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WHICH IS THE BEST BOOK AND MOVIE OF ALL?
We’re post-Twilight now. Vampires and werewolves are still cool, but fans are clamoring for Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments with all of its angels, demons, warlocks, Shadowhunters, faeries, and of course, vampires and werewolves. Romance, epic fantasy, and good versus evil: What more could you want?
And here comes the City of Bones movie, hitting theaters in August 2013. Wow. I wrote companion guides for both the Twilight and the Hunger Games series, and now I’m on the edge of my seat, waiting for City of Bones. I’ve analyzed all three series in detail, immersed myself in the novels—and movies—to the point of obsession. I’m an incredibly huge fan of The Mortal Instruments, probably for all the reasons you’re a huge fan.
This book, The Mortal Instruments Companion—City of Bones, Shadowhunters, and the Sight: The Unauthorized Guide, gives you a lot to think about, delving into all the reasons we love this series so much. It introduces the many complexities, analyzing key characters and intricate relationships among the more than sixty characters in the first five books of The Mortal Instruments and more than thirty characters in the first two books of prequel The Infernal Devices. These books have everything: multiple plots and subplots, epic romances, intrigue, faerie tales, myths of all kinds wound together, today’s world, the steampunk world, and even other dimensions. We have supernatural hunters, relationship struggles, inner conflicts, bad boys, evil mother figures, and of course, angels, demons, faeries, warlocks, vampires, and werewolves: it seems as if everything’s in The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.
According to the author, as of August 2012, the first seven books had sold more than ten million copies,1 and according to the Wall Street Journal, had hit twelve million in sales as of June 2012.2 Fans can’t get enough of the action, the supernatural, and the romance. “Discovering a world of supernatural wonder and danger [Clary] joins forces with the Shadow Hunters, a group of warriors whose mission in life is to vanquish the demonic presence in all worlds,” writes the Daily Mail. “Filled with action, love, magic it’s no wonder why the books have become global best-sellers.”3
It’s hard to say which of Cassandra Clare’s books I liked the best. Is it City of Bones, the first of The Mortal Instruments series, which introduces us to Clary Fray, Jace, Simon, the Shadowhunters, and the Downworlders? Certainly, City of Bones sucks us right into the Mortal Instruments universe. This is the book that propels ordinary teen Clary Fray into epic romance and epic fantasy battles as she learns that she’s really not ordinary at all.
Is my favorite City of Ashes, in which Clary seeks a cure to her mother’s magically inflicted coma while battling Valentine and figuring out who and what she is? Is it City of Glass, in which Clary goes to Idris and continues to fight Valentine, who now has two of the three Mortal Instruments? Is it City of Fallen Angels, in which Jace has nightmares about killing Clary, Simon copes with vampirism, and Sebastian takes over Jace’s mind and body? Or is it the fifth book, City of Lost Souls, which has me panting for more? I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in The Mortal Instruments series.
But of course, I also like both Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince a lot, perhaps because of their steampunk Victorian London settings and cool heroine, Tessa, with her interesting ability to Change. Or maybe I like the (currently) two-book The Infernal Devices prequel because of the clockwork armies and over-the-top characters of Mrs. Dark and Mrs. Black.
It’s equally hard to say if I prefer Tessa over Clary, Jace over Will, Isabelle over Jessamine; and where do Jem and Simon fit into my hierarchy of favorite characters? Choices, choices, and more choices.
As of this writing, readers anxiously await the release of City of Heavenly Fire, the sixth book—scheduled for 2014—in The Mortal Instruments. Here’s what Cassandra Clare says about City of Heavenly Fire: “We face in Sebastian an almost unbeatable enemy, and one who knows all of their weak spots. The Shadowhunters are going to lose a lot before they can win this one. So expect a very hard-fought battle and a lot of epic romance.”4 And of course, Clockwork Princess, the third book in The Infernal Devices, will be out in March 2013. Because Clockwork Princess will be available by the time you have this Companion Guide, I decided not to supply any teasers here. I’ve read the interviews with Cassandra Clare, so I know it takes place in England and Wales, and that Tessa will have to make some decisions about whom she wants, Will or Jem. This will be a must-read book for all fans of the series. And if that weren’t enough, readers also anxiously await The Dark Artifices series, which will take place after The Mortal Instruments ends, with a new generation of Shadowhunters in a very different world.
