord of the Rings. A tough read for a beginner I s'pose, but I was HOOKED. After that I got completely immersed in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (may he rest in peace). Another fantasy fave was the Forgotten Realms books from R.A. Salvatore.
Miss Cassie, for me, is on the lines of these books. Her worlds are so thought out it's spooky. Every time I read one of her books I'm amazed at the detail she incorporates. The politics of Shadowhunter lives, the relations between Shadowhunter and Downworlder, and the history of the Nephilim race fascinates me.
But she doesn't stop there. The plotting involved in Cassie's books leaves my head spinning. It makes the writer in me BEG (and I mean beg to the point of delirium) to be a fly in the room as she plots a book. The characters' lives twist in and out of each other so much I'm left in awe.
This is particularly noticeable with City of Lost Souls.
I'm sure there were references to previous Shadowhunters in the first four TMI books, but I don't recall them offhand. While reading COLS, however, Cassie makes several references to her prequel series, The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince). Having read these books recently, they stuck out like a hobo clown at an Amish wedding. I can't help but wonder if Cassie plans her books this way or if they just happen naturally, like magic, like slow churned vanilla ice cream and hot brownies, like peanut butter and chocolate...
I got so freakin' giddy reading COLS it was really kind of pathetic. My writer side totally geeked out with how intertwined the plots are between the books. You don't have to read one series to understand the other, since they both give the necessary background, but why would you not WANT to read both? And the connections are subtle too, which is awesome, so those readers who have read both series don't feel like they're being pulled out of one story and into another. From a passing glance that catches an odd angel pendant with gears and such for wings, a mysterious Silent Brother, Zachariah, and quick references to a lost love with dark hair and blue eyes... I just cannot help the fangirl in me!!!!
It really is books like The Mortal Instrument series, and the Infernal Devices, that inspire me to write. The deep seeded worlds of Shadowhunter life, or Middle Earth, or Menzobarrenzan make me want to create such rich worlds of my own. Horribly conflicted characters like Jace Lightwood, Will Herondale, Boromir, Frodo Baggins, and Drizzt Do'Urden inspire me to reach the ultimate conflicts with my own characters. To push them to their limits. To find what makes them break. And what will bring them back together again.
This is not to say other books don't inspire me to write, and write well. There are just books you enjoy, and then there are books that take you to that place. That place, that space, between a totally happy voracious reader, and the other realm that gives you the drive to BE a part of that world. To create that feeling in the pit of the belly for others that you feel reading your favorite books. To make your readers want to WOOT out loud, to cry openly, to get so mad at a character you consider for a nanosecond throwing the book across the room, to fall in love, and to get so lost in a world it FEELS real...
That is what Cassandra Clare does for me. That is why I love her books. She is the whole package. I love her books, I love her worlds, I love her characters, but I also love the way she inspires the writer in me.
What about you? Who inspires YOU to write your pants off?