After City of Bones completely flopped at the box office, I heard that this series was going to happen instead of a sequel. Then I promptly forgot about it until now.
City of Ashes, the second book in The Mortal Instruments series, was already supposed to be filmed and out by now—but it wasn’t a good sign when it kept getting delayed. Eventually, the second movie was cancelled altogether. Constantin Film announced in 2014 that instead it would be doing a television show called Shadowhunters, and after that I heard almost nothing about the franchise at all and just assumed that it had been cancelled as well. I guess I was wrong.
Potential spoilers up ahead.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I like The Mortal Instruments on some levels—I kind of viewed those books the same way I do The Inheritance Cycle, as guilty pleasures. They’re enjoyable, but they’re really not that well written. So while part of me is a bit excited for a TV series re-adaptation of the first book, City of Bones—then the rest of the series based on its success—another part of me is just kind of cringing at the potential badness to come.
City of Bones is a typical fantasy romance story. It reads very similar to Twilight, except it has more plot and better character development. Our titular character Clary witnesses a murder while out at a nightclub with her friend, and from there she is swept up in an epic adventure. She discovers that she is a Shadowhunter—someone who is descended from angels and who has magical powers that she can use in order to fight demons—and that evil bad things are after her. With the help of her fellow Shadowhunters Jace, Alec, and Isabelle, as well as her mundane (normal human) friend Simon, Clary manages to save both herself and her mother.
To make a long story short, it turns out that her mom used to be a Shadowhunter who went on the run to escape from another Shadowhunter who’s evil—Clary’s father. All in all, it’s not a bad story and there were a lot of things about the writing that I loved as well—Clary’s an artist, and so she describes everything by comparing them to different art styles.
My biggest problem with City of Bones was its tired old tropes and just generally how the story progressed. Because it’s a teen romance novel, we have to have a love triangle. Clary and Jace hook up, all while Simon acts as a third wheel. It’s been a while since I read the series, but I don’t remember it handling Simon’s friendzone storyline all that well, and he goes out of his way to emotionally punish Clary for her decision and make her feel horrible about it, as if he were entitled to her. Then we have Jace, who is a typical bad boy wearing leather pants. Some of my distaste for his relationship with Clary comes from the fact that I just cannot relate to it, but I’m sure most of that distaste comes from the fact that Jace is a giant asshole who treats Clary like shit. Later on, Clary and Jace are also tricked into believing that they’re brother and sister, and that doesn’t really stop their relationship either.
These are problems that I hope the new show will address. The trailer doesn’t really tell us all that much about the story or the characters, so it’s hard to say one way or another. It looks like everyone’s been aged up a couple years. Right now, I don’t know how many episodes the series will be, but each episode is going to be around an hour long. Since it will be a television show, it’s going to have more time to adapt the source material, which means that at the very least, it probably won’t be a rushed mess like the movie and have more time to expand on the characters and explore the world. I’m hoping that Shadowhunters will be what I need in order to reinvigorate my like for the series. It premieres in January, so I guess we’ll find out then.