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Book geekery

May 7, 2009

I’m talking about books again. My DVR isn’t set up, and I’m getting hopelessly behind in my television watching.

In my post-Twilight reading haze, I grasped around for another fix of teen romance and action, minus about three quarters of the navel-gazing. I stumbled on Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy. I feel bad bringing it up, but I’ll establish that Ms. Clare made a name for herself as a Harry Potter fanfiction writer before she secured a publishing deal. It seems almost unfair to mention it, but there are a few elements of her writing that jump out at me as heavily based in fanfic culture. I can’t tell you what, exactly, without spoiling a lot of plot. I say it seems unfair because she actually is a really good storyteller, and has done a marvelous job of creating a dynamic and exciting fictional world. I’ve read some criticism that her fantasy world rips off too much in the already crowded sci-fi/fantasy market, but really, if you have a world populated by demons, vampires, and werewolves, there are going to be some common mythic tropes that need to be trotted out. These creatures are popular in fiction for a reason, and I’m not convinced that something is an automatic rip off simply for incorporating them into a fantasy world.

The books are packed full of action and plot twists that shocked me to the point where I almost chucked them across the room in reading rage. I may have also screamed at the books a little. That said, I absolutely could not stop reading them. The teen heroine can get a little self-absorbed and whiny at times, but she’s nowhere near as annoying as Bella Swan. A small point of contention I have is that it seems like almost every teen heroine these days has sexy curly red hair, which is getting a little old and smacks a bit too much of Mary Sue-ism. Overall, I highly recommend these books for indulgent summer escapism.

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