City of Bones Guest Post: Cliché or not Cliché? That is the question.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Today, Carina from Dystopian Desserts will be joining us to bring about a discussion of Cassandra Clare's series, The Mortal Instruments. I'm in love with these books and I thought, if you were not tempted to go out and buy the whole series when I talk about it- Carina will surely make you. I welcome you, Carina! Here's what she said about the series:

First off, I'd like to thank the absolutely amazing Gina from The Bucket List for hosting such a wonderful event! I'm absolutely thrilled to be writing a guest post, and about the epic Mortal Instruments Series no less!

So as I've had many vehement discussions with a few friends, who also happen to be avid fans of the series, there was a topic that I found genuinely interesting. It was regarding whether or not The City of Bones was considered "cliché" or not. Think about it, what truly makes this book amazing? Is there something special about the main character or storyline that has never been explored before by a different author? What makes this book stand out from the rest of the books sitting on the YA Romance or Adventure shelves of Barnes & Noble?

I've given this a lot of thought, and I've come to conclude that the reason City of Bones is such an amazing blend of literature, is because it is the perfect combination of a classic love triangle and a fresh action-packed concept. To further support my theory, I've created a list of cliché and new elements found in the story:

  • Strong heroine (Clary)
  • Gorgeous love interest (Jace)
  • Boy next door (Simon)
  • Girl can fight (Clary)
  • Evil villain who wants to rule the world (Valentine)
  • Star-Crossed Love (Jace/Clary)
  • Unrequited Love (Simon/Clary)
  • Gorgeous girl (Isabelle)
  • Loyal best friend (Simon)
  • Missing parent (Jocelyn)
  • Crazy warlock who dresses outlandishly (Magnus Bane)
  • Runes
  • Shadowhunters
  • Plot
Yup, take a good look at that list. I know it looks as if the cliché category vastly outnumbers the Un-Cliché category, but that's because most of the character personalities are typical, whereas the entire plot (which encompasses basically everything) and the concept of "runes" and "Shadowhunters" is entirely new and refreshing. Recently, girls who take the lead in adventure-type stories have started to evolve into a type of stereotype in itself. They're always headstrong, independent, and full of fighting-spirit. Take Katniss from The Hunger Games for example, or even Lena from Delirium; although all the stories are vastly different, each girl possesses the same determined quality. Not to mention, there always has to be a love interest. If you haven't already fallen in love with Jace Wayland, I guarantee you will...soon. In some ways, Clary is your typical frustrating high school girl, but by the end of the book, she evolves into a mature young woman. Her outlook on the situation is different and so does her relationship with other characters. Perhaps this is due to the natural progression of a storyline.

In conclusion, I'd like to ask what you think makes the City of Bones such a successful and entertaining story. Is it because you can relate to some of the characters' stereotypical qualities? Or is it the new and refreshing plot that captivates your interest? Regardless of what you decide, The Mortal Instruments Series is a phenomenal read that has whisked me away into countless adventures.

-Carina L. Tai

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  1. Really interesting post, I have still to read both the hunger games and the city of bones, but even still you can see many books following the same formula but with a slightly different spin.

    I'd like to add that the forest of hands and teeth could also be used as another example and probably has most of those clichéd points, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.