Just finished reading Cassandra Clare's CITY OF ASHES. While it has some witty bits of dialogue, it is, at its heart, about teenagers whose parents have checked out on them. Clary's mother is in a self-induced coma, Jace's father abandoned him as a child, and then his adoptive mother hands him over to a sadistic, pathological official who proceeds to torture him. Yep, the adults in this book do not come off well. Oh, and a 300 year old warlock is in love with another teenager, Alec. Yewww. Didn't any editor pick up on the pedophilia? And didn't anyone give a hoot about the incestuous attraction between Clary and her brother, Jace? It's addressed, but not satisfactorily. Clary lusts after her sibling with totally adult feelings. Another big Yuck.
The dystopian world Clare has created is filled with demons and danger, and our teenage heroes are targets for the worst of both. I guess this book resonates with teenagers who feel they're alone in the world, fighting for their very survival. But it scares me that this series is a bestseller. What does it say about our society when kids grab onto story lines like pedophilia and incest and make them popular?
I remember reading Lloyd Alexander's award winning THE HIGH KING when it first came out umpteen million years ago, and thinking "what is this?" To feel better, the hero took a pill and voila, all better. A reflection of society? I fear so.
Can the same be said of Clare's series? I fear so even more.