Book Expo America (BEA) 2013 brought together a number of exceptional international best-selling authors who signed autographs, discussed their works and answered fan questions about their character, plots and fictionalized worlds. At night, things got kicked up a notch and partying in New York City was on the mind. One of those parties was thrown in celebration of Cassandra Clare’s New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and its highly anticipated film adaptation of book one; City of Bones (Aug 21).
I arrived in New York both exhausted and relieved. My original flight had been cancelled unbeknownst to me until I went to check in at the airport. I was told that there wasn’t another flight until much later in the evening, which clearly wouldn’t work, since I actually wanted to make it to the party. The attendant (bless her) understanding my need to get there asap, perused the system for another flight. The heavens opened up and angels sang… she found one! My heart fluttered “Thank you Jesus!” I exclaimed, “It leaves at 12:40pm,” she said, interrupting my joyous acclaim. “12:40? That’s in...” I checked my watch, “forty minutes!” “Yes, you need to run and you need to get clearance from security now! I started to brace myself for the long run, as it took her another ten minutes to figure out how to print the new boarding passes and this was ten minutes I didn’t have to spare. Finally she sorted it all out. I grabbed the passes from her and gripped firmly onto the stroller. Jonathan grabbed our carry-on bag and we ran like the wind. Charlize giggled the entire time, as we raced around corners while security guards told us to slow down.
We arrived at the security check point and of course they strip searched our stroller, made us take Charlize out and put the car seat on the conveyer to be scanned. I tapped my foot anxiously, too afraid to look at my watch. We cleared, secured Baby C back into the car seat, attached it to the stroller and continued the run. Completely out of breath, we arrived at the gate, boarded the plane and finally we were off, ready for the journey to began.
I arrived at the venue and looked around nervously before I got out of the cab. There was no way this could have been the place. The area was...I’ll say, “run down.” Looking around a bit more, I noticed there were signs and a handful of black suited, black tied security guards wearing black sunglasses with ear pieces. They were all standing out front, and so I had the feeling that once stepped foot on the ground, this would be an interesting start to my night.
I braced myself and started to walk in, when I was stopped by one of the guards. They weren’t letting people in yet, and so, I was early. I was actually the first one there. Breathing a sigh of relief that I wasn’t late, they had me start the line from across the street. Other guests began to trickle into the area, all with the same looks on their faces; ‘why this place?’
Finally the doors opened, and one of the organizers counted five of us in at a time. She let me walk in first because I had been the first person to arrive. As we were handed our name tags and a choice cocktail, after taking the next few steps, it looked like we had been transported into one of Magnus’ parties. It was magical.
The lighting was dim and small twinkling lights filled the room. Black-tied staff stood statuesque along the sides, holding trays filled with drinks. In the middle of the room was a four-cornered bar, 4 bartenders inside the square, with rows upon rows of glasses, lined with an array of bottles that were filled with wine, spirits and water. Circling the room were other waiters, offering a number of mouthwatering bite sized appetizers; miniature shrimp tacos, tiny lobster rolls, BLTs on bite sized pillows of crisp dough, tiny eggplant parmesan balls and so much more.
On the outer edges of the room, there were a multitude of tall round tables dressed with black cloth and tea light candles and behind them, on the walls were large posters of every book cover for each of Cassandra Clare’s books.
At the head of the room, there was a small stage, three large screen televisions on top, stoically displaying the words The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and behind it was a magnificent structure that looked just like the front of the Institute, lit up in blue, pink and purple lighting.
There were several glass cases around the room with a spotlight shining down on the content and props from the movie set. The Mortal Cup, Isabelle’s whip, the Grey Book which was explained to me, by Cassie’s husband, Josh, that each page Rune is represented in the book, made out of hand-cut artisanal paper and hand drawn and written with calligraphy ink and pen. “I’m amazed by all the detail and thought put in to items that may only be seen in the background,” said Josh and I couldn’t agree more.
On the upper level of the venue, the balcony, Tarot readings were being held and temporary Rune tattoos applied with stencil and airbrush paints. I got four! Along the path to the other side where the Tarot card readings were taking place, two dozen large pillows were arranged on stadium seating benches facing the large screens on stage.
The lights went out, the screens lit up, and the trailer that we’ve all watched a combined 3 million times began. We all watched in awe, like it was the first time we’d seen it. When it ended the CEO of Simon & Schuster spoke to us about Cassie’s success and introduced her onto the stage. Cassie graced the stage in a beautiful black dress, complete with red, purple and blue ringlet hair and rhinestones winging her eyes, reminiscent of the Seelie Queen herself. She thanked everyone for coming to her party and introduced a scene from the film we were about to see. She explained that it had only mildly been edited and then before the scene started, Jamie, Kevin and Lily appeared on screen thanking us for attending the party, wishing us well and hoping that we’d enjoy the scene. Kevin ended the short intro by telling us to party like a Shadowhunter and then the scene began.
