Today is a hugely exciting day in the world of YA lit, because Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments #4, City of Fallen Angels, is finally released after a 2-year wait. I am halfway through #3, City of Glass, but I wanted to celebrate the latest book’s release. So, instead of waiting to catch up entirely with the series (which I have just finally started reading this year), I thought I’d talk about the first two books, City of Bones and City of Ashes.

First of all, they are fantastic. It’s hard to talk about them without giving away the secrets, but I’ll do my best.

Clary Fray is your average Brooklyn-raised teenager. Artist single mother, gawky best friend Simon, an artist herself. Until one night when she and Simon are at a club and she sees things that no one else can. People that no one else can. Following these people sets into motion a series of events that finds her mother missing, Simon turned into a rat, demons on the loose,  and fighting between vampires and werewolves as the world of the Shadowhunters is revealed to her. And that’s just the first book, City of Bones. Clare’s writing is funny, sharp, absolutely in the voice of its teenage heroes and heroines, and wildly appealing. I’m not always a fan of high fantasy, but this one had me from the word “go.”

And City of Ashes continues the ride, although I did slightly prefer the first book. I really can’t say as much about the second book without revealing a whole lot about the first, but I will say that it picks up right where the first left off, with Clary’s mother still in peril. But there’s a lot more lovin’ developing in this book. Simon going through more than the typical changes of a hormonal teenager, a (possibly) incestuous teenage relationship, and a not-so-secret gay love affair involving the High Warlock of Brooklyn, for example. And that’s part of what I love about this series. While the (possible) incest idea is completely squicky and gross, I think it’s fabulous that Clare addresses real teenage hormones in the context of this fantasy.

I am now halfway through City of Glass, and I can’t wait to finish it and dive into the 4th book.