Cassandra Clare


The Mortal Instruments Series

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A thousand years ago, the Angel Raziel mixed his blood with the blood of men and created the race of the Nephilim. Human-angel hybrids, they walk among us, unseen but ever-present, our invisible protectors. They call themselves Shadowhunters. The Shadowhunters obey the laws set down in the Gray Book, given to them by the angel: their mandate is to protect our world from the interdimensional parasites they call demons, who travel from world to world, razing and destroying everything in their path. Theirs is also the task of keeping the peace among the warring Downworlders: the human-demon crossbreeds we know as warlocks, vampires, werewolves, and faeries. In their duties they are aided by the mysterious Silent Brothers. Their lips and eyes sewn shut, the Silent Brothers rule over the City of Bones, the necropolis below the streets of Manhattan that holds the dead bodies of slain Shadowhunters. The Silent Brothers keep the archival records of ever Shadowhunter ever born. They also watch over the Mortal Instruments, the three divine objects the Angel Raziel gave to his children. One is a sword. One is a mirror. And the last is a cup. For a thousand years, the Nephilim have protected the Mortal Instruments. But that was before the Uprising, the civil war that almost tore the Shadowhunters’ secret world apart. Though Valentine Morgenstern, the Shadowhunter who started the war, is long dead, the wounds it left behind have never healed. Fifteen years have passed since the Uprising. It’s August in New York; the streets blistering with heat. Rumors run rampant through Downworld that Valentine is back, at the head of an army of Forsaken warriors. And the Mortal Cup has gone missing…

When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder— much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died.Or was he a boy? This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary people like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

So begins the story of The Mortal Instruments, an epic six-book fantasy series centering on the adventures of Clary Fray and her friends and fellow adventurers. (Click the picture below to catch a glimpse of some of the characters.)

The Mortal Instruments: Fall in Central Park  by Cassandra Jean. From left: Maia, Simon, Isabelle, Sebastian, Jace, Clary, Jocelyn, Luke, and Jordan.


The Mortal Instruments is becoming a movie, released by Sony/Constantin Pictures August 23, 2013. You can read more about it here.

Reviews of the series:

“Clare’s atmospheric setting is spot-on, informed equally by neo-gothic horror films and the modern fantasy leanings of Neil Gaiman. Werewolves, vampires, angels and fairies all fit in this ambitious milieu. At the core, though, this is a compelling story about family secrets and coming-of-age identity crises. Fans of the smart/chic horror typified by Buffy the Vampire Slayer will instantly fall for this new series.”

– Publishers Weekly

“This urban fantasy series opener spices its fight against evil with sexual tension. Fifteen-year-old geek hipster Clary thought she was just a normal kid, but normal kids don’t see invisible people, and normal kids’ mothers don’t suddenly disappear, seemingly captured by horrific monsters. But like many fantasy heroines, Clary isn’t normal, and she’s got all the secret parentage, dramatic revelations, and amazing magic powers to prove it….The story’s sensual flavor comes from the wealth of detail: demons with facial piercings, diners serving locusts and honey, pretty gay warlocks, and cameo appearances from other urban fantasies’ characters….Lush and fun.”

– Kirkus Reviews

“New York is the city that never sleeps, but evil spirits, angels, warlocks, faeries, and shadowhunters don’t need much rest anyway. The city is home to Cassandra Clare’s young-adult debut novel City of Bones, a cool, pleasingly dark and spicy urban fantasy. Clare has experienced New York City as ‘a place of dark enchantment: cavernous, shadowy and full of secrets, from its huge Gothic cathedrals to its ruined cemetaries to the tiny hidden angels in Central Park. I tried to bring out that sense of urban mystery,’ she says—and what a success. The book’s sharply drawn combination of comedy, love and drama features a hip 15-year-old girl and a demon hunter who is nothing if not a mixed blessing. ‘I wanted to write a book about the kinds of kids who were like me when I was young,’ says the author. ‘They’re sci-fi and fantasy lovers, they adore anime and television shows with fantastical elements, likeHeroes and Supernatural. When they find out there’s a whole secret world of warlocks and vampires and demon-slayers, their response isn’t shock or horror, but, “You know, I always suspected that way the way things were…”

– Kirkus (Debut Fiction Special Issue)

“With the plethora of vampire titles published lately, it is difficult to find the good ones, but this one is it — a must-read for all fantasy fans. If your teens missed the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, buy multiple copies and watch both books fly off your shelves… The interaction between Clary, Jace and Simon, Clary’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, is fascinating, the plot is fast paced, and the battle scenes are straight out of an action movie.”



“Trust us, you’ll be so into this smart, funny, romantic read that you won’t even be frustrated at the cliff-hanger ending — we’re just counting down to 2009, when the final chapter in Clary’s story hits the shelves!”

– Cosmo Girl Magazine

“Clary’s adventures take her to the unearthly City of Bones and encounters with the Silent Brothers, granting her tantalizing bits of knowledge about Downworlders, the history of angels, the Mortal Instruments whose involvement makes this tale the start of a longer quest, and—of course—herself. Mixing light and dark, teen banter with Miltonian citations, Cassandra Clare manages to make the whole thing work and left me looking forward to the next adventure.”

