On the Mortal Instruments series

The Art of War

Never Underestimate the Girl with the Sketchbook

By Sarah Cross

Everyone loves a kick-ass girl. (Well–maybe not her enemies, but you know what I mean.) Whether her strength and fighting prowess come from years of training, supernatural powers, or a combination of both, she’s a force to be reckoned with–and admired. We envy her seemingly effortless domination of her enemies, her killer instinct, and how cool she is under pressure. She has the strength and endurance of an Olympic athlete and the knockout punch of an action hero. Who wouldn’t want to be like that?

But most of us, unless we’re lucky enough to be born into a clan of ninjas, will never be that kind of kick-ass. I know I’m not. I could hit someone with a baseball bat if I had to, but I’d probably just hurt myself if I borrowed Luke’s kindjal.

When I was sixteen, I dreamed of being a kick-ass girl–but my reality was the complete opposite. I was totally inept at weapons, fighting, and anything sports related. I could barely walk in high heels, let alone deliver a roundhouse kick while wearing them. And unlike the amazingly fierce Isabelle Lightwood, I didn’t spend my teen years learning the fine points of demon slaying.

No, like a lot of fantasy-loving kids, I spent my teen years reading and drawing on any piece of paper you put in front of me. I read comics full of women with super-powers and fantasy novels with sword-wielding heroines on the cover. I might have felt like I was a hero at heart,  …

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