I have just finished reading Cassandra Clare’s The City of Glass in preparation for reading The City of Fallen Angels (books 3 and 4 of The Mortal Instruments series), which I am already well into. I fully intend to write reviews for these, but I realized, in trying to visualize those reviews, that it is difficult for me to think objectively about Cassandra Clare and her works; we’ve too much history. In the hope that you will better be able to evaluate my reviews when I write them, I think it’s fair that I reveal that history:
Cassandra Clare and I go way back to a time when she was known as Claire, not Clare, and she had a flock of fans falling all over Draco Malfoy, not Jace Wayland.
That was the end of middle school and the beginning of high school for me (roughly 2002-2006) and in the midst of the world’s love affair with J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Claire was a fanfiction writer of some renown, having written three novel-length (I don’t exaggerate; the last, which I have thanks to Clare’s kindness, is 1679 PDF pages) fanfictions known as The Draco Trilogy. My friends and I, all great fans of the Harry Potter series, tore through Claire’s works and praised them highly, at times even wondering if Claire was J. K. Rowling writing under a pseudonym all that her characters really wanted to say and do, but which her original plot line and younger audience, would not allow her to publish through Scholastic. (I have since realized that Clare’s and J. K. Rowling’s styles are really very dissimilar, but Claire reproduced Rowling’s characters with such accuracy, her plot lines were so intricately and tightly woven and twisted so suddenly that she made us wonder then.)
That was Clare as I knew her in my childhood. I love those fanfictions. They influenced my own, which inspired my original novel (W.I.P.), which has influenced my life to this point. My friends and I even admitted (and in some ways I still believe) that Claire’s series was better than J. K. Rowling’s series.
Clare’s Mortal Instruments series is a direct and obvious descendant of those fanfictions, with some very clear parallels between characters, giving me hope that fanfiction can lead to a successful publishing career; I believe that originally, at least, Clare’s fan base was Claire’s.
Besides that, Clare and I have had some correspondence, and I’ve come to respect her as much as a kind and generous person, willing to give her time and more to fans, as I respect her as an author. Once she allowed me to reproduce a section of her fanfiction for a guide to writing that was the culmination of my year’s independent study in creative writing. What’s more, she read my guide and sent me feedback. Later, after her fanfiction had been removed at the behest of her publishers, Clare sent me a private, temporary link to download the story, ensuring that my sister, previously too young to have been allowed to read the final installment of the series, got the 16th birthday present that my friends and I had once promised her.
That is the background against which I read and will review The Mortal Instruments series, against which my reviews should be read.