I'm going to go ahead and spout this out real quick: your two main characters (Jace and Clary) are both Shadowhunters (angels who kill demons) who might be brother and sister and are in love. The bad guy (Valentine) is their father. The secret subtitle to this book is It's a Jerry Springer Christmas.
There's also a secret homosexual warlock relationship. More flying motorcycles. Invisible buildings. Monsters. Etc. It gets more odd than that, though.
Everyone is related. Through demon blood, through adoption, through DNA; everyone is family. If you're not related you're linked by magic. Not only that: everyone is attractive. Everyone! There's not a single ugly person in this book. It must--excuse this lame joke--run in the family.
We've also got a bad guy that's logical. Valentine is logical. I found myself wondering the entire book why he was the bad guy. Let's get a list going of things Valentine wants to do:
- Destroy all demons.
- Protect the Earth by turning all humans into Shadowhunters.
- Stop his kids from banging.
WHY IS HE THE VILLAIN!? Why!? There's all these Hell Dimensions filled with monsters getting ready to spill over into Earth and all Valentine wants to do is create more demon fighting guys! Sure, he wants to destroy Idris (Home of the Shadowhunters) but those guys are assholes. And sure, he also wants to kill a few "people" (werewolves and vampires) to get the job completely done, but let's take note of what those demons do throughout the book:
- Vampires attack and eat someone.
- Werewolves attack and eat someone.
- Fairies make people dance to death.
There's an argument to be made for Valentine's plan. If the Shadowhunters aren't going to do something, then damnit he's going rogue and getting the job done.* I kind of admire that. I admire the bad guy. He's compelling. That's a good thing. What makes the best villain is the one that thinks he's right.
Once again I'm surprised by Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments. The books are--and I say this without hesitation--ultra easy to read and painfully cheesy. It works, though. Clare doesn't try hard to make her Mortal Instruments serious. Her characters throw out one-liners and crack jokes, they reference movies and towards the end of the book there's an argument about Harry Potter.
It's all so light and fluffy and eww and haha at the same time. I can't recommend it enough. It just fucking works.
*I'm almost inclined to believe that Valentine is George W. Bush and this entire book is an analogy for the Iraq war.