THE CITY OF BONES MOVIE!
While of course Cassandra Clare wrote the City of Bones novel, the screenplay is by I. Marlene King and Jessica Postigo. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cassandra Clare gave the movie her full support when she commented, “It was very reassuring to come on set and see everything covered in runes and replicated down to the last detail. The movie was definitely made by people who love the books and wanted to do right by them.”5 And as for the rest of us, nobody enthuses about anything in a more vibrant way than Perez Hilton. “We are gnashing our teeth like a demon in heat with SO much excitement for the upcoming screen adaptation of the first book in Cassandra Clare’s EPIC science-fiction–fantasy series, The Mortal Instruments.”6
In this first Mortal Instruments movie, Lily Jane Collins plays the role of Clary Fray. Born in England in 1989, Lily is the daughter of musician Phil Collins and his second wife, Jill Tavelman. The actress has a step–half sister, Joely Collins, who is also an actress, and a half brother, musician Simon Collins, from her father’s first marriage to Andrea Bertorelli. Her father had adopted Joely, whose biological father was Andrea Bertorelli’s first husband. In addition, when her father remarried again, this time to Orianne Cevey, Lily ended up with two half brothers, Nicholas and Matthew Collins.7 So she has one younger step–half sibling, one younger half sibling, and two older half siblings—and you thought your life was complicated? A half sibling, in case you’re one of the lucky few whose parents never divorced and then remarried, means you share one parent, such as a father. In Lily’s case, she has a different mother from all her siblings. Okay, now I’m starting to feel like Perez Hilton, so let’s move on.
When she was two years old, Lily Collins appeared on the BBC program Growing Pains, and at five, she moved to Los Angeles with her mother after her parents split up.8 As a teen, Collins wrote for British magazine Elle Girl and also contributed to Teen Vogue. She even switched to modeling for a while and appeared in Glamour magazine in Spain, where she was the 2008 International Model of the Year.9 She has since been featured in Glamour—for example, in the September 2012 issue when Victoria Beckham decided to feature her. “I was so honored!” Collins remarked about being chosen by Victoria Beckham. “I grew up adoring the Spice Girls. And you can’t touch her when it comes to fashion.”10
Lily Collins returned to the small screen as a model, actually, wearing a Chanel gown on an episode of The Hills. She also made a guest star appearance on the reincarnation of 90210, having attended the same high school (Harvard Westlake in Studio City, California) as original 90210 star Tori Spelling.11
She appeared with her boyfriend, actor Taylor Lautner of Twilight fame, in the 2011 movie Abduction, and then won the starring role as Snow White in Mirror Mirror, which was an interesting part for someone destined to play Clary Fray. In Mirror Mirror, Snow White duels Prince Charming and even tells him that she doesn’t want to hear any more stories about heroines simpering and whimpering and falling apart during times of distress. The actress tells Alison Schwartz and Kristin Luna of People magazine that “Snow White was my favorite fairy tale [growing up], and when I first read about the project, I was like, ‘I have to get in on this.’ It’s such an iconic character.”12
Speaking of Twilight and Snow White, Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame starred in Snow White and the Huntsman after Lily Collins opted out of the role.13 I can’t quite imagine what it would have been like if they’d switched roles, with Lily Collins playing Bella Swan and Kristen Stewart playing Clary Fray. And now that Lily’s no longer with Twilight’s Taylor Lautner, maybe she’ll make room for City of Bones’s Jamie Campbell Bower. Do you think?
Cassandra Clare says that the first role to be cast for City of Bones was Lily Collins as Clary, and she adds about Collins, “She’s extremely dedicated and a really hard worker.”14
Jamie Campbell Bower, who stars as Jace Wayland in the movie, was born in 1988 to music manager Anne Elizabeth Bower (née Roseberry) and David Bower, who works as an entertainment relations professional at Gibson Guitar and formerly was the director of the Country Music Association in England and Ireland.15 Before we go any farther, let’s pause and think about the fact that Bower is listed as starring in the role of Jace Wayland. It’s curious that the character has this last name in the City of Bones movie, because having read the books, we know that a source of great mystery in the series is the question of who his real father is. For moviegoers who haven’t read the books, it would give away too much of the mystery to identify the character as anything else; for example, if Valentine Morgenstern happened to be his father, then Jace Morgenstern would be more appropriate. And it would give far too much plot away if the character were identified more accurately as Jace Herondale. So, to maintain the mystery and suspense in the movie, it’s best to call him Jace Wayland.
