March Celebrating Women Authors Part 5 - Cassandra Clare
Updated: Apr 10, 2022
Cassandra Clare (Pen Name for Judith Lewis) is pretty popular with her books being turned into a major motion picture and a television series, but if you have not read her works in her Shadow Hunter Universe trust that you are missing out. Her world is fantastical and complex, dark and gritty, and beyond entertaining.
Cassandra Clare’s ShadowHunter Universe has several novels, short stories, companion books, graphic novels, and even a coloring book. Her alternate universe ranging from 1878 to 2015, includes characters from all over the world battling both actual demons and inner ones.
I have enjoyed and learned many things from reading Clare’s novels, starting first with the Mortal Instruments novel City of Bones. There was some scandal about this book, as another author felt plagiarized and filed suit for copyright almost a decade after its publication. The charges were dropped after the author failed to provide evidence to support any instance that Clare copied the author’s work. The author’s claims only substantiated that Clare utilized common character tropes, journeys, and magically charged items frequently used by many authors in the fantasy genre.
The introduction to the Shadow Hunter World completely pulled me in and then with The Infernal Devices Trilogy I knew this world would be one that I wanted to devour with every new novel.
Like the other authors I have mentioned in this blog series, Clare’s worldbuilding is detailed, complex, and mind-boggling. Being a fantasy writer myself, I know the amount of brain capacity and coordination of creating a believable alternative world to the one we know.
Lots of readers, myself included, think that by writing fantasy you can pull everything you need from your own imagination. But the truth is that the research is never-ending. Before you can bend the rules of nature you have to first know the rules. Especially when you are writing a series, each draft affects everything about other novels, both written and to be written.
Clare had to do so much creative work before ever writing the stories taking place in this new world. She had to create the physical world - how would her universe differ from the very well-known cities that her stories take place in over various eras in history. She had to establish an origin mythos for all non-human characters. She had to research and create the government, social norms, religious rights, rights of passage, iconic family histories, and the list goes on.
From Clare, I learned that if you are going to go through all the trouble of creating this whole other world, an interesting way to utilize it without wearing readers out with the same characters is to hopscotch back and forth through timelines, and have at least one character that ties each trilogy set to another. A blending of the past and the present that is strategic and powerful.
The drama of family sagas is an ever-present characteristic of Clare’s universe. One she puts to work well. As a reader, I could not wait to look up family trees for the Herondales, the Fairchilds, and the Lightwoods. Nothing connects us more than understanding family is difficult, heartbreaking, heart mending, and confusing almost on a cellular level.
I am eagerly awaiting Clare’s next novel in The Last Hours Trilogy. Readying the different trilogies is like watching an elaborate mural being painted where the painter moves around back and forth completing random sections at a time, each beautiful and complete in its own part of the overall composition.
To learn more about Cassandra Clare and her many other works visit her website at https://cassandraclare.com/.
Links* to where you can purchase her works on Amazon are provided by clicking on the highlighted titles in this post.
Don’t forget to check out the last in this blog series, March Celebrating Women Authors Part 6 - Sarah J Maas