It was a scene that we’ve watched a million times in the trailer:
There’s a knock at Jocelyn and Clary’s apartment door, Jocelyn looks through the peephole, she pulls back and looks through again. The door is kicked in, Jocelyn goes flying. Valentine’s henchmen stand over her, one grabs her by the hair and pulls her up. She fights back. They end up in the kitchen, Jocelyn grabs a blade, one of those fancy ones that probably belongs to Luke and slashes toward Pangborn, he slams her head into the kitchen counter beside the stove, she struggles to free herself and manages to reach for a heavy cast iron pan on the stove and swings it in the air with force, it comes to a complete stop against Pangborn’s head, he falls to the ground and she introduces him to the pan a few more times, until she’s sure they’re well acquainted. She then goes after Blackwell they fight and Jocelyn is fierce. She locks him in a room and quickly calls Clary.
The scene jumps to Clary who is in the alley with Jace.
She asks him why he’s following her. They talk about what she witnessed at Pandemonium, she grabs his arm and sees the Angel Rune. She begs him to tell her what it is and why she keeps seeing it in her head and why she keeps drawing it and now it’s on his arm. He tells her that it’s because she’s not a mundane (that part where we all swoon over his silky voice). The camera cuts to some people on the street who are looking at her like she’s crazy, they can’t see Jace.
Clary’s phone rings. The scene jumps back to Jocelyn who is frantically calling Clary. She tells Clary not to come home after Clary groans that she’ll be home soon. Something crashes in the background. Clary jumps, startled. Jocelyn ends the call. Blackwell has broken through the door, Jocelyn runs to another room and locks herself in. Pangborn and Blackwell charge the door, they break through part of it as Jocelyn quickly takes out a small vile. She says, “Tell Valentine he’ll never have it,” and drinks the potion. She crumples to the floor.
The scene switches again, Clary, in a panic runs out of the alley, down the sidewalk and into the road, colliding with a car. She runs up the stairs into her apartment that is completely destroyed. She takes the disaster in and calls out for her mom as she walks deeper into the cacophony of broken furniture, books and kitchen. All of a sudden a mean looking Rottweiler appears and is viciously barking at Clary and you think, get it Clary, do something, don’t just stand there! But then you think, maybe the Rottweiler isn’t so bad, maybe he’s just lost and he’s asking Clary to help him find his home. Then there’s this disgusting slithering sound, the sound of slime slowly dripping heavily from the ceiling and pooling into a goopy mess on the floor. The Rottweiler begins to change before Clary’s eyes as her Sight clears. It turns into a disfigured, bloody, pink half dog, half God-knows-what freak of nature with razor sharp teeth filling its gigantic mouth. I shake my fist at you Rottweiler, just when I was about to take your side.
Clary goes on the defensive and after running from the demon dog that is after her she figures out a way to attack it. Boom! She’s hiding and shaking under the kitchen counter. She’s scared and crying and relieved but then that sickly goopy slimy sound returns and all the disarrayed pieces of the demon dog slink back together and Clary is mortified. She scrambles out from under her dwelling and makes a run for it just as the demon lunges and… You’ll just have to wait till August 21 and see for yourself!
The night rounded off with more mingling and Cassie introduced a handful of us bloggers to her good friend Val, the creator of the Runes! Val inspired the entire City of Bones story and Clary was fashioned after her; a small, feisty redheaded artist. Val told me that Clary’s name in the book was first penned as Val but after she vowed to off Cassie’s cat, the character’s name was quickly changed. She also explained why the dumpy site was a prime choice for the party. The venue had such great character, the large metal art on the stage that emulated the grandiose Institute with its downplayed exterior totally captured the heart of the Institute, glamourized from Mundanes to look old and decrepit, but to Shadowhunters and Downworlders, alike, magnificent on the inside.
I sat and chatted with Val for hours and when I looked around everyone was gone, except for a few of Cassie’s friends. I would have stayed all night, or at least until they kicked me out, but alas, I had to return to my own little Shadowhunter waiting for me at the hotel. So I convinced Val to take a picture with me (she didn’t want to smile, she doesn’t like her picture taken all that much.) After a few final goodbyes, I called it a night and during the cab ride back to the hotel, I couldn’t help but think about how wonderful the night turned out to be. As avid fans of Cassie Clare’s series’ we have a lot of expectations from the film and future films. We love the characters like they were truly our dear friends. We love the world within our world that Cassie has created and blended to fit in perfectly with our reality. We take the stories seriously and are protective of them. We’ve seen bits and pieces of what’s to come for the big screen version of our beloved City of Bones and some things we’ve loved and some things we haven’t. What I took away from this experience was a reiteration of how I had already felt. The team at Sony is working very hard to make this movie truly unique and something that will completely blow away its audience. The scene we watched that night wasn’t fully edited and was without enhanced graphics and yet it was spectacular. If Cassie had never mentioned that it wasn’t a final edit, I would have never known, yes, it was that good! The detail put in to the props shows that the team took the details in the book seriously and masterfully brought them to life. Every single aspect of City of Bones has been well considered and thought out, even down to the party’s venue. Sony had a vision and that was to bring the City of Bones to life and that is what they have done. August 21, 2013 will truly be a fantasy-filled magnetic day and it cannot come soon enough.