Draco Malfoy, there you are.
A little background: I spent my pre-adolescent years reading (and writing) Harry Potter fanfiction. There was this certain fanfiction trilogy that was so superb, it garnered a legion of fans, its own fan art and even 2nd degree fanfictions. Fans would wait for the next chaper with bated breath the way canon-loving readers would wait for the next Harry Potter book by Queen JK Rowling. I am talking about Draco Trilogy, and for years, I idolized the Joss-Whedon-quoting, slash-loving and HP fanfiction legend, Cassandra Clare.
It took me some time to read her books even though I knew (and saw in bookstores) of her published YA novels. Having reread the thousands of pages of her fanfiction Draco Trilogy, I never realized how much I missed the good 'ol days of geekily roaming around the cyberhalls of Fanfiction.net or Fictionalley.org talking about what would happen next. I also missed Draco Malfoy's complicated character in the trilogy, much better than JK Rowling's characterization of Slytherin's little prince, I dare say.
Imagine my awe and amusement as I began reading Cassandra Clare's very own world and her own set of quirky characters. They were so familiar I would be able to tell that they were CC's work even without the title and author info on the book. There were also tons of little inside jokes and other uncanny similarities like the mention of "Still Not King" button (from her Lord of the Rings humor fic The Very Secret Diaries) and even the bedtime story about a little boy trying to train a raven to please his Father (yes, with a capital "F") is synonymous to that from Draco Veritas.
If one have followed CC's fanfiction writing years as I have, one would know that she is also a fan of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel having used numerous quotes from both the series and her characters having adopted the same witty and peculiar Whedonverse tongue. It is from these inspiration, that I guess, she picked up some of the traits of the altered urban city from her own books.
There are also other things I've noticed like having a pub / restaurant catering to demons is reminiscent of Angel the Series' demon-scattered Los Angeles. Usage of birds and fireplaces for sending letters and mails, lifted from Harry Potter, as Valentine reminds me of Voldemort, the Circle a toned down version of the Death Eaters and Muggles into Mundanes.
The same way Jace is a spitting image of Draco Malfoy from CC's Draco Trilogy, Simon reminds me of Ron Weasley and Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer combined and Isabelle has the persona of Draco Veritas' version of Fleur Delacour.
Believe me when I say that all of these are rather well-meant compliments. These are precisely the things that I love most about the series. Amidst the undertone of lack of originality (which is totally not the purpose of the paragraphs above), I relish the Mortal Instruments' world because it precisely took most of the things that I loved about stories and characters that I was addicted to before and meshed it up into this epic tale that hooked me right from the very beginning. Coupled with Cassandra Clare's graphic and intelligent writing style, there is little that I could complain about.
That said, Cassandra Clare's own personal story is in itself inspiring. From writing fanfiction just for fun of it to being a worldwide best selling author of a YA series with probably a movie in the works, one can really say that, the fate that brought her into such avenue (of course with hard work, determination and a little bit of luck) is nothing short of... magical.