The Infernal Devices
The Mortal Instruments
The Mortal Instruments
Let's begin with just a little bit about the background on my relationship with Cassandra Clare's books.
My first venture into the Shadowhunter world was on the first day of January, 2012. I had just gotten a kindle for Christmas, and had been browsing Amazon, trying to see what books sounded interesting. I stumbled across City of Bones and it sounded interesting, so I read the sample. Immediately after, I downloaded the book, which I proceeded to read in a single day. I then read City of Ashes, City of Glass, and City of Fallen Angels fairly soon afterward. However, that's as far in the series, and apart from a City of Bones re-read, I hadn't touched any of Cassie Clare's books until this challenge began in May.
Time to get into some comparisons!
The Mortal Instruments: TMI opens in New York City in 2007, with our main character, fifteen-year-old Clary Fray. She and her best friend, Simon, go out one night in the city and Clary sees three teenagers that no-one else can see. The next day, she sees Jace- one of those teenagers- again, just before discovering that her mother has disappeared. She learns that Jace and his friends are Shadowhunters- people who hunt and kill demons. As she tries to figure out what has happened to her mother, she discovers that her mother was part of this world- and that she might be as well.
The Infernal Devices: The ID opens in London in 1878. Sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray has just arrived in London to live with her brother, Nathaniel. She's taken captive by two warlocks called the Dark Sisters, who tell her that their boss, The Magister, has taken her brother hostage. She's told that the only way to save her brother is to learn to use a power she didn't know she had- the ability to change into different people using one of their belongings. If she does so, the Magister will marry her and her brother will be freed. She's saved from the Dark Sisters by William Herondale, a teenage Shadowhunter, who takes her to the London Institute. Tessa and her new Shadowhunter friends set out to find her brother and to discover who the evil "Magister" is and how to stop him before he can get to Tessa.
Comparison: Because I started with TMI, its setting will always feel like home for me in this world. However, I'm a sucker for all things British (both my favorite band and my favorite book series are British!) and so I also really enjoy the London setting. As far as the time period, I definitely prefer current day (well, 2007). I got pretty tired of how proper many of the characters were in the ID. Basic premise-wise, I think that the Infernal Devices start out with the more interesting and exciting premise. Tessa is not only trying to save her brother, but also trying to save herself from The Magister. It's a little more compelling than Clary's initial quest of finding her mother.
Clary Fray (TMI) vs. Tessa Gray (ID)
Although these two characters go through similar situations (especially in the beginning), I feel like these two characters are very different. At first, Clary is a bit frustrating. She misses obvious things because she isn't thinking, she carelessly jumps into dangerous situations, and often when a battle scene would break out, she would just kinda... watch. However, as the series goes on, she grows and evolves. She learns to harness her new-found unique power and how to become a fighter, and by the end of the series, she's a much stronger character. Tessa, on the other hand, starts out as a pretty good character. She's extremely driven and is always willing to make herself useful to save her friends or herself. However, she doesn't grow much as a character. She stays pretty static throughout the whole series.
Overall: I feel like Clary is the superior main character. She was really frustrating in the beginning, but due to the growth she shows throughout the series, she gets the upper hand. Tessa is a consistent character, but I think growth outweighs consistency.
Main Romantic Characters/Relationships
Jace Wayland (TMI) vs. Jem Carstairs (ID) vs. Will Herondale (ID)
The male main characters are the ones that Cassie Clare crafts best. The Mortal Instruments has Jace: sarcastic, witty, and arrogant, yet completely lovable. The Infernal Devices has Jem and Will, both of which are very dynamic characters. Like Jace, Will is confident and sarcastic, but underneath a hard facade, he's a very conflicted, but loving and sweet character. And of course, everyone loves him because he loves literature and is constantly quoting the classics. Jem, on the other hand, is gentle but passionate, with the desire to be a great Shadowhunter. And as a violist, I personally love him because he's a violinist.
