Cassandra Clare is the author of The Mortal Instruments Series and the Infernal Devices series. By now most know the history of Clare and plagiarism but in her published work she has shifted from stealing from others to borrowing liberally from herself. Yes, a step up I know. As a reader it is beyond frustrating to be promised new characters and a new plot only to discover that the author could not be arsed to come up with anything original. In the following face off to prove this point, we are going to compare a few of the major characters from each series to prove this point. Unless you are a fan of reading the same book twice, we suggest you pick a series and stick with it.
Shall we look at the 2 main characters in each book?
Jace is a Shadowhunter of extreme skill. His fighting prowess is second to none and truly remarkable. He is also blessed with stunning good looks that you can’t help but be in awe of. Unfortunately he also has a dark and terrible past and is completely estranged from his family, being all but adopted by the Shadow Hunters who run the institute instead. His dark and terrible past looms heavily on his current life, meaning he drives people away, often with his acerbic and venomous tongue. Despite this, Clary is drawn to him and impossibly attracted to him no matter how much he tries to drive her away. For a considerable amount of time he believes himself cursed due to the demon blood he believes went into his conception - which further causes him to drive people away; thankfully this turns out not to be the case and, yes, he can let people get close to him.
Thankfully Jace can rely on his friend and parabati, the quietly tortured Alec.
Shall I just copy and paste? Shadow hunter of extreme skill? Yes. Stunning good looks? That would be yes. Dark and Terrible past? Oh yes, not gone into great detail, but yes especially since he believed he killed his sister. Naturally this also estranged him from his family and has caused him to be all but adopted by the Shadow Hunters who runs the institute. He believed he suffered from a dark and terrible curse that killed anyone he was close to - so he drove them away with his acerbic and venomous tongue. Which, yes, turned out to be incorrect. And yes, despite this Tessa still likes him.
Thankfully will can rely on his friend and parabati, the quietly tortured Jem
We’ve reached a point where the main difference between these two is their hair colour. No, really. And I’m sure many of you will rush to tell me how different they are - but with this many similarities, the differences become moot.
Clary is a stranger to the Clave, the Shadowhunters and the supernatural world in general. She is exposed to it completely accidentally. She is then forced to further involve herself out of concern for her family (her mother). She quickly settles into Shadowhunter life, even making demands of her new hosts, often making decisions that she isn’t qualified to make. She also quickly plunges into people’s private lives and their secrets within moments of arriving (homophobically attacking Alec). Thankfully she is extremely useful to the Clave, in that she has a unique special ability that they have never seen before. And she is the spunkiest protagonist we’ve ever seen
Stranger to the supernatural? Yes. Accidental exposure and then driven further into the world out of concern for her brother? That would be yes again. She also feels she can get involved and judge the private lives of her new acquaintances within moments of arriving (judging the maid) She is happy to make demands and involve herself above her expertise but, thankfully, she has the unique shapeshifting ability that the Clave has never seen before. She is the second spunkiest protagonist we’ve ever seen.
Do we have to throw in the many other minor similarities? The institutes run by lone women whose husbands are not helping them, despite the expectation that they should or would. They all read a tremendous amount of English literature, which of course allows Clare to put her degree to work. The running into danger without telling anyone in authority? Ugh, that happens time and time again!
Urban Fantasy has a limited amount of lore to draw on and we expect similar themes to arise repeatedly. But when your protagonists give us deja vu, that’s never a good sign.