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Cassandra Clare

Cassandra ClareCassandra Clare writes young adult urban fantasy. She got her start writing HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS fan fiction as Cassandra Claire. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at


City of Bones: Doesn’t let go

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I’m a huge fan of books that don’t let me go until I’ve reached the last page. Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, the first in her Mortal Instruments series, is that kind of book. Ostensibly written for young adults, this is a novel that adults will enjoy just as much as teenagers, for all that the protagonist and her friends are high-school aged.

Clary and her friend Simon — not boyfriend, much as he’d like to claim that title — visit the Pandemonium Club in Manhattan, a borough away from their homes in Brooklyn. A cute boy with blue hair and bright green eyes catches Clary’s eye, and she watches him until a beautiful girl in a long white dress beckons him into a room marked “No Admittance.” She watches long enough to see two other boys following them, one of whom pulls a knife just before entering the room. Startled and scared, Clary se... Read More

City of Fallen Angels: Clare handles the formula well

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

When I finished City of Fallen Angels I was angry; not with Cassandra Clare, who created the Mortal Instruments series, but with the evil-doers who once again have come between Clary and her Shadowhunter boyfriend, Jace.

At the end of City of Glass, the Shadowhunters and the downworlders — vampires, faerie, and werewolves — banded together to stand against Clary’s arrogant and megalomaniacal Shadowhunter father Valentine in a cataclysmic battle. Clary used her newly discovered talent for the magical runes called Marks to defeat her father and bring Jace back from death. Her once-human friend Simon, who became a vampire while trying to help her, was safe, and Shadowhunters and downworlders were drawing up an Accord so that they could live together in peace and equality.

It seems that the war is not over... Read More

City of Lost Souls: Very disappointing

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series started out as a trilogy, and should have stayed there. This fifth book in the series has devolved into nothing more but one incident of teenage groping and/or angst after another.

City of Lost Souls is very disappointing.


[Editor's note: Terry, a perfectionist, didn't want to post this short opinion as a review, but we thought you'd want to know, so we posted it anyway.]   Read More

Clockwork Angel: Mortal Instruments fans will be pleased

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

And then comes the final test, the infallible touchstone of the seventh-rate: Ichor. It oozes out of severed tentacles, it beslimes tessellated pavements, bespatters bejeweled courtiers, and bores the bejesus out of everybody.
~Ursula K. Le Guin, From Elfland to Poughkeepsie

Cassandra Clare
stumbles straight out of the gate in Clockwork Angel. In the opening sentence... “ichor,” one of Ursula K. Le Guin’s perfect tests for bad fantasy. The opening sentence!

Can Clare Read More

Clockwork Prince: Ably fulfills its function

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

I’m giving Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare three stars, because it ably fulfills its function as the second book in the INFERNAL DEVICES series, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did Clockwork Angel. The writing is fine and the story moves well, but somehow our heroic characters just aren’t shown at their best in this volume.

After the debacle at the end of Clockwork Angel, Benedict Lightwood, patriarch of another Shadowhunter family, challenges Charlotte Branwell for control of the London Institute. His reasons are mostly couched in the language of sexism, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Charlotte’s husband Henry is a distracted genius who has to be reminded to eat; the Shadowhunters who live in the Institute are underage and one of them, Wil... Read More

Clockwork Princess: Has this series lost steam?

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare, felt like an overloaded cargo plane lumbering down a runway, trying to get airborne. This is the third book in Clare’s INFERNAL DEVICES series, the Victorian prequel to her MORTAL INSTRUMENTS books, and in this one the soap opera overwhelms the story.

The INFERNAL DEVICES series follows Tessa Gray, an orphaned American who came to London to live with her brother. Tessa was captured by demons and forced to use her unusual abilities for their benefit. Tessa was rescued by Will Herondale, a handsome, reckless Shadowhunter (superhuman demon-fighter) and Will’s parabatai or “blood brother,” Jem Carstairs. Tessa was brought to the Shadowhunter Institute in London for sanctuary. Her own heritage was a mystery. Is she a Shadowhunter herself? A demon? Something different?

This has been the central mystery of ... Read More

The Iron Trial: A mixed bag, but entertaining enough

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

I listened to The Iron Trial, by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare on audiobook, narrated by Paul Boehmer. It tells the story of Callum Hunt, or Cal, a boy who enrolls in a magical boarding school, makes friends, irritates teachers, and finds out he's been marked from birth by the greatest enemy the magical world knows. Sounds familiar, right?

I read a lot of complaining reviews about this Middle Grade book, all accusing The Iron Trial of being a Harry Potter rip-off. Cassandra Clare is, after all, the woman who got her start by writing Harry Potter fan-fic. This is not Harry Potter fan-fic, though, any more than Star Wars is Joseph Campbell fan-fic.

The i... Read More

Zombies vs. Unicorns: Fun YA anthology

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black & Justine Larbalestier

Back in 2007, Holly Black and Justine Larabalestier got in an argument about which fiction creature was superior — zombies or unicorns. Spurred on by that debate, they each recruited some of their author friends to write short tales in which they present the storytelling possibilities of the two mythic beasts. With header notes for each story in which they discuss the historical background for the different takes on the creatures, Holly Black heads up Team Unicorn, and Justine Larbalestier heads up Team Zombie.

Writing for Team Unicorn, we have Kathleen Duey, Read More

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant (eds.)

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories is a new young adult collection edited by veteran anthologists Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. Featuring twelve conventional short stories and two graphic entries, Steampunk! showcases a wide variety of ideas and styles that fall under the steampunk umbrella. The collection is entertaining and is lent extra freshness by the variety of settings explored by the authors: none of the stories are set in Victorian London.

The book begins with “Some Fortunate Future Day” by Cassandra Clare. This is a creepy little story about a rather warped young girl who desires love but knows very little about it. Th... Read More

Dark Duets: A horror anthology

Dark Duets edited by Christopher Golden

Christopher Golden explains in his introduction to Dark Duets that writing is a solitary occupation right up until that moment an alchemical reaction takes place and a bolt of inspiration simultaneously strikes two writers who are friends. Golden has found that the results of collaboration are often fascinating and sometimes magical, as when Stephen King and Peter Straub teamed up to write The Talisman. Writing is an intimate, very personal process, Golden says, and finding someone to share it with is difficult but exciting. Golden therefore undertook to create a book full of such difficult, mag... Read More