Sony is hoping to kick-start another successful young adult (YA) fantasy adventure series with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which opens in theaters this summer just a week after Fox 2000 releases Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (watch the trailer). Both YA novel adaptations feature up-and-coming whipper-snappers as the leads, with a supporting cast rounded out by more seasoned and accomplished veteran actors/actresses.

Sea of Monsters has the advantage, simply because City of Bones needs to cover familiar (re: cliche) territory and lay story groundwork for subsequent installments. However, the Cassandra Clare YA novel adaptation looks solid, if only because it features a female protagonist whose primary motivation is NOT romance (looking at you, Beautiful Creatures and The Host).

City of Bones takes place in present-day New York City, where teenager Clary Fray (Lily Collins) learns she is descended from a line of demon fighters that are known as Shadowhunters. Young Clary must heed the call of destiny, when she joins her fellow warriors of the night and enters the monster-populated version of New York (known as Downworld).

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Screenwriter Jessica Postigo Paquette and director Harald Zwart – whose credits include Agent Cody Banks, The Pink Panther 2 and The Karate Kid (2010) – appear to have delivered a competent, if unremarkable, YA adaptation, complete with the standard plot introduction to a fantasy universe and respectable visual style. Faint praise, for sure, but it’s a step above how this film was taking shape back when Scott Charles Stewart (Legion, Priest) was directing.

Collins (Mirror Mirror) is a fine choice for the Mortal Instruments lead, as she works alongside talented actors and fan-favorites like Jamie Campbell Bower (Camelot), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), Jared Harris (Mad Men), Aidan Turner (The Hobbit) and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors).

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opens in theaters on August 23rd, 2013.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers