How to Fix: The Shadowhunter Chronicles


Since 2007 Cassandra Clare has had her name on 14 books which, given that the majority of authors barely manage a book a year, is very impressive. I was therefore not surprised to discover that Clare was to be releasing yet another book in 2016. But it doesn’t take a genius to work out why she’s turning out these books so quickly.

1) The whole Shadowhunter thing is overdone

Cassandra Clare’s first series, The Mortal Instruments, centres on a young Shadowhunter named Clary Fray. Clary discovers her true nature whilst simultaneously developing feelings for her ‘brother’, as they both try to rid the world of their evil father. Complicated? It gets worse, as Clary must then destroy her real brother in the next three novels.

Then came The Infernal Devices, another series about Shadowhunters set in Victorian London. Then that got a sequel. Then The Bane Chronicles, a spin off series from The Mortal Instruments. Then The Shadowhunter’s Codex and Tales from the Shadowhunters Academy, and the list goes on.

For those who are getting a little confused here, a Shadowhunter is basically a well-trained mortal with the ability to draw magical symbols. You read about Shadowhunters an awful lot in all of Clare’s books. Although I feel that Clare can be forgiven for her slight obsession with the Shadowhunter world as, let’s face it, few authors actually write books set in different universes once they’ve established a successful one.

2) Forbidden love is turning into an extremely common theme

Forbidden love is always exciting, just think back to the greats: Romeo and Juliet, Anna Karenina, even Twilight. It makes for an enthralling read.

In Clare’s first series, Clary’s love for her ‘brother’, Jace, is obviously just wrong, but the dynamic between the two characters was gripping stuff. Now this new book, Lady Midnight, threatens the reader with a repeat ,as the Shadowhunter, Emma, has fallen for the “one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love”. I’m getting a strong sense of déjà vu here. However, since discovering that City of Bones is basically Clare’s Harry Potter fanfiction published, I get the feeling plot regurgitation is one of Clare’s talents.

3) There is no end to the love triangles

Clare is not the only author to pad her books out with a confused girl deciding between two men. It seems our strong minded, strong willed fictional heroines often fall in love with multiple boys at the same time and that these boys continue to love her back until she finally picks ones.

Clare is, however, the only author I’ve ever read whose done this at least three times. There was Clary, Simon and Jace then Simon, Mia and Isabel and finally Tessa, Jem and Will. The love triangles are often predictable and are starting to show some familiar traits throughout the novels.

Cassandra Clare is a brilliant writer and she writes some very engaging books, don’t get me wrong. But they are starting to lack imagination. She seems to be churning out novel after novel with similar plotlines and familiar characters, set behind the same backdrop. A breath of originality once in a while couldn’t hurt.

Lady Midnight is expected to be published on the 8th of March 2016.


About Author

I am a third-year computer scientist. As a lover of fantasy and massive bookworm, when not behind a screen I can be found with my nose in a YA novel or attempting to write something. I'm a tragic cook but a pretty keen coder. Can be found on Twitter @hannah_dadd .

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