Overall: These three, along with Magnus Bane, are my absolute FAVORITE characters in Cassie Clare's books, so it's really tough for me to choose. If I were to pick a single favorite, I'd have to say Jace. I feel like Cassie Clare took inspiration from him when creating both Will and Jem, because combining them creates Jace. He's confident and sarcastic, with a definite soft side, and he's both a book lover and a musician. However, if I were asked to choose between the two series, I don't think I could. So though my favorite singular character of the 3 is Jace, the series are tied as far as characters.
However, as far as the relationships go, we have a love triangle in the ID and simple relationship drama in TMI. The love triangle is the definite winner. I love all of the eventual couples equally- no losers here- but the drama surrounding the relationships is better in the Infernal Devices. She crafted a really great love triangle, and I found myself rooting for both Jem and Will. I love Clary and Jace as a couple, but so much of their drama seemed unnecessary.
Cast of Main/Secondary Characters
Although Clary, Tessa, Jace, Will, and Jem will factor into this section, I'm going to be focusing more upon the other characters in their series.
The Mortal Instruments has more characters that make up our core group. Aside from Jace and Clary, we have Simon, Clary's ever-faithful best friend, Alec, Jace's parabatai, and Isabelle, one of the best Shadowhunters of her age. We also have Maia, a werewolf, and Magnus Bane, warlock extraordinaire, who tend to toe the line between the core characters and the secondary characters. Then, of course, we have Jocelyn and Luke, who are the main adults in the series. However, in the Infernal Devices, Will, Tessa, and Jem are really the only core main characters. Jessamine, the reluctant Shadowhunter, Sophie, the maid, Charlotte and Henry, the heads of the London Institute, and Magnus Bane are all firmly in the secondary characters realm.
Overall: I have to say that I care more about the cast of characters in The Mortal Instruments. While I feel like Clary and Jace are equal to Jem, Will & Tessa, the other characters in TMI are significantly stronger than the other characters in the ID. I absolutely LOVE Magnus Bane, and he plays a much larger role in TMI than in the ID.
Overall Plot/ Quality
This is where my book and series ratings come into play. Let me give you a quick rundown on the ratings.
Clockwork Angel: 9/10
Clockwork Prince: 9.5/10
Clockwork Princess: 10/10
Infernal Devices trilogy: 9.75/10
City of Bones: 9.4/10
City of Ashes: 9.3/10
City of Glass: 10/10
City of Fallen Angels: 8.5/10
City of Lost Souls: 9/10
City of Heavenly Fire: 10/10
The Mortal Instruments series: 9.5/10
So, as you can see, the series have their differences. Although it's only 3 books, I felt like the Infernal Devices was a slightly better crafted and more consistent series. It started solidly, and just got better and better, concluding with Clockwork Princess, which has become one of my all-time favorite books. Personally, I think it's the best of all of her books. The Mortal Instruments is a little up and down for me. The original trilogy is pretty strong, concluding with City of Glass, my favorite book of the series. The misstep- for me- was the 4th and 5th books, which (in my opinion) didn't hold up to the earlier books.
Overall: Although TMI has been more successful in past sections of this post, for me the clear winner was the Infernal Devices. I already gave it a higher rating, and the books were more consistent.
Bonus Comparison: Covers!
This one's a toughie. If Clockwork Angel's cover was a little better, the Infernal Devices would win hands down because I absolutely love the covers of Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess. I like both of those covers better than any of TMI's covers. However, I really like half of TMI's covers (City of Glass, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire) but the other half were pretty meh.
Overall: I don't know which series has the overall better covers, but I do know for sure the best Cassie Clare cover:
The series definitely excel in different areas. I think the ID is better written, but I prefer the full cast of characters in TMI. I love the love triangle in the ID, and I love the time period of TMI.
Objectively, I think that the Infernal Devices is the better series. The areas where the trilogy excelled were a little more important to the overall quality of the series, so it got the upper hand a little. However, subjectively, I love them both. I keep going back and forth between which I like more.
Overall: Both of these series are AMAZING. Harry Potter is, of course, my all-time favorite series, and I've always said that the Pendragon series is my second favorite. I'll have to wait until I re-read Pendragon to fully make up my mind, but I think that I can safely say that these two series share the second place spot now. Cassie Clare is certainly among my favorite authors.
So, there you go, that's all for this summer reading post, and that's all for my May Cassandra Clare challenge!
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