Cassandra Clare is an American author that is best known as a writer of young adult fiction.
She honed her skills as an author by writing fan fiction based on the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series, before making the jump to original fiction.
Her most famous works include The Shadowhunter Chronicles, which began with The Mortal Instruments series. Released in 2007, City of Bones is the first novel published of the six The Mortal Instruments books but is third in the chronology.
Other books in the series include City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire. City of Bones was also adapted as a movie and a TV series.
She has written several other book series set within The Shadowhunter Chronicles, such as The Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifices trilogy.
Clare co-wrote The Magisterium Series with Holly Black. This five-book children’s series is set in a secret magic school where mages train apprentices to use the four magic elements.
If you love Cassandra Clare’s The Shadowhunter Chronicles series, then you’ll love the works of similar authors such as Leigh Bardugo, Rick Riordan, and Veronica Roth. Read here to find out which books you need to check out.
Books by Cassandra Clare
Although Cassandra Clare has a rich bibliography of books set within The Shadowhunter Chronicles series, it is the first of these books known as The Mortal Instruments Series which are her most popular works.
They are young adult novels and weave in aspects of the supernatural and paranormal against a backdrop of romance and urban fantasy (If you like these types of stories, check out the works of Authors Like Cheyenne McCray).
The books focus on Clary Fray, a young woman who discovers that the world isn’t as straightforward as she once thought. Instead, it is one full of demons, supernatural creatures, and those that hunt them.
Known as Shadowhunters, these hunters protect humans and Clary has Shadowhunter blood in her veins.
The Mortal Instruments Series is a modern and supernatural take on the Hero’s Journey and traditional coming-of-age stories.
The novels deal with themes of self-discovery and uncovering truths by dropping Clary into a world where she must discover who she really is after years of not knowing the truth.
These are universal themes for young adults who are often trying to understand their true selves. There are also strong themes of romance and finding allies within Clare’s books and these are equally important lessons for young adults to learn.
Clary needs to decide who is a friend and who is a foe and find her own way through the obstacles placed in front of her.
As Clary is also left to question the information given to her by her family, there is an element of found family as Clary instead surrounds herself with people she can trust.
Authors Like Cassandra Clare
Now that we’ve introduced Cassandra Clare and her works, let’s look at some of the authors that are similar in tone and theme.
Like Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo is also an author of young adult fiction that leans into fantasy themes (see also “Authors Like Ally Carter“). She released her first novel, Shadow and Bone, in 2012 and it soon became a New York Times Bestseller.
It’s the first novel in the Shadow and Bone trilogy and was later adapted into a TV series for Netflix. The Shadow and Bone trilogy is also a coming-of-age story that focuses on the lead character, Alina.
She believes that she is nobody special and is shocked to discover that she has a rare and powerful talent. Alina embarks on a journey of self-discovery and has to discover who she really is.
The fantasy world created in Shadow and Bone is one of great division and inequality. Alina has to navigate a world where the leaders are corrupt and don’t care about the common man.
There is also a great class divide, with Alina being an orphan who lived a life of poverty. After she discovers her true nature, Alina is thrown into the higher classes of society and gets to see the true inequality of the world.
Shadow and Bone trilogy:
- Great and immersive world-building
- Russian influences in the novel make for a unique backdrop
- Intriguing and relatable heroine
- Relies too heavily on tried and tested tropes
Rick Riordan is an award-winning American author that has a rich bibliography. He specializes in books that draw elements of mythology into his fantasy novels and has written stories based on Greek and Egyptian myths.
His most well-known novels are the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series which began with 2005’s The Lightning Thief. There have been several film adaptations of the Percy Jackson novels.
Like the books we’ve recommended by Cassandra Clare and Leigh Bardugo, the Percy Jackson novels focus on a lead character that discovers they are more special than they first thought (see also “Authors Like Ally Condie“).
In the case of Percy Jackson, he discovers he is a Greek demigod and has been accused of stealing a powerful weapon that he has never seen. Family is also a big theme in the Percy Jackson series.
Percy only discovers that his father is a Greek god when he is 12 years old and this leads to a strained relationship with both his biological and stepfather.
Many other characters in the book series have similar difficult relationships with family members as well. Instead, these characters find solace in each other as friends and a found family. The book series also deals with a desire for normalcy.
Due to his status as a demigod, Percy is thrown into a dangerous and confusing world when all he wants is to live the same stable and normal life as other kids of his age.
Even before discovering he’s a demigod, Percy is a troubled kid that often gets into difficult situations and has been diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
- The Kane Chronicles series
- Draws inspiration from real-world mythology
- Skillfully mixes myth and fantasy
- Fast-paced plot and action
- The myths aren’t always accurate
Themes: Greek mythology, Gods, Family, Finding Yourself, Young Adult
Veronica Roth is an American author that is well-known for her young adult novels set in a dystopian future (If you like this, check out Books Like Neal Shusterman’s “Scythe”). She is the author of the Divergent Trilogy, which began with the novel Divergent in 2011.
The trilogy was later adapted into a movie series. She has also written a few standalone novels such as Carve the Mark, a young adult science-fiction novel.
Divergent is set in a dystopian future where survivors are divided into one of five factions depending on their skills and personality.
The main character is Beatrice Prior, a 16-year-old girl who doesn’t neatly fit into any of the factions and is considered to be divergent.
Identity and belonging are strong themes throughout the trilogy as Beatrice struggles to discover where she belongs and how she fits into society.
The different factions have fierce rivalries and competition between them and it is easy to see how those factions are metaphors for different social groups that teenagers have to face.
Although Beatrice is part of this system, she also tries to break it and unify everyone.
She chooses to become part of the physically strongest and most fearless faction and the divisions between the factions are never questioned until Beatrice begins to question them herself.
- Intriguing worldbuilding of a dystopian future
- Strong and interesting characters
- Messages of unity and overcoming differences
- Overuse of some generic dystopian themes and tropes
Themes: Dystopian future, Young Adult, Rebellion, Feeling Outcast
In this article, we introduced authors that are similar to Cassandra Clare. Clare is most famous for her young adult series The Shadowhunter Chronicles which consists of several smaller series of books.
The most popular of these is The Mortal Instruments series, which began with City of Bones. They are coming-of-age stories and the main themes of this series include self-discovery and romance.
There are many authors that write similar novels to Cassandra Clare and we listed a few of them in this article.
We chose authors such as Leigh Bardugo, Rick Riordan, and Veronica Roth as all of these authors write young adult novels with coming-of-age stories.
These are universal themes that most readers can relate to, and this is what makes them so popular.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Cassandra Clare and authors like her.
Who Is the Target Audience of Cassandra Clare’s Books?
Clare writes for a young adult audience, so her target audience is readers in their late teens or early twenties. However, many older readers can also enjoy her works.
What Genre Are Cassandra Clare’s Books?
Although her books are set in the modern day, they weave in fantasy and paranormal elements. They are also classed as romance novels as a love story is integral to the plot.
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