As with Collins, Bower also comes from an entertainment family, and this helped push him into show business at an early age. He performed as part of England’s National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT), also taking the lead singer role in his band. The NYMT boasts a lot of famous alumni (even Jude Law) who have made their marks in entertainment, starring in major feature films and theater productions, including the Royal National Theatre.16 Bower attended private school in Hampshire and has a younger brother, Samuel.
Is he hunky enough to play Jace? You bet he is. In fact, he looks just like the cover image of Jace on the City of Bones book. He stands six feet tall and—another similarity to Lily Collins—has been a model, ranging back to his teen years when he was at Select Model Management. Here’s how Melissa Whitworth, who interviewed him in 2009 for the London Evening Standard, describes Jace … I mean, Jamie Campbell Bower: “The door to the hotel suite swings open and a young man, slightly dishevelled but devilishly handsome, welcomes me in. His jeans are half undone … Dressed in cripplingly skinny black jeans with huge rips at the knees (‘They are tight, aren’t they? Are they throwing you off?’), a thin printed T-shirt and a black hooded top, Jamie could actually, as he says, pass for a prettier Kurt Cobain, with a bit of Russell Brand thrown in. He has wide, feline blue eyes and there’s a Gothic-inspired earring dangling from his left lobe.”17
Formerly engaged to Harry Potter actress Bonnie Wright, their split up reportedly broke his heart.18 They fell in love during the filming of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, dated for two years, and lived together in London.
The Herald Sun names Bower as a top actor to watch in 2013, noting that “Bower’s first leading man test comes with The Mortal Instruments, in which he broods and battles while romancing Lily Collins…”19 Before City of Bones, he appeared in a lot of other movies that fans love, including The Twilight Saga: New Moon in 2009, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 in 2011, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 in 2012, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 1 in 2010, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2 in 2011. In the Twilight films, he played the vampire Caius, a Volturi member, and about New Moon, he commented, “I’m a hardcore, die-hard fan.”20 Right before the premier of Breaking Dawn, Part 2, he told reporter Jenn Selby that the ending will be “bitter sweet” for Twilight fans. It was November 16, 2012—while I was writing this book—and he was on his way back to the United States to work on City of Bones.21
With this movie, the casting directors did a pretty good job. Not only did they get Jace right on target, they also nailed Simon Lewis when they cast Robert Sheehan. Like Jace, this actor looks a lot like how I imagined his character while I read the books. Born in Ireland in 1988, Robert Sheehan has appeared in many television programs, films, and theater productions. His parents are Joe and Maria Sheehan, and his older brother, Brendan, is a mortgage broker. Cassandra Clare says on her Tumblr page how pleased she is that Sheehan will play Simon: “He’s totally cute and adorable and HILARIOUS, and his chemistry with Lily and Jamie is off the charts.”22 He won the role after hundreds of other actors auditioned for the part.23
As for Jemima West as Isabelle Lightwood, Cassandra Clare says, “She had a lot of Izzy’s toughness and directness in her audition. I like her.”24 Born in 1987, she grew up in Paris and attended the Sorbonne, where she earned a degree in the history of art. Her father is an accountant, her mother a business interpreter.25
Canadian Kevin Zegers, who plays Alec Lightwood, was born in 1984 and has appeared in many movies and shows, including Gossip Girl, Smallville, Dawn of the Dead, etc. In late 2012, he told Annette Bourdeau of Huffington Post TV that “I’m shooting a film called The Mortal Instruments, which is a big fantasy movie. It’s … running around with swords and fighting vampires and werewolves. I’ve been having a really awesome time here.”26
Because he plays a favorite character of mine, I must mention Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the role of Valentine Morgenstern. Born in 1977 in Ireland, Meyers was raised by his mother, who also had three other sons, Jamie, Paul, and Alan. His real name is Jonathan Michael Francis O’Keeffe, but he changed his last name when he started acting, using his mother’s maiden name, Meyers. Meyers was actually discovered in a pool hall. From there, he went on to star in a huge number of films, as well as the acclaimed Showtime program The Tudors.
