One of the reasons we love Twilight is not because it's a compelling story, or even particularly well-written, but because of what it can say about the way young women — and women in general — have a fascination with coming-of-age stories. There is nothing more passionate, burning, and brooding than young people in love, and with a supernatural backdrop, imaginations soar. (The Harry Potter series also provides a fantastical landscape for adolescence, but that narrative deals more with friendship and heroism, which is one of the reasons many critics prefer it to its vampiric brethren.)
Yet, Twilight essentially tells the story of a woman making a choice, and that choice is to give herself (and literally, her life) to her man. Also, since Twilight, no young adult film has managed to capture the attention of the love-starved masses, even though The Host, Byzantium, and Beautiful Creatures made valiant attempts to fill society's Bella/Edward-shaped holes.
Yet, this weekend, another series makes a serious attempt to capitalize both on the zeitgeist and the money that brooding-teen-romances can rake in:
The Mortal Instruments
. The formula is familiar — teenage girl finds herself drawn into a paranormal world, where she discovers she has latent powers, and her connection to said world is a dreamy, tortured guy who seems to be head-over-heels for her. However, unlike her YA contemporaries, author Cassandra Clare brings a few new things to the fictional table. Her heroine, Clary, is empowered and self-actualized, and as the series progresses, she defines herself on her own terms, rescuing her beau more often than he rescues her.
So, though it is turning out to be not quite the hit that studios were banking on (but apparently fans absolutely adore it). Let's see what The Mortal Instruments has to offer us that Twilight didn't...