On the Mortal Instruments series
Immortality and Its Discontents
In Which Holly Black and Kelly Link Discuss Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments
Holly: When we sat down to talk about this essay, it happened to be in a room where Cassandra Clare was hard at work on her next book. We thought we would just have the conversation in front of her and see if she wanted to pitch in.
Kelly: It seemed appropriate, since this is often the way that the three of us work: Everyone doing their own writing, and stopping when necessary to discuss a plot point or read what someone else is working on and make suggestions.
So. Why do young adults (and for young adults, let’s go ahead and make it all readers) like books, like Cassandra Clare’s, about immortal beings like vampires and faeries?
Holly: Well, I remember as a teenager being constantly told that I was going to change. That every time I dyed my hair blue or declared my love for a particular band or book or thing, someone (usually my mother) would say that I would regret it once I was older. And I remember thinking that it seemed to me that the way people talked about getting older, it seemed a lot like getting possessed. Immortality is stasis, but stasis doesn’t always seem like a bad thing, especially if the alternative is losing some essential part of one’s identity.
Kelly: So immortality is change, and it’s also stasis. The best of both worlds! I guess it offers the chance to continue to be yourself, even as the world around you changes. And that …