– Locus

“Readers looking to the future will note that Clary succesfully harnesses her rediscovered supernatural powers and and forms several new, intense friendships, that she will desperately need as she tries to save her still-comatose mother, discover her own complex and often dark familial roots, and determine her destiny, both in the magical world and in her own everyday life. Indeed, with the strong plot, brilliant heroine, and surrounding cast of intriguing and well-developed side characters (including the sexy and tortured Jace), fantasy buffs will be eagerly anticipating the next volume.”

– The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This novel is so much fun to read! Fast-paced, funny, dark, and exciting. Clare has dipped her pen in the deep resources of fairy lore and epic tales, and has her ear well tuned to the teenage voice. The plot is tight, twisting, and full of surprises. City of Bones is the first of a series—The Mortal Instruments—and it promises great things to come.”

– Endicott Journal for the Mythic Arts

“City of Bones is that ever-so-rare rare creature these days—well-crafted YA fiction where at least some of the teenagers are both likable and believable….Before this novel reaches its ending point, Clary will get used to sexy teen-aged boys covered in tattoos, really cool flying motorcycles powered by things best not thought about, awesomely cool weapons, werewolves who are allies in the Shadowhunters’ war, vampires who most decidedly are not friendly, flirtations with being in love, lessons about the dangers of finding out what you didn’t know, and much more. It this a fast-paced novel? Yes indeed. Is it a good set-up for the next two novels in the series? Quite so. And quite original as well.”


“This debut novel from a brilliant, smart new voice in Young Adult literature is a marvelous adventure, full of fantastic twists and turns just when they’re least expected. The complexity of the story, the threads from the past and present intertwined, is reminiscent of the Harry Potter series—and that’s high praise! The captivating story told by the very talented Cassandra Clare in City of Bones is surely the start of a brilliant series—I can’t wait for the next Mortal Instruments book. This fantasy is truly unforgettable.”


“A non-stop action novel that blends magic with humor, romance with vengeance, resulting in an irresistable labyrinthine tale of rich and (seemingly) infinite subplots. Characters switch sides, then switch again, and points of view get skewed partway through, leaving the reader wondering just what the true story is and who Clary should trust. Motorcycle vampire gangs, a hard-partying Warlock, and street-packs of werewolves—not to mention some horrific creatures all Clare’s own invention—find their way into the story, bringing both aid and hindrance. Weaving elements of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural with Holly Black’s modern faery stories, the author has crafted a new classic of contemporary fantasy that is going to have readers tearing up the Internet with discussion, and has raised the bar for other writers in the genre.”


“This book was an incredibly enjoyable surprise. In this world, ‘all the stories are true.’ Meaning, the stories about werewolves, vampires, and other things that go bump in the night are all real. With smart-aleck, teenage characters, scary adults, and even scarier bad guys; you never know when the next twist in the story will be revealed. … With intense action scenes, big mysteries, amusing characters, and a little teenage angst; this book should be a lot of fun for teens and adults alike.”


“Cassie’s writing makes my toes curl with envy. She is the rare writer who can write fast-paced dramatic fantasy with gorgeous language and memorable characters that you grow to love and worry about, as well as really funny bits that will make you honestly laugh and remember them and repeat them to your friends. It is rare to find someone who can do any one of those things well; to find someone who can do them all is just dangerous.”

– Holly Black, author of Tithe and Valiant

“The Mortal Instruments series is a story world that I love to live in. I hate to see the story end, but if it has to end, then City of Glass is the most perfect way for that to happen. Beautiful!”

– Stephenie Meyer, internationally bestselling author of Twilight

“This book has terror, unexpected twists, sorrow—it is tragedy edged by lightning, driven by power and love. Clare keeps getting better!”

– Tamora Pierce, bestselling author of The Will of the Empress

“It’s vampires versus werewolves in Harlem, while sexy demon hunters prowl through downtown clubs and Brooklyn coffeehouses—City of Bones is epic urban fantasy at its demented, delightful best. Cassandra Clare is a genius.”

– Kelly Link, author of Magic For Beginners

“Dagger-sharp, funky, and cool, Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones is among the best of the post-Buffy monster hunter sagas. It’s a blast.”

– Christopher Golden, author of The Myth Hunters

“The first book in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones, instigates an enormous urban fantasy that pulls out all the stops. Embracing the young adult urban fantasy genre with gusto, this is a story that’s setting up something huge. Hell, this is only Book One and it’s almost 500 pages long, so it ain’t for wimps and it’s definitely a sprawler; but Clare has a death grip on her POV protagonist and she keeps the reins held tight. It’s definitely a first volume—which is to say that there’s a lot of set-up for only a partial pay-off, but I’m 100% game to see where the series goes from here. It’s chock-full of exactly the skillful writing you’d expect from Cassandra Clare, so it’s funny and frightening, fast and oddly effortless. I can’t believe how quickly the 500 pages flew by.”

– Cherie Priest, author of Four and Twenty Blackbirds

The Mortal Instruments series has been translated into over 34 languages.  You can see a variety of the international covers for the books here.

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