Begin with City of Bones, the first book in The Mortal Instruments series. You can even start reading the first 100 pages of City of Bonesright here to get started! City of Bones is about Clary Fray, whose search for her missing mother leads her into an alternate New York called Downworld, filled with mysterious faeries, hard-partying warlocks, not-what-they-seem vampires, an army of werewolves, and the demons who want to destroy it all. She also finds herself torn between two boys—her best friend, Simon, for whom she’s developing new feelings, and the mysterious Shadowhunter, Jace. She becomes a part of the secret world of the Shadowhunters and as she does, she discovers that rescuing her mother might mean jeopardizing everything the Shadowhunters work for.
The Infernal Devices are a trilogy of prequels to The Mortal Instruments books, set almost 130 years ago. They deal with the adventures of a Downworlder girl named Tessa in a Victorian London where the Accords have only just been finalized and tensions between Shadowhunters and Downworlders are running high. It’s a romantic adventure centering around the Lightwood, Herondale, Wayland, and other Shadowhunter families you’ll know well from The Mortal Instruments. The warlock Magnus Bane also appears in them.
When should you start reading the Infernal Devices series?
After The Mortal Instruments, Book 3: City of Glass, The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments series alternated in their publication dates. Because the stories overlap and intertwine, it is recommended that you read them in publication order — though if you choose not to, that will not affect your comprehension of either series. They complement each other, but each stands alone as a separate story. Here’s the publication order after City of Glass:
The Dark Artifices is a sequel trilogy to The Mortal Instruments. The first book, Lady Midnight, will be published in March 2016, so you have plenty of time to catch up on The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices! Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire, the new series follows Emma Carstairs, the fiercest warrior and most skilled young Shadowhunter since Jace Wayland, and Emma’s sworn partner in arms, Julian Blackthorn. Despite Emma’s complicated feelings for Julian, the two must band together to investigate a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.
The Last Hours is a sequel trilogy to The Infernal Devices. The first book, Chain of Thorns, will be published in 2017. Following the events of Clockwork Princess, the Shadowhunters enter the Downton Abbey era. Will Herondale is head of the London Institute, where he lives with his wife Tessa. But now it’s their children, James and Lucie, who take center stage, alongside their parabatai, Matthew Fairchild and Cordelia Carstairs.
Will any of these books be a movie?
The film rights to The Mortal Instruments were initially optioned by Unique Features in 2009. They then teamed with Constantin Films to produce and film the actual movie, with Sony Screen Gems distributing and Harald Zwart directing. The movie started filming August 20, 2012, in Toronto. The movie was based on the first book of the Mortal Instruments and was called The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. It was released on August 21, 2013 and starred Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell-Bower. Up to date info can be found at https://www.facebook.com/TheMortalInstruments
Or a television show?
In 2014, Constantin Films, which owns the rights to the Shadowhunter books, announced that they would not be doing a film of City of Ashes, but would instead be developing a television show. They attached show runner Ed Decter (Helix) and are moving ahead with creating a pilot, hoping to get the show in production in 2015.