Way to give overwrought fan fiction a bad name. Geez. Bad enough that this adaptation of the first installment in a warmed-over Harry Potter knockoff — author Cassandra Clare changed a few names for her “novel” about a teen girl named, ahem, Clary who discovers she is *cough* heir to a magical heritage — is an unholy mishmash of supernatural creatures engaging in convoluted teen-romance melodrama. But it’s as if it were written in esoteric runes and set in a world on a different plane of existence from our own. Clary (Lily Collins) gets the first hint of her secret identity thanks to weird symbols and spooky people only she can see, which might work as except it’s plain that the entire population of her New York City is deaf and blind to things that we would expect muggles to notice, such as the friggin’ gas explosion that blows up Clary’s Brooklyn apartment (no one calls 911). Supposedly important characters appear out of nowhere, literally and narratively. And we’re bombarded with lines of dialogue like “They’ve taken So-and-So!” when we have no clue who So-and-So is, and “Does that symbol stand for Such-and-Such?” when we’ve never heard of Such-and-Such and have not the first inkling why it should matter. No amount of fairy dust can make this bewitching.
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