Review: The Mortal Instruments City of Bones: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion

16718143The Mortal Instruments City of Bones: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion — wooh, that’s a mouthful! — is a full colour, full of photos companion book to the first of what will hopefully be a six film series. Much like the illustrated movie companions to other major YA franchises like The Hunger Games and Twilight, this book provides a general rundown of the “making of” and is filled with stills from the film. Not as many behind the scenes/making of shots as I would have expected, but the book is fairly short (clocking in at 128 pages total).

The book briefly covers Cassie’s story of writing the series, how key crew got involved (like Harald Zwart), the casting, and the filming. By far, my favorite chapters were those on designing the sets, the props, and costumes and makeup looks. It really feels like they went above and beyond to make sure every detail and choice was thoughtful and extra awesome.

The rest of the material covered was pretty familiar — and maybe that’s because we cover similar ground in our “making of” chapter in Navigating the Shadow World. So for fans new to the series, or more familiar with the books than with the movie, this could be an informative read.

My main complaint with it was it was too short and too cursory. More please! I think, as a fandom, we love detail and in depth/insider reveals and this book, while well written and cracking the odd TMI insider joke (much appreciated!) was too short to really get into things. There were a few script pages with Zwart’s doodles or initial designs and it would be awesome to see more of that stuff. Like Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight director’s notebook type stuff.  Or like that first Twilight illustrated movie companion that went deeper into the filmmaking process.

All in all, a good quick read that will get you even more psyched for TMI: City of Bones!

Book Review: Shadowhunters and Downworlders

13583766Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader, edited by Cassandra Clare

I’m a longtime fan of what Smart Pop Books does with their series of accessible but smart essay collections on awesome pop culture franchises. (A Visitor’s Guide to Mystic Falls? Highly recommended for the TVD watchers among you.) And this book does not disappoint.

The book begins with an introduction by Cassandra Clare, recounting the story of how she came to create the world of the Shadowhunters, which is a fascinating read. I’d heard bits and pieces of the story before, but to read it all in one place and in context is great. What follows is a series of essays by various talented writers on topics ranging from art as weapon, law in the Shadowhunter universe, New York as setting, Simon as Jewish vampire hero, Malec, tattoos, villainy, friendship, and — naturally — incest. While the essays are incredibly thought-provoking and smart, they are never academic or a drag. Entirely a pleasure to read (and especially fun to jump between authorial voices in each essay), Shadowhunters and Downworlders makes you think about The Mortal Instruments series in new and interesting ways — even if you don’t always agree with the argument being made. It’s like being in a room with a bunch of super informed, well spoken friends having great conversations about this beloved series.

The book achieves what Jen and I hope Navigating the Shadow World will for TMI & TID enthusiasts: it takes a beloved subject and casts new light on it, sparking consideration, debate, and probably a re-read or two. (Not that we need much encouragement to pick up the books again!)

Highly recommended! You can read excerpts from the book on Smart Pop Books’ great website.

And, after the jump, a selection of quotations that I found particularly evocative!

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TMI Source Reviews Navigating the Shadow World

Way more anxiety inducing than actually writing a book is waiting for the first reactions to it from the Super Experts — and Alyssa from TMI Source is someone Jen and I were excited/nervous to read Navigating the Shadow World. So I cannot overstate how amazing it feels to get a glowing review from her. Jen and I were dancing around like happy crazy people when we read this.

From the review:

Navigating the Shadow WorldI thoroughly enjoyed Navigating the Shadow World. It was more than just a book just summarizing the books we’ve already read, it went deeper into the Shadow World and analyzed characters, relationships and references in the series.

Navigating the Shadow World is a must-read for fans of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles. It delves deep into the world that we know and love while providing commentary on the rich mythology that constitutes the books and the world, as well as taking fans step-by-step through the process of the film adaptation of City of BonesNavigating the Shadow World is anything but mundane.

Read the whole post here, and enter the giveaway to win a copy!

A world of thanks, Alyssa, for being so supportive of the book and for such a kind review!

We’ll just be over here, squeeing with delight.

xo

P.S. I just had a look at Amazon & the book is shipping early! So those of you who pre-ordered, it should be arriving any day now! Hurrah!

Love from the PLLers for Rosewood Confidential

Remember the time Keegan Allen a.k.a. Toby Frickin Cavanaugh instagrammed/tweeted about our book? We do. We shall never ever forget.

Remember that other time when Andy Reaser, writer on Pretty Little Liars, twitter-surprised us (that’s a thing, right?) with enthusiastic and kind words about Rosewood? We do — because Crissy screen-capped that day-making glory. (Nerd, yes.)

 

It is a surreal/awesome thing for the people who make Pretty Little Liars to be reading our book about the show — and that folks like Andy and Norman Buckley like the book? It makes our hearts explode. Thankfully not literally.