If you’re familiar with either any of Cassandra Clare’s shadowhunter tales, whether it’s the modern Mortal Instruments Series or victorian era Infernal Devices trilogy, you know how damn good those books are. City of Bones was the book that prompted me to begin reading again after a six-year slump (it was a rough six years y’all). Honestly, these books are some of the best YA I’ve ever read. The world-building is intricate and incredibly well thought out, the characters become like family, and the action sequences keep you on your toes at all times. In short, this series is amazing, and if you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out on an incredibly important chunk of YA literature.
Lately, there has been a huge wealth of new activity surrounding the Mortal Instruments series and Cassandra Clare, the author. First, City of Bones, the first book in the series, was turned into a movie that ended up being a huge flop at the box office (seriously y’all, it sucked. majorly). Then on March 30, 2015, ABC Family picked up Shadowhunters, a TV show based off of the best selling series. Instant chaos ensued. Everyone had an opinion. Some were excited (maybe a little too much), and some were understandably confused an upset, because if this series does have one glaring flaw, it’s that it translates horribly to the screen. Is that because its a bad series? No. In fact, it’s because it’s an incredibly good series. The characters are too deep and layered to successfully be portrayed by an actor. The world of shadowhunters is too complex for any screenwriter to build in an hour and half movie or twelve episode tv season. The paranormal elements of this series are too breathtaking and beautifully evil for any CGI effects to successfully convey. Essentially, this series and its writing is so good it’s destined to fail any and every time someone tries to bring it to life on the screen, because it is already teeming with life on the pages of Clare’s books.
Personally, I was in the middle. I loved the series and Clary, Jace, Simon, Izzy, Alec, and Magnus. I thought it would be awesome if someone did manage to pull it off and bring the world of shadowhunters to the silver screen. However, those hopes were dashed as soon as I saw the seven minute teaser that was released at the New York Comic-Con. Honestly, I’ve never been more disappointed in my life. I wasn’t too surprised though, considering my hopes hadn’t been to high after the disaster that was the Mortal Instruments movie attempt. The TV show is looking to be much worse though. I was barely three minutes in before I started wishing I was watching the movie instead. It was painful to watch. The acting was terrible, the special effects made me cringe, and I haven’t seen anything that has looked more amateur in a long time.
The argument could be made that the TV show is still finding its feet and the first episodes won’t be very good. After all, Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf both had very shaky premieres, and it took me a few episodes to really get into them. However, I never felt the urge to cringe and turn away out of secondhand embarrassment for the cast. While the acting may have been cheesy, it never felt forced. It never felt over-rehearsed. I didn’t feel like I was suffering while watching them. Shadowhunters was just a complete mess compared to those premieres. Really, the only thing that I liked was Simon…just as in the books, he had funny lines, and the actor (Alberto Rosenda) seems to be the only competent actor on that show so far. Yes, I’ll still watch the pilot episode, but probably only to see how many drily humorous lines Simon has.
One good thing has come out of this whole tv show debacle though: the Mortal Instruments series (and Infernal Devices trilogy) has gotten completely redesigned covers. Normally, I scoff at marketing ploys at this, because we all know they’re just trying to make as much money as possible. However, after seeing the covers, I was pretty blown away. They. Were. Gorgeous. I was hesitant, because the original covers are pretty breathtaking, and most cover re-designs are a flop (with the exception of the Harry Potter series re-design), but as soon as I saw them I made my way over to Amazon and found myself hitting the “complete order” button. I’m not sure who designed these new covers, but they’re incredible. Clary and Isabelle look badass (and rightly so). Bravo.
So, it’s been an exciting few months for fans of the shadowhunters books. I’m eagerly awaiting my Amazon Prime shipment that will make my bookshelf a bit more beautiful, however my excitement for the January premiere of Shadowhunters is considerably less. Who knows though, maybe I’ll be wrong. Stay tuned, fellow fans.