I finished the 600+ page new installment in Cassandra Clare’s (neverending) Shadowhunter series earlier this week, and…
So last week I said I wanted to talk about something super-important in novel-writing: voice. This week I’m talking about the same thing, and showing an example of a completely different kind of voice.
In YA, you can sometimes read several books in a row all with similar voices. That’s why I love The Spectacular Now–the voice is so unique–and that’s also one of the reasons I adore Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy.
Take this passage:
“Heroes endure because we need them. Not for their own sakes.”
I finished The Mortal Instruments series a couple of months ago, and while I most certainly enjoyed it, it definitely had its highs and lows, a mix of 3, 4, and 5-star moments. I put off reading The Infernal Devices because I thought my experience would be the same.
I was wrong.
“You and I, we’re alike. We live and breathe words. It was books that kept me from taking my own life after I thought I could never love anyone, never be loved by anyone again. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone.”
I loved these books.
They were more well-written, more well-plotted, the setting more richly-imagined, with the characters more finely-drawn. They surprised me, had me looking forward to waking up each day so I could start reading, had me fighting sleep every night so I could keep reading.
“It is the only way any of this can ever mean anything. Otherwise it is only—”
“Pointless, needless suffering and pain? I don’t suppose it would help if I told you that is the way life is. The good suffer, the evil flourish, and all that is mortal passes away.”
The Infernal Devices is a prequel trilogy to the Mortal Instruments. It takes place in Victorian London, and tells of the demon-hunting ancestors of characters I’d already come to know, with a few (immortal) characters actually appearing in both sets of books. The basic plot set-up is similar: girl with no knowledge of the supernatural world is suddenly thrown into danger, she learns of her mysterious heritage while helping to fight demons, and along the way meets a cute boy.
“And I came to see that I could not bring someone home when they were already there.”
The real draw to this series, of course, is the thing all my favorite books have in common: well-written characters.
“You cannot buy or drug or dream your way out of pain.”
The secondary characters were all fine and good, but Will, Tessa, and Jem absolutely captured my heart. Their relationships were so perfectly constructed. I will always, always, prefer relationships that start as friendships, the long and drawn out sexual tension, to be culminated in some beautifully-written scenes where … but I don’t want to spoil them for you.
Spoilers after the jump…
So I’ve finally finished The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. (I say finally, but really it took me less than 2 months, with a couple other books in between. That’s not bad for six 500+ page books).
The Mortal Instruments is modern urban YA fantasy, about a teenage girl who discovers she’s actually a demon hunter, and is immediately drawn into a secret world of demons and angels and vampires and werewolves and magic. People draw a lot of parallels to Harry Potter, and I can see why (Clare actually started out as an internet-famous Harry Potter fanfic writer) but it’s definitely got a jibe all its own. It’s much more of a love story than HP ever was–the drawn-out sexual tension was one of the best things in the entire series–and it’s skewed to a slightly older audience. However, unlike Harry Potter, there were a jumble of things that weren’t particularly well-explained or well-plotted. Nevertheless, Clare is a beautiful writer, and this series was like crack to me–I could not stop reading.
This review covers all 6 books of The Mortal Instruments.
I have NOT yet read the Infernal Devices (though I’m really looking forward to them!) so please don’t spoil anything for me in the comments I have read The Infernal Devices, and loved them even more; you can find my review of that series here.
Spoilers after the jump…