Clary Fray feels different. She’s told at one point that every teenager feels that way: estranged, lonely, and awkward in their own skin. Like they don’t belong. However, in Clary’s case, she is different.
She was raised by Jocelyn Fray, a single mother who absolutely didn’t believe in fairy tales. Not vampires, not werewolves, not warlocks, not faeries…. Especially not demons. So when Clary meets Jace Wayland, she begins to doubt everything she ever believed.
“‘Have you had dealings with demons, little girl? Walked with warlocks, talked with the Night Children? Have you -‘
Clary interrupted. ‘… I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t believe in – in demons, or whatever you -‘”
She has to face that which she doesn’t believe full-on when a demon attacks her in her own apartment. In a moment of luck, she kills it; but not before it injects her with poison.
Jace finds her, still conscious but slowly weakening, and takes her to the Institution, where his mentor, Hodge, heals her.
“‘I’m an ordinary human being, just like you said…’
‘…I wouldn’t be so quick to brand myself as ordinary, if I were you.'”
She’s discovered to be just what Jace is: a Shadowhunter. Shadowhunters are protectors of the earth and killers of demons. The Institution is a sort of haven for Shadowhunters who want rest, food, and so forth.
The Institution is run by the Lightwoods. The parents and youngest brother are traveling, but Alec and Isabelle, the two oldest, remain with Hodge and Jace. And they do just what Shadowhunters are supposed to do: kill demons.
Clary’s best friend, Simon, who is, as Jace said, “the most mundane mundane” he’s ever met. (A mundane is a human… a non-Shadowhunter/Downworlder) He is dragged into the mess, and Jace grudgingly allows him to come with them, but his patience wears thin on more than one occasion.
It’s also the job of the Shadowhunters to keep the Downworlders in line. Downworlders are half-human: vampires, warlocks, werewolves, faeries. Shadowhunters are obligated to, according to the Clave (the Shadowhunter’s form of government), make sure the Downworlders aren’t getting into trouble, causing problems, or eating humans.
Now that they know Jocelyn is missing, Clary is completely set on finding her. Hodge is more interested in why a mundane household was attacked by a demon to begin with, since Clary insists that her mother can’t possibly be a Shadowhunter. Her dead father has to be, because her mother doesn’t believe in any of that… Right?
The whole book starts out with Clary and Simon going to a club, which is full of dancing, drinking, “a boy with a lip piercing and a teddy bear backpack [who] [is] handing out free tablets of herbal ecstasy”, and “a young Asian couple [is] making out passionately”.
Gore Gauge: rated “People Get Wounded”
I’m going to be very honest: as I’m going back and editing some of my reviews and adding in some of my rating scales, I don’t even remember what happened in this book. I don’t remember if anyone dies (although I can tell you that nobody particularly vital to the storyline does, so there isn’t too much heartbreak if your invested in the main characters). But there is quite a bit of violence and some scary elements.
Tongue Scale: rated “Wash That Mouth Out”
The Lord’s name is taken in vain (in several forms) at least 10 times, along with other profanities: b*st*rd, h*ll, *ss, d*mn, b*tch, and a few other less offensive but still inappropriate words like piss and dick.
Firecracker Scale – rated “Flame”
Alec is presumed to be gay early on (the presumptions are accurate), and Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn, becomes his “potential lover”.
Now Jace and Clary’s relationship. From the get-go, it’s already pretty unhealthy. In his thoughts, Jace admits that he has never want to hurt a girl more in his life.
They do, also, kiss a few times.
FYI *SPOILERS IN NEXT FEW PARAGRAPHS*
Then you find out that Jace and Clary are stinkin’ siblings. Like, WHAT. At the end of the book, it sort of left you thinking, “Oh, there are only brotherly/sisterly feelings there. That’s good.” The unsettling feeling in my stomach subsided.
Now I’m jumping a teensy bit into book two, City of Ashes, so that you have an idea of how their relationship sort of unfolds. You realize that Clary still has feelings for Jace, and they are definitely reciprocated. Which I’m like, “Okay. Yeah. You liked each other, and it’s going to be hard to get over that, but you will!” It seems to me, though, that they aren’t trying hard enough. They still pursue each other in awkward, subtle ways.
