Black, White and Read: A love affair with Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare has stayed with Columnist Katherine Rosso since middle school, and she’s not giving her up just yet.

I love Cassandra Clare. Despite some of the young adult clichés and the slightly strange book jackets, her books create an incredible world of wonderful characters. Clare is able to construct gripping romances while leaving ample room for the friendships and connections between characters to grow. The balancing act between touching moments and scathing wit is what makes Clare’s books so successful.

“The City of Bones,” the first in the “The Mortal Instruments” series, was our introduction to the world of the Shadowhunters. The books revolve around a half-angel, half-human species called Nephilim. The warriors of the Nephilim, Shadowhunters, fight against demons. They also keep the Downworlders (werewolves, vampires, warlocks and faeries) in check. The main character, Clary Fray, is a strong, kick-ass female with a motley crew — Simon, Luke and Clary’s mother, Jocelyn — behind her. When she finds herself in a club one night witnessing a murder, she is thrown into this world with little to go on.

This discovery leads to new relationships — friendships and otherwise — and many twists and turns. Besides the slow burning and utterly exhilarating relationship between the main characters, the book has a great female character at its head, which makes it that much better. The other characters, Izzy, Jace and Alec, all have their own lives and backstories that makes the book an incredibly multilayered story. My favorite in the series was the third book, “The City of Glass,” but all the books were heart-pounding and exciting reads, so I can’t help but recommend all six books as a package.

The “City of Bones” movie, however, was a cinematic disaster. The casting of Lily Collins as Clary was a great choice, but Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace was an inaccurate and awkward decision. The subpar acting of the movie, terrible graphics and surrounding hype made the film more uncomfortable. I’m just thankful for ABC Family for taking it on in the television world and attempting to bring the world of the Nephilim to life in their “Shadowhunters” TV show, which premieres Jan. 12, 2016. I doubt there will be a third try on this one, though, so fingers crossed they get it right.

In another Clare accolade, “The Infernal Devices” series defied expectations and made me love the Shadowhunter world even more. Although the main character, Tessa, wasn’t exactly my favorite female character in Clare’s series, Will Herondale was undeniably charming, and any reader would love the relationship between him and his lifelong best friend, Jem Carstairs. The stakes with Jem’s failing health, Will’s need to sacrifice himself for his family and Tessa’s mysterious storyline make the books so easy to devour.

The best thing “The Infernal Devices” did as a series was wrap everything up so that everyone was happy. No matter what character you rooted for, their endings were satisfying and sensible. It’s a rare feat for an author to tie up every loose end, but Clare managed to end “The Infernal Devices” in a brilliant and fulfilling way.

As for me, I’m waiting for March 8, when Clare’s new book, “Lady Midnight,” is set to be released. Even though I’m technically supposed to have grown out of the YA genre a few years ago, Clare always manages to pull me back in.

More Stories