Friday, July 12, 2013

Cassandra Clare: Master of Love Triangles

“Sarah, have you ever heard of The Twilight Clause?” This was Sarah Rees Brennan at a Books of Wonder reading a few years ago, quoting a piece of advice her agent gave her about her Demon’s Lexicon trilogy. The Twilight clause (I am paraphrasing from memory here): in any young adult novel in which romance is involved, sales increase if the love occurs in a triangular formation. This may be true, or it may be that everyone in the publishing industry decided it was true because Twilight sold. Either way, love triangles have become a pervasive device in the YA fiction world. And just like any popular trope, some instances of the love triangle seem to have been opportunistically dropped into a story where they don’t belong. And then there is Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series, which reminds you just how great love triangles can be when wielded with skill and mastery.

(By the way, Sarah Rees Brennan is quite skilled at triangles herself, but she tends toward subversion of the convention, which is another conversation entirely.)

MAJOR spoilers ahoy for The Infernal Devices, as well as Twilight and The Hunger Games. If you haven’t read these books, I suggest you stop right here.