Sherrilyn Kenyon and Cassandra Clare have a lot in common. They’re both novelists, both work in the fantasy genre, and both boast popular fantasy series. But according to Kenyon, they have a little too much in common – and she’s suing over it.
The Guardian reports that Kenyon alleges Clare’s popular Mortal Instruments series is a thinly-veiled rip-off of Kenyon’s own Dark-Hunter series. The first story related to the Dark-Hunter series came out back in 1998, the lawsuit says; Clare’s first Mortal Instruments book, City of Bones, didn’t come out until 2007.
The series have a lot in common – both are urban fantasies about an elite band of warriors that protect humanity from unseen supernatural threats. In fact, Kenyon alleges, she made contact with Clare before the Mortal Instruments series even took off: Clare’s original draft allegedly contained references to “dark-hunters,” but Kenyon’s objections forced the change to “shadowhunters.”
Kenyon alleges that the “shadowhunter” term was supposed to remain a relatively small element in the series. Now, though, Clare is making big bucks off of the concept – in fact, Shadowhunters is the name of the successful TV series based on the Mortal Instruments series. (As some observers have noted, though, no evidence of this alleged agreement has been presented by Kenyon.) The Mortal Instruments series has also spawned a film.
Kenyon further alleges that the characters in the two series are extremely similar. However, others point out that some of the elements Kenyon is claiming are actually familiar fantasy tropes. Among the skeptics is Courtney Milan, a former law professor whose tweeting about the lawsuit and publication of the court documents helped draw attention to this story:
The lawsuit, which was first filed on February 5, requests an end to the infringement and compensation for lost profits. The case was filed in Nashville, Tennessee.
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