It’s been exactly five minutes since I ended my Cassendra Clare reading spree. Over the last week, I have read the last two books of both the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices. And now, I’m kind of at a loss. It’s a sad but true fact that the Mortal Instruments series with all it’s loose ends has now been officially tied up with the stunning and epic conclusion: The City of Heavenly Fire. Which, if you haven’t read yet, you need to read as soon as possible. I can promise you it was phenomenal and at the end, there were less dead characters than I expected. (Incidentally that’s one thing I really like about Cassendra Clare’s books- few people die. Authors like Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins should take a few pointers. It would probably make for a set of happier fandoms.)
So what are we going to do now that the Mortal Instruments series is over? Re-read the books, fangirl about how great it was, eagerly anticipate the movies (just so we can criticize them for cutting all the important parts out) and lament the fact that it’s completely over? Well yes, of course we are. But if you haven’t read the The Infernal Devices series yet, you have that fall back. I know a lot of people who actually prefer the Infernal Devices series, which is kind of a prequel to the Mortal Instruments. We get the backstories of a bunch of characters who played important roles in the series. The Infernal Devices is set in Victorian England, the heroine is a bookworm in love with two boys who are the best of friends but so different, there are strong female characters not limited to the MC and there is an evil psychopath hell-bent on killing all the shadowunter in the world because of his twisted sense of ‘justice’. What’s not to love?
Or you could read the Bane Chronicles, a series of short stories based on Magnus’s extraordinarily long and exciting life which is tantalizingly hinted at in the Mortal Instruments. You can see who Magnus was before he got involved with Alec and after he met Will. This series of mini-stories was co-written by Cassendra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson- all spectacular authors. And wanna know something cool? When you put all the books together, you get one big picture. I think Magnus would approve.
But if you’re the unlucky and misfortunate sort who’s already read through all three series, but is still desperate for a Shadowhunter fix, you’re not as unlucky as you could be. In March 2015 (I know, that seem so far away), Cassendra Clare is releasing a new series called the Dark Artifices. The first book is going to be called Lady Midnight and it will feature Emma Carstairs (we were introduced to her in The City of Heavenly Fire). A cover hasn’t been released as of yet but a description has. Here it is:
Los Angeles, 2012. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to the eradication of demons and being the best, fastest and deadliest Shadowhunter since Jace Lightwood. Raised in the Los Angeles Institute, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian. As Emma hunts those who caused the death of her parents, the trail they’re following leads back to those they’ve always been taught to trust. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with Julian — her closest friend and, because he is her parabatai, the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.
Fans of Cassendra Clare and her world of Shadowhunter will doubtlessly be ecstatic to hear this amazing piece of news but at the same time there are some people who are…not. “Isn’t enough, enough?”, they wonder. “Hasn’t Cassendra Clare already stretched this world as far as it can go? Doesn’t she have any originality? How long is she going to exploit this world over and over again to earn money?”. Yes these are actual questions being asked. And maybe it is valid. Cassendra Clare has written three series and nineteen books based on Shadowhunters. Isn’t it time for her to give it up?
No. It’s not. I like the fact that there are so many books about this world. It makes it feel more real, you know? In fact, I really admire Cassendra Clare for getting so into the world and the backstories of all the characters. And I’m so glad she decided to share it with us fans in the form of books. I get kind of annoyed when authors develop backstories for the characters and histories for the world and share it on the news somewhere. Most of us don’t see those articles and the few who do are… No, I’m not even going there.
As for originality, I think that Cassendra Clare has it in spades. The Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices are set in very different settings, with very different characters (although Jace and Will are kind of similar…) and very different plots. If there’s anything that Cassendra lacks, it is definitely not originality.
So, personally I am very excited about The Dark Artifices. I will definitely read Lady Midnight as soon as it comes out. In fact, I’ve already put it on my to-read list on goodreads.com. You should too.