Hi there, would you mind explain why you consider cc and tmi books problematic? I mean they are a somehow flat especially compare to tid/tda but I don’t think i would called them problematic. As for Claire I have hear people to complain about her in the past but always judging by her books I can’t see why. Now this not to say you are wrong or anything like that. I’m just curious on the matter.
Hi! First I’d like to thank you for being so polite in your ask! I know a lot of CC and TMI fans, even casual fans, can be very rude about anyone who views CC or TMI negatively.
So, I’ll start with the analytical book stuff and then go on to the author gossip so that you can have some legit criticism and then read the gossip-y stuff if you’d like and I’ll even direct you to some posts that explain certain things in better details and offer sources so that it doesn’t seem like I’m just offering a bunch of baseless rumors. Also, be warned, I write long analytical posts as I have no chill lol so this post is going to be rather long even though I’ll try to cut to the chase.
The Mortal Instruments books aren’t the best books I’ve ever read, not even by a long shot, but the plot itself isn’t problematic. While I don’t like how the books come off more as a series of events strung together by a halfhearted central plot with rather bland and one-dimensional characters, it’s not those things that make the books problematic but rather the characters and the way Clare handles them.
Let’s start with Clary since she’s the main character. She’s rather bland and just really whiny (not a character I disliked or liked, she kind of feels…there) but what makes her problematic is just how she seems to hate all female characters that are prettier than her and could be possible love-interests for Jace. The books give her a weird relationship with Izzy but it’s nowhere near a friendship. She’ll spend so much time kind of side-eyeing Izzy and judging Izzy for how she dresses and basically slut-shaming Izzy and it’s not even because Clary doesn’t like girls that dress like that and sleep around but rather just because she believes that Izzy is a main contender in the competition of winning over Jace. One thing I don’t like that Clare did was play on that stupid trope of girls only seeing each other as competition for a guy (we even see a bit of that in TID with Tessa immediately viewing Jessie as competition for Will but, thankfully, moving past that quickly as she understands that Jessie has no interest in either Will or Jem for that matter). I also really disliked that Clary uses Simon during that godforsaken faux incest plot just to make Jace jealous (which is so wrong on so many levels, but I’ll get to the incest later). Clary also used Alec’s sexuality as leverage against him which is so wrong (Alec’s reaction to Clary realizing his sexuality wasn’t great either).
I think Clare just doesn’t know how to make good female characters in the first place as she makes Izzy super bad too. She’s written as a character that’s supposed to be a slut in no uncertain terms, and that’s just so bad. It’s not like Clare even tries to make it so that Izzy is super comfortable in her body and everyone accepts her because the way she dresses doesn’t make for her intelligence and her ability to fight (which we all know she’s good at). Clare just makes Izzy a pretty face with nothing but boys and how to dress provocatively on her mind, which I don’t think is necessarily bad, if it weren’t for the fact that Clare makes those things out to be bad. I absolutely adore female characters that love dressing up and love constantly dating and don’t care much for fighting if they’re properly developed because I’m so tired of the “I hate dresses and makeup and I’m not like other girls, I’m one of the guys” female characters that are just so annoying at this point. Clare just acts like being feminine and being comfortable in your body are such bad things when that’s not supposed to be true at all. And Izzy really isn’t even there as an actual main character but rather to make Clary seem like the better of the two girls because she’s not what Izzy supposedly represents (femininity and sexuality) and eventually only there as Simon’s love interest (so to further a male character’s love story).
So, as of now, Clare really isn’t seeming like the feminist she claims she is as she not only poorly represents her female characters, she uses them to further male story-lines and there is a huge difference in the female to male ratio in the series (the story is honestly so male-dominated and there’s no balance in female and male characters whatsoever, e are about three main female characters with a dozen of main male characters).
Jace really isn’t problematic in his characterization like Clary or in what he does aside from the faux incest subplot. He’s definitely unlikable and a total Bad Boy trope with untapped potential for being an amazing multi-dimensional character and has an unnecessarily complicated backstory but that’s not really bad outside of writing-wise. So, because I really don’t want to push it off anymore, I’m going to talk about the incest subplot. First of all, incest should very much not be used as some sort of obstacle a couple has to go through to prove their love for each other or whatever. Anything else would have been better, even having Izzy as a legitimate love interest for Jace would have been better. I found it just so uncomfortable having to read through that Seelie Court scene. And the fact that Jace and Clary continued to have feelings for each other and didn’t even try to squash their feelings down and try to see each other as full-blooded siblings just made it all worse. I was so relieved when Valentine admitted that he pretended to be Jace’s father (again, the unnecessarily complicated backstory)…then almost threw up when Sebastian came in and showed romantic interest in his own sister. I understand that Sebastian is supposed to be creepy and unlikable, but, damn, Clare could have done without the incest subplot. It makes it all more irksome that Sebastian is very aware that Clary is his full-blooded sister and yet he still somehow can’t control his feelings for her? The only time I want to see any incest in any form is in an episode of Law & Order: SVU where the main detectives spend the entire episode denouncing incest and calling it wrong in every aspect.
