Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (March 27, 2007)
So you've read Twilight, and you're looking for more supernatural romance? Possibly with a little more monster-slaying, a little more New York City? A little less vampire pregnancy? If so, The Mortal Instruments may just be the one for you.
The first book of the series, The City of Bones, opens with teenage Clary Fray witnessing a brutal attack in a Manhattan nightclub, perpetrated by a group of strangely-dressed and heavily-armed people who, apparently, only she can see. She later returns home to find her apartment ransacked, her mother missing, and a nasty slug-demon monster...thing waiting for her. Also waiting, of course, is a blond-haired, amber-eyed stranger, ready to whisk her off into danger and change her life forever, because no urban fantasy is complete without a sexy and somewhat caustic love interest, am I right? Through Jace, Clary meets a whole mess of interesting individuals, from a bespectacled werewolf, to a whip-wielding, dinner-burning huntress, to a warlock with a thing for glitter eyeshadow and throwing birthday parties for his cat.
I love Young Adult fantasy, for a myriad of reasons that I won't go into here, and The Mortal Instruments has all the ingredients I look for--a competent and relatable heroine, a cast of diverse and interesting characters, and an immersive and expansive world. The series, while fun and breezy at times, is complex and surprisingly morally ambiguous, and the love story goes to some very unexpectedly dark places.
So if you, or the YA lover in your life, is looking for a summer read, I highly suggest giving this one a try. The movie of the first book looks like it's going to be one of this summer's blockbusters, and believe me when I tell you, it has some really good-looking people in it. Might as well read the book first, right?