Written by Melissa Craven

And they shouldn’t be. I know we love our YA books, and the movie and TV series adaptations leave us trembling with excitement for premier day, but there’s always a let down after that first viewing. “It didn’t follow the book!” We say. I’ve found myself muttering these same things (admittedly, sometimes there is wailing too).

But in reality, there are so many reasons why a movie or TV series has to deviate from the books we loved so much. The newest adaptation of The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare is a great example of successful deviation from the books. Shadowhunters just premiered on ABC Family earlier this month and I immediately took to Twitter to see what the general reaction was after the first episode. Opinions were all over the place, especially in regards to the way the series deviated so much from the original storyline.

The Institute from the 2013 City of Bones movie set.
The Institute from the 2013 City of Bones movie set.

The unsuccessful big screen adaptation of City of Bones in 2013, just didn’t do it for fans of the series, so I was extremely excited for this reboot on the small screen. Considering the first book was released nearly a decade ago, I thought the visual and technological updates, such as the hub of the Shadowhunter Institute, was a great way to bring a fresh, contemporary look to the story we love.

The Institute from the 2016 Shadowhunters set.
The Institute from the 2016 Shadowhunters set.

With that one change, everything changed. Visually, the story leaped forward from 2007 to 2016. The bump in ages from sixteen to eighteen, also brought a nice change to the storyline. A slightly older Jace and Clary, Simmon and Izzy (or Clace and Sizzy… and Malec! I can’t forget to mention Alec and Magnus!) elevated the story in a great way.

Many fans were disappointed in the changes, but I say, we’ve already read the books and we saw the movie, but with Shadowhunters, don’t we still want to be surprised? After two episodes, the show has accomplished that and then some.

Another view from the 2016 Shadowhunters set.
Another view from the 2016 Shadowhunters set.

The characters exude everything we loved about them in the books (and made up for the things many of us hated about them in the movie) but there is new life here. I’m looking forward to the rest of this season because I know the spirit of the story and the creativity of Cassandra Clare’s world is still there and it’s in good hands. And Jace… TV Jace has it in a way movie Jace never did.

So it’s not exactly like the books, but sometimes I’m okay with that.

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