One of the bigger problems I had in the series was Alec. So that you know, I do not like Alec at all, and don’t care for him. Just because Matthew Daddario plays him in the show doesn’t mean I suddenly like show!Alec over book!Alec (although show!Alec has some redeemable traits). I don’t like him at all, period. That way you know that my criticism about Alec isn’t because “Well show!Alec is better and book!Alec this and that, and Matthew plays him which makes him so much better” as I’ve seen a lot of people do. Matthew seems like a kind and likable dude, but I cannot just get behind Alec at all. Aside from being such a stoic and bland character (I don’t really do serious characters, they’re not very fun and they remain rather static throughout stories which is boring), Alec is such a gross character and such a poor excuse for homosexual representation. I think it’s so sad that Clare made her only gay (male homosexual, I only specify since gay is used as a blanket term a lot of the times) character so unlikable and very biphobic. Not only does Alec threaten bodily harm to Clary so that she doesn’t reveal his sexuality (which is a huge no-no, that’s a terrible way to handle a closeted character’s anxiety over coming out), when Alec’s sexuality is finally revealed, it’s in Simon’s point of view which is just so…ugh. Alec is such a huge slut-shamer too; he’s right on par with Clary. He spends so much time egging Magnus about his past relationships and acting like Magnus, a hundred-something years old man, would never have had any relationship before Alec at all. What makes Alec’s slut-shaming so much worse is that it always points back to Magnus’s bisexuality. As a bisexual myself, I hate seeing people slut-shaming us bisexuals (when we’re not being out right ignored, that is) because we go both ways. It’s as if a heterosexual or homosexual isn’t as likely to cheat or be sexually promiscuous at all. It’s just so gross and uncomfortable and what made me absolutely despise Alec. And anyone, even a bisexual, who supports Alec’s biphobia because it’s “realistic” should remember that the Shadowhunter world is full of angels, demons, werewolves, vampires, and magical objects with few poc and lgbt+ characters; CC is far from realism at this point, she could have done without the biphobia.
Magnus isn’t perfect either as he’s so unnecessarily rude to Alec for not coming out quickly and basically attacking Alec for not admitting his sexuality to everyone. You’d think that Magnus, a bisexual man born in the nineteenth century, would understand that it would be difficult for Alec to come out as gay and that he should be so supportive of Alec and help him through it.
Racial/ethnic and sexual representation is at such a minimum and Clare just doesn’t seem to know how to handle her poc and lgbt+ characters properly at all. We have only four lgbt+ characters, one of which is biphobic (Alec), two whom are super minor and there to further other characters’ stories (Magnus and Aline), and one who doesn’t even appear much in general (Helen) and the only two lgbt+ relationships in the entire TMI series seem to have to go through so many obstacles that either the heterosexual relationships don’t have to go through or if they’re in a similar circumstance is easily resolved (like the immortality question for Malec is somehow unable to be resolved and actually made more difficult while Sizzy resolve the immortality question so quickly and easily). And as far as I can remember, most of the TMI characters are very white. The only non-white/ethnic representation we get are Simon (Jewish), Maia (biracial, black and white I believe), Aline (Chinese, if I remember correctly), Magnus (biracial, Indonesian and Dutch), and Jordan (ethnically and racially ambiguous). That’s five characters that I can remember from a very, very long list of characters. So, Clare isn’t much of a good white ally either.
Those are just some of my main problems with The Mortal Instruments books that I feel make them problematic. I know some people can pull out a lot more things I forgot as it’s been a while since I even touched those books. I understand that those books were her first ones to be published and writing changes (as seen in her other series), but Cassandra Clare as a person really does not seem to change.
I’m not as well versed in the problems with Cassandra Clare so I’ll link you to a couple of posts as I give my brief points that explain everything better and give sources (because in situations like these, sources are necessary so that you don’t come off as some Gossip Girl).
So, for Cassandra Clare, you’ll have to bare with me as she’s done a good amount of things that even I can’t keep straight and I’ll definitely miss out on some stuff.
- She has a history of cyberbullying fans and continues to do so (x)
- She tried to scam the fandom in something that’s called LaptopGate (x)
- She plagiarized the hell out of other authors’ works and she won’t apologize for it and won’t even admit it (x)(x)
- She seems to have a need for taking down anyone who tries point out her plagiarism/any problematic content her books have and then cries anti-bullying because she got hurt (x)
- She’s was and still is hateful of the show (x)(x)(x)
- She basically told a fan asking for positive Muslim representation that it won’t happen (x)
- She claims that people dislike her because she’s a woman (x)
- She claims that the reason why she couldn’t include much Malec (or LGBT+ rep in general) was because her publishing company was conservative which is a bald-faced lie (x)(x)
- She tweeted about Magnus currently identifying as bisexual even though she headcanons him pansexual because he would date someone nonbinary which just goes to show her ignorance about sexuality (x)
I really recommend you go through the anti CC tag. There will definitely be a lot of negative things said as many people are angry at CC but you’ll get a better understanding as to why people are mad and believe CC and TMI are problematic.
Just for the record, I will say that I am a fan of the books Clare writes. I really enjoyed The Infernal Devices (although I had a few problems with the series but most of them being plot-wise and not liking a few characters) and I’ve heard better things about The Dark Artifices (I’ve also heard it’s got a few problems with its representation but that it’s a step up from The Mortal Instruments). While I don’t agree with and dislike a lot of the things she’s done and written, I think the books are wonderful. I believe that it’s absolutely possible to enjoy a book or television series or movie or whatever and acknowledge that it’s problematic. And I will also say that while I like Shadowhunters better than The Mortal Instruments books, I don’t think that the show is flawless and free of problems. It’s still rather problematic with it’s use of stereotypes, whitewashing/scooting around the ethnicity of certain characters played by pocs (the Lightwood and Lewis families), sidelining of pocs, inherent homophobia (basically queerbaited with Malec and didn’t even show tons of scenes that would have been shown for a straight couple), and a few other problems. But the show is definitely a step up from the books. They really change a lot of things that just didn’t sit well with not only myself but a lot of the book readers and they also fix a ton of plot holes that were in the books.
Anyway, I digress. I really hope that you see this as actual criticism and not me just hating for the sake of hating. You can totally disagree with some of the things that I mentioned and view things differently than I do as that’s your right. But, anyway, I hope this explained things well!