You might remember Jared Harris, who plays Hodge Starkweather, from his stint and Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in Mad Men. He comes from a showbiz family; his father is the Irish actor Richard Harris, his brother Damian is a director, and his brother Jamie is an actor. Cassandra Clare told Breia Brissey in Entertainment Weekly that she was thrilled to have Harris playing Hodge: “He’s so great at playing these conflicted characters.”27
Other actors of note in City of Bones are Jonathan Seinen as the Angel Raziel, Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane, Aidan Turner as Luke Garroway, and Lena Headey as Jocelyn Fray.
It’s really no surprise that The Mortal Instruments is shifting to the big screen with the first movie, City of Bones. It has a great story and a great lineup of actresses and actors. Most important, it’s based on a series of books that experts and fans are raving about.
Because I assume that you’ve read all the books in both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, I’m not including plot summaries here. If you want to refresh your memory about the actual stories, you can read the books again or just look at summaries that you find online. You don’t need a companion guide to read the actual novels!
Instead of something simple like a plot summary, this Companion Guide gives you analyses of:
all the major romances
angels and Shadowhunters
the Mortal Instruments themselves
the chosen ones
big bad mother Lilith and her demon minions
the automaton monsters
resurrection and immortality
alchemy and the ouroboros
the major themes in the book
a huge number of characters
quests in these books
In addition, you’ll find some discussions about bad boys, bad girls, and humor. And in the back is a mini-biography of the author, Cassandra Clare. I do hope you like this book. I know that I had a lot of fun writing it.
So which is the best book and movie of all? For fans of Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and The Mortal Instruments, it’s an extremely tough choice. I can’t pick just one, but I do know this: as soon as the next Mortal Instruments book is out, I’m going to get a copy, and the same is true for the next book in The Infernal Devices. Can’t wait! You rock, Cassandra Clare!
CONVENTIONS USED IN THIS BOOK
I typically refer to the author’s entire name, Cassandra Clare, so readers don’t accidentally think I’m referring to the character Clary when I mean Clare.
I typically use the word faerie rather than the more standard fairy to conform to Cassandra Clare’s terminology. I explain why in chapter 2.
VERSIONS OF THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS AND THE INFERNAL DEVICES REFERENCED IN THIS BOOK
The Mortal Instruments Series
• City of Bones (book 1). New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007; first paperback edition, February 2008.
• City of Ashes (book 2). New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008; first paperback edition, March 2009.
• City of Glass (book 3). New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009; first paperback edition, August 2010.
• City of Fallen Angels (book 4). New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011; first paperback edition, October 2012.
• City of Lost Souls (book 5). New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012.
The Infernal Devices Series (prequel to The Mortal Instruments)
• Clockwork Angel (book 1). New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010; first paperback edition, October 2011.
• Clockwork Prince (book 2). New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011; first paperback edition, March 2013.
Copyright © 2013 by Lois H. Gresh
Posted November 28, 2013
With the best selling book City of Bones hitting theaters this summer 2013, this companion guide is a must-have book for anybody who has read the Mortal Instruments series or even for people who have plans or want to read them. It is broken up into nineteen chapters and walks the reader through every character, every plot twist, scheme, theme, and questions everything there is about the details of this book that a reader might not even question or think about.
“Here, in the underworld or shadow realms, Jace’s soul can return to his body only through either necromancy, black magic, or the divine grace of an angel o God, who uses its right and to put the soul back.”
I like how the author, Lois H. Gresh, devotes an entire chapter to bad boys and rates each of them on a scale of 1 to 10. She then gives all the details on that bad boy, like Sebastain Verlac, rated a 10, who is a charismatic murderer and has bloody plans to kill an entire population, and Gresh describes him as having “all the qualities of a hero, just in reverse.”
While I haven’t read City of Bones (it’s on my read list), this book totally has me anticipating reading it, especially with the movie about to come out. The book has a way of working up this energy that describes it with so much passion and detail that you already start to feel a deep connection with the characters and their world. Definitely pick this book up. You won’t regret it.
*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review*
*You can view the original review at Musing with Crayolakym and San Francisco & Sacramento City Book Review
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