Hey everyone! So I was trying to think of another author spotlight to do a top ten list on, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t touched Cassandra Clare yet. Her books were pretty much my favorite in high school. (Admittedly, since Mortal Instruments was only supposed to be a trilogy, I stopped after those three books, so it’s been a looong time since I’ve read her work.)
That’s also why I was hesitant to do a list on her: I read Clockwork Princess in 2014 and that’s the last book of hers I picked up. However, I still admire her writing style and I thought I needed to do this list.
So here’s what I admire about Clare. Her writing is hysterically funny at times (looking at you, Jace Wayland and Will Herondale), she’s great at creating suspense and action that you’re emotionally invested in, and she does a fantastic job with world-building. I mean, I’d even go so far as to say her world-building is on par with J.K. Rowling. You completely believe everything she puts in front of you.
With those characteristics in mind, I created this list. Enjoy!
Top Ten Books To Try If You Like Cassandra Clare
1. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Maureen is one of the funniest authors I’ve ever read. She’s constantly throwing in comments that are so oddball, you literally laugh out loud. And Rory is the best of Maureen’s characters. This story is also amazing with its world building, particularly since it deals with killer ghosts and a secret police force tasked with getting rid of them. It’s very easy to get sucked into this series.
2. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
I picked this series for a combination of reasons. It’s historical (set in 15th century Brittany) while delving into paranormal/supernatural elements, which Clare also does with the Infernal Devices series. There is great world building in this one, as well as a very complicated and intricate plot, which I really enjoyed. This is perhaps one of my favorite series. And also like Clare, even though this series was finished after 3 books, I recently discovered the author is writing more. So there’s that too.
3. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
If you haven’t read this/heard of it, it’s the tale of a boy who kills ghosts and the ghost that exacts her revenge on every person who enters her house. It’s dark and suspenseful, but also incredibly funny. (Which isn’t a quality you normally associate with a tale of killer ghosts.) Still, I found it to be delightful.
4. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
This is an oldie but a goody. Much like Clary, Sophie recently discovered she has powers she didn’t know she possessed. So she’s going to a special school to train up. There’s a lot of action, some forbidden romances (which we all know Clare does well), and a heck of a lot of humor. Hawkins is fantastic for the funnies.
5. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
Ok, now I’m really throwing it back. This is a tale of faeries, which includes some amazing world building, delightful characters, and a more than decent amount of well-timed humor. I’ve read this series a few times in the last decade and it’s really good. I know faeries are pretty well out of fashion right now, but if the book’s good…can you really turn it down?
6. The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins
This one doesn’t have as much of the humor as many of these other books do, but it does have great world building and suspense. I mean, everyone’s hunting a deadly monster in the countryside, one that can wipe out dozens of people at once. Everyone’s freaked. So yeah, action and suspense are good. This was the kind of book I wanted to devour in one sitting.
7. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
If I’m not mistaken, this was White’s debut novel. And it really highlights her personality, if you’ve come to love it as much as I have. Evie has been raised in the paranormal world, so that’s not new to her. But normal teenage life like going to school, driving a car, watching dramas on TV, all of that is new to her. And it’s hysterical. It’s cute, funny, and it has a lot of great action.
8. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
When I was scrolling through my past reads, I saw this one and spent a moment debating it. It’s a vampire story, where Sunshine (the main character) is captured at the same time a very scary vampire is, and they need to rely on each other if they’re going to survive. (In this book, vampires really are Big, Bad, and Scary.) It’s not really funny, as I remember it, but the character development and world building is so good that I made comments about it. And marked it as a favorite.
9. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
There are many reasons why I think this is like Clare. Lots of different supernatural beings/people with abilities, laugh-out-loud funny scenes, great character development, suspense, unknown baddies, etc. It’s perhaps a little more juvenile in tone than Clare (I’m not totally sure why I feel this way, but it’s there), but I really enjoyed reading this series. There were a lot of parts that I enjoyed reading.
10. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
I’m going to go Adult on this one, rather than YA. Yes, I know vampires are more or less out right now, but this series is one of my favorites (at least, as much of the series as I’ve read so far. I haven’t caught up yet.). It’s hysterically funny, as Merit is a college student who is turned into a vampire to save her life and joins a vampire House (a bit like Hogwarts, but less based on personalities and more on who turned you). World building is great because it’s based in Chicago and uses a lot of the landmarks, but there’s the supernatural world to deal with too. I’m dying to reread this series soon.
(Um…upon looking at the finished list…a large number of these books came out the better part of 10 years ago. Were we that much more sarcastic then? Because a lot of the books coming out now lack that kind of humor, apparently.)