Friday, August 15, 2014

Completing the Mortal Instruments Series: My own personal book hangover

If you happen to follow AfterWords, our Facebook book chat on Monday nights, you will know there has been an ongoing conversation between a few participants and myself concerning the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. At one point, I confessed that I took my daughter to see the movie adaptation of Mortal instruments: City of Bones which piqued by interest about the YA series. I’m all for a good romp through any young adult book involving otherworldly creatures and epic battles, so the idea of angelic shadowhunters, demons, vampires, and werewolves running amok in New York City sounded pretty appealing.  Because the movie had just come out, I had to painstakingly wait my turn for the first three books, but I was pleasantly surprised. The writing was really good, the storyline had few flaws (as long as you were up for the topic), and the characters evoked emotion—not saying they were all likeable, but they definitely drew the reader in. All good, right? No, this is where the conversation took a turn…
I felt like the third book in the series, City of Glass, wrapped up nicely and left me feeling satisfied (e.g. I could stop with a ‘happily ever after’ and move on). The ending  paired with several reviews stating that the rest of the books, at the time only City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls, were awful and just ruined everything made me put the series down for months (and months). Then, someone explained to me that the six book series was actually intended to be two trilogies (which explained the change in perspective and style) and another person insisted that it only got better.  I gave in and picked up book four, City of Fallen Angels, about two weeks ago….I’m now finished with book six, City of Heavenly Fire. And this brings me to the topic I really wanted to discuss: the book hangover.
Even though I finished the series more than two days ago, I’m finding it difficult to let go of the characters and move on to new things. I know this is a common sensation among readers-- the author pulls you in, creates a new world, makes you care about people, then just ends it all like you’ll get over it. It’s more like a bad, unwanted break-up than a hangover. I have read some amazing adult fiction series that have left me feeling this way (I'm looking at you Adriana Trigiani!), but for some reason YA authors seem to wield this skill like a weapon. It is impressive that they can hook people to the point where you refer to the characters like you actually know them. Especially when it escalates and your child, who normally plays along with you, starts to get embarrassed by how involved you've become with the storyline. Even though I giggle at the term “fangirl” and the phrases that stem from it, I’d have to say that I now qualify. 
Sigh, I’ll miss you Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, Alec, Magnus…ok, I’ll stop.
(…Jocelyn, Luke, Maia, Jordan, Bat, Lily, Emma, Julian, Brother Zachariah, and even you Sebastian.)

And did I mention these books are funny?! Clare’s carefully placed sarcasm was laced throughout and actually had me laughing out loud at several points. If you’re feeling otherworldly and you enjoy young adult fiction, I recommend you take the leap. If you need to talk when it ends, join us on AfterWords—several of us will know what you are going through :)

1 comment:

Shalini Nonis said...

I just finished City of Heavenly Fire and I can't stop thinking about it. It all just seems so final! No more epic adventures, laced with danger and romance. Clare is one of the best authors I've read. It's like she picked the most appleaing/memorable things about the genre of fantasy and made a new world