Fighting your way through bad writing or The trek through the Mortal Instruments, part I

I have this problem with books I don’t like or find boring. I have this unexplainable need to finish them even if they are just awful or I can’t get into them. In fact I have a stack of books that about once a year  I pick up each one of them and for a month or so try to force myself to plow through, eventually to put it back at the bottom of the pile for another day. And while a few are books that I grabbed off the shelf because their covers called to me, most of them are books that were suggested to me by trusted friends  or colleagues or are prize winners and bestsellers that I felt were books I had to read to see what the hype was about. Sometimes this pile works out for the better. If it hadn’t been for my pile of unfinished reading I never would have given The Road a second chance, and now that I did, it is one of my favorite books.  Unfortunately most of these books end up returning to the pile over and over again only to pushed off again for another day. Poor Jurassic Park has been returning to that pile every year since I bought it in 1993. I want to read it, I really do, but I just can’t get past page 75!

And this brings me to my current problem. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I have two friends/colleagues who are just head over heels for this series. So when my Borders was going out of business I decided to purchase the first three in the series to see what all of the fuss was about. As I said these are people who’s literary judgement I hold in high regard, who have suggested other titles to me that I found to be exceptional and brilliant. So when they both insisted that I read this series I had no reason to doubt their suggestion.

Image courtesy of http://blackplume.files.wordpress.com If you are not familiar with this series here is a synopsis from the official website for the first book in the series:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Clary knows she should call the police, but it’s hard to explain a murder when the body disappears into thin air and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

Equally startled by her ability to see them, the murderers explain themselves as Shadowhunters: a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. Within twenty-four hours, Clary’s mother disappears and Clary herself is almost killed by a grotesque demon.

But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….

Sounds intriguing enough right? And don’t get me wrong the premise set up on the back of the book is enticing. But it stops there.

This book was terrible! The writing was mediocre at best, the social interaction between the characters is uncomfortable and unimaginative, and the “sexy” aspect that is toted on the cover by tween author Holly Black, is entertaining at best and down right nauseating by the end. (I will go into no more on that as not to spoil it for those of you who still wish to read it.)

Now this is just the first book. I bought the first three. My hope is that by the end of it all I will see what all the hype was about, but I am currently on page 200 of Book 2, The City of Ashes, and I have been on page 200 for about 3 weeks now. I really am trying, but this book has been sitting by my bedside for weeks and I keep opting to listen to old time radio shows instead of reading it. Hopefully this book is not going the  way of Jurassic Park, and hopefully it gets better…I’ll keep you posted.

 

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