Ah, the Mortal Instruments series. The fanfic changed just enough to make it legally publishable. Truly, these books are an inspiration to would-be authors everywhere.

‘Inspiration’ in this case meaning, “Hey, if this crap can get published, so can mine.”

Now, being male, straight, and in my mid-20s, I managed to avoid this series for a good long while. My first real exposure to it came from the group sporking hosted over at Das Sporking, which you can find here (if you’re just dying to know what happens and/or don’t feel like waiting on my lazy butt, check it out). I enjoyed it, for the most part, so when the call went out to sign up for the second book, I decided to give it a whirl. (I’m sporking chapter 3, in case you’re wondering).

So, in preparation for that (and because it was available for 99 cents in the Kindle store), I decided to buy the first book, City of Bones. I thought it would be easy. After all, I knew what was going to happen. I knew it would be stupid. How bad could it be?

Oh, how naive I was.

How bad?

Well, I’m reminded of a quote from Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw’s Zero Punctuation web-series. I can’t remember the exact quote or the episode, but the comparison was something like “eating a turd sandwich only to occasionally come across a bit of Branston Pickle.”

That was what reading City of Bones was like – lots of crap, with the occasional bit of actual good writing, which, rather than making the book as a whole more tolerable, actually makes the bad parts seem even worse, and leading me to wonder at what could cause such a huge disparity in the quality of book as a whole.

And so, after reading only one chapter, I decided to spork the book. Am I a bit of a masochist? Probably.

But first, a few quick notes.

One: I have not and do not intend to read Clare’s Draco Trilogy, which this series is purportedly adapted from. Please, do not link me to some out-of-the-way site where they’re still hosted, nor offer to email me a copy of the trilogy you happen to have saved on your hard drive. While your intent is appreciated, I’m not going to read them. Being exposed to the published version is bad enough; having to deal with the undiluted version might kill me. The only other works of Clare’s that I have read are The Very Secret Diaries, which I thought were pretty funny, and I was actually a bit saddened to find out that Ms. Clare had effectively disowned them.

Two: Ms. Clare herself. I will try to avoid discussing her as anything other than a writer as much as possible. I’m aware that certain portions of the Draco Trilogy were plagiarized, but unless I find passages in this book that are clearly taken from another work, I’m not going to ignore that. I’ve read no interviews of Clare, and thus have no idea of what she’s like. Being a good author and being a nice person are neither mutually exclusive nor inclusive.

Three: This is my first big sporking. As such, it’ll probably be a bit rough, especially in the beginning. I’ll try to bring the funny, and we’ll see how it goes. Critique is welcome, as is constructive criticism. I’m also not going to set a schedule for myself, because I’ll inevitably slip up. Let’s just say I’ll post when I have something, and leave it at that.

Four: To avoid the almost certain confusion, I will henceforth refer to our not-so-illustrious author Cassandra Clare as CC. I will be referring to our principle character, Clary Fray, as Clary.

So strap on you waders and nose-plugs, folks, ‘cause the shit’s gonna get deep.

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  1. Pryotra on 19 September 2012, 07:45 said:

    Er you’ve got some formatting errors going on. I think you have the same problem with “” that I do. Just put the quotation marks in again and you should be fine.

    But other than that, I’m really looking forwards to this!

    “Hey, if this crap can get published, so can mine.”

    I for one always find those heartening.

  2. swenson on 19 September 2012, 08:58 said:

    Yeah, it has to do with curly vs. straight quotes. To make the formatting work properly, it has to be straight quotes, but most word processors automatically change them to curly quotes. So if you’re copying and pasting, make sure to delete and retype the quotes to make it display properly.

    Anyway, since Pryotra’s review, I’ve been kind of wanting in a can’t-stop-watching-the-car-crash sort of way to see more of this book. Should be interesting.

  3. Apep on 19 September 2012, 09:56 said:

    The only one that seems to be a problem (at least from my view) is the link to the group sporking. I don’t want to try fiddling with it to make it work, so I just cut it. If you really want to see the group sporking, and don’t feel like going through the archives, here’s the link. There’s an adult content notice, but that applies to everything on das-sporking.


    That’s a pretty apt comparison. With the car crash is happening in slow motion.

  4. swenson on 19 September 2012, 10:24 said:

    I’ll take pity on you and fix it. :D

  5. Pryotra on 19 September 2012, 11:56 said:

    Oh, just so say, as someone who’s read some bits of the Draco Trilogy, you’re not missing anything. The same basic problems with the Mortal Instruments are in the Draco Trilogy. It was actually really hard to come up with a decent way to name the plot for the series, since, really, the best description is ‘stuff happens’

    And of course, there’s the whole major plagiarism thing.

  6. Apep on 19 September 2012, 12:09 said:

    the best description is ‘stuff happens’

    Well, that’s more plot than some novels I can think of.

  7. Pryotra on 19 September 2012, 12:11 said:

    True. That’s the most annoying thing about a lot of them.

  8. meaninglessprose on 21 September 2012, 21:34 said:

    I remember, back when it was a super big thing in the fandom, trying to read the Draco trilogy.
    I hated it, I have a higher tolerance for badfic than I do for published works, but I just couldn’t stand emo!Draco of the leather pants.
    There is goodfic, badfic, greatfic and horrific, the Draco trilogy, to me, fell in between badfic and horrific.

  9. Fell Blade on 21 August 2013, 11:11 said:

    Is the Draco trilogy still up on an archive or message board anywhere for comparison?

  10. Epke on 21 August 2013, 12:01 said:

    Dear Cassandra removed them when she became a published author, but the thing about the internet is… that we never forget.

  11. swenson on 21 August 2013, 13:43 said:

    Nothing is ever truly gone from the internet.

    Except, hopefully, that one incredibly stupid thing I did on that one forum that one time many long years ago.