I started reading Young Adult books while my girls were still reading Junie B. Jones and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. In fact, I wrote about The Mortal Instruments being my “New Favorite Book Series” 4 years ago.
Now that my girls are a teen and a tween, we read a lot of the same books. Some of them we agree on and others we disagree. Some we talk about more than others. Cassandra Clare’s books, however, have all of us hooked and have become the source of MANY of our dinner conversations, inside jokes, and even favorite foods. You read that right–favorite foods (ask Jillian why she all of a sudden eats grilled cheese and tomato soup).
The Shadowhunter Books
If you don’t know about the series, here a basic rundown. Clare has written 2 series with a total of 9 books–Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices. Two more trilogies will be sequels to those–Dark Artifices and The Last Hours. In addition to the novels are shorter novellas packaged together to make full books, including The Bane Chronicles and Shadowhunter Academy.
All of the books and short stories revolve around the Shadowhunters, who are “the appointed warriors on Earth of the Angel Raziel.” Surrounding them are the Downworlders, which are made up of Werewolves, Vampires, Faeries, and Warlocks. The “mundanes” are the humans (that would be you and me).
That all sounds kind of complicated, but it isn’t once you start reading. I admit that I get details confused between the books now because they take place in different centuries and have different “bad guys” and different love interests. The beauty of the different trilogies, however, is that they are both inter-lapping and also unique. You know how you fall in love with a book and don’t want it to end because you love the characters? Clare’s books solve that problem for you because the stories just keep continuing in different ways.
Fandom and Beyond the Books
The fandom for the books is unbelievable! There is so much fan fiction and so many “edits” (I think that’s what the kids call them??). My girls spend hours online reading what other fans have contributed to the Shadowhunter world, especially on Tumblr. Jillian even started her own Shadowhunter Fan Site, Not So Mundane, because she was spending so much time thinking about the books!
In our house, the books have become conversation starters about everything from Elizabethan England to same sex marriage and adoption. We have talked about geography, literature, history, and other topics we would never have talked about otherwise. Text messages of surprise often contain the abbreviation BTA (By the Angel!). We even spent the whole summer calling one of the people on Big Brother “Simon” because the girls were so reminded of him. Sometimes when we see people in movies we just refer to them as “Jace” and completely understand why.
I should also mention that there was a Mortal Instruments movie made AND ABC Family is preparing to launch a Shadowhunters television show on January 12. I am sure that everyone in my house will be watching that series…probably multiple times!
Why I Appreciate the Books
Having teenagers is hard. Sometimes I feel like we live on different planets. We’re always moving in different directions and busy with school and work. Too much time is spent on tablets, phones, and computers. It’s nice to have something we can all sit down and read in our spare time and then come together to talk about. It’s purely recreational and yet a lot of discussion and education ends up coming out of it. It’s fun and allows us to use our imaginations. It’s “cool” because lots of other kids are reading it.
I’m thankful to Cassandra Clare for creating a world that I can get lost in, books that make my kids turn off the tv to read, and stories that spark conversations. Here’s looking to the next book!