Then, in a very uncomfortable, completely uncalled for scene, Jace and Clary are forced to kiss.
Basically, they go to visit the faerie queen, who demands that in order to leave, Clary must kiss who she most desires. At least I think that’s how it went. To be completely honest, I was doing some serious skimming because I was getting totes grossed out. Because obviously, Clary desires Jace, and it’s supposed to be all romantic, blah blah blah, and I pretty much almost threw up.
Wrong on so many levels.
As I am 99.999999999% sure that Jace and Clary are indeed NOT siblings, I know it will turn out okay-ish. But like, EW.
Let me put it this way: my mom had a foster brother named Michael, and he used to think that if you said, “chicken nuggets” then you were swearing. However, occasionally you would hear him muttering it. So what happened? My grandparents punished him. Not because “chicken nuggets” is actually a bad phrase, but because he thought it was. The sin was in his heart.
Other Negative Content:
Madame Dorothea is rumored to be a witch, and she keeps astrological instruments in her apartment. Later, a witch is defined as someone who is not a warlock but tries to teach themselves magic.
“Nephilim” is another name for the Shadowhunters and are defined as the offspring of humans and angels. Nephilim were “created” when humans became overrun by demons. A warlock summoned the Angel Raziel, who mixed his blood with human blood. Then, whoever drank this mixture would become a Shadowhunter.
These “Nephilim” were mentioned in the Bible in Genesis. “When man began to increase in number on the earth and the daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then The Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal, his days will be a hundred and twenty years.’ The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
…. God wasn’t exactly thrilled that angels were having babies with humans.
“[Jace] shrugged. ‘I’m not really a believer.’
Clary looked at him in surprise. ‘You’re not?’
He shook his head… ‘You thought I was religious?’ he said.
‘Well.’ She hesitated. ‘If there are demons, then there must be…’
‘Must be what?… Ah,’ he said. ‘You mean if there’s this -‘ and he pointed down, toward the floor. ‘There must be this.’ He pointed up, toward the ceiling.
‘It stands to reason. Doesn’t it?'”
You’d think it would. But really, it doesn’t. God doesn’t appear to have any role at all, in fact.
“‘Let me put it this way,’ [Jace] said… ‘My father believed in a righteous God. Deus volt, that was his motto – ‘because God wills it’. It was the Crusader’s motto, and they went out to battle and were slaughtered, just like my father. And when I saw him lying dead in a pool of his own blood, I knew then that I hadn’t stopped believing in God. I’d just stopped believing that God cared. There might be a God, Clary, and there might not, but I don’t think it matters. Either way, we’re on our own.'”
Which begs the question: if God did exist in their world, would He agree with and bless what the Shadowhunters did? What they were? I somehow doubt that He would.
And is it right that Shadowhunters kill demons? I mean, demons are bad, so does that mean killing them is good? Is the enemy of my enemy really my friend?
Considering I’m not a fan of this book at all, even if I weren’t reading it from a Christian perspective, it makes it difficult to find the good in the story. I didn’t find that it was very well-written. I didn’t really like most of the characters. I guess you could say that Clary is brave on occasion and Simon is loyal to the end, but I can’t really give you any other reasons to read this book, or if you have, for you to continue reading the series.
And even if I did enjoy the book, and even if it was a literary achievement, I can’t discount the evil. I can’t shake off the uncomfortable feeling that the book gives me.
Don’t get me wrong, guys. It’s an interesting concept, and there are a few redeeming qualities, I’m sure. I actually thought it was going to be a bit like the TV show, Supernatural. I only watch it occasionally, but it’s a show where they… Well… Kill demons. It’s very dark and yes, demons are scary and evil, but we know that those are real. Not necessarily vampires and such, but we know that demons exist. They are supernatural beings.
But this story had so many other dark elements and references. If it had just been about killing demons, hey, maybe this might’ve been more acceptable. But it runs so much deeper than that here, and it’s not something I want to dwell and think on.
For a while, I discounted all the bad in the books, and sort of just ignored it all.
But the reason I chose this book to start my blog with was because this is what I believe in the most. Out of all the books I’ve ever read, this is the one I am the most convicted of and convinced that I don’t want to fill my head with this.
Again, these are mostly opinions, but all of them have a Scriptural basis.