Pages: 479 (Paperback)
Published: Oct 4th, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
I think the only character I was actually amused by (and liked) was Henry. Henry is one of the heads of the London Institute. He also was barely mentioned, so you can see my issue. I did not like Tessa at all. There were moments when I would start liking her, but then all those feelings would go away a few pages later. I know it must be difficult to write a strong female in this time period, but I felt like it could have been done better. I do applaud Clare's dedication to making Tessa fit into the time period.
As for the love triangle, it was obviously hard to get into considering I didn't like the girl. Jem was nice in a boy-next-door type way, and Will had too many "volatile moods" for me to enjoy reading about him.
The action scenes were the best parts of this book. I found every other part bland. The mythology of this book was intriguing, and that definitely encourages me to give the next two books a chance. I got more romance than I expected out of this book (I should have expected it, I mean the catch phrase is Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.) and I just wish there'd be more Shadowhunter stuff.
As I said before, I'm going to give the rest of the series a chance at some point. On the other hand, I've read City of Bones and City of Ashes within this week and I LOVE them. I'm on City of Glass right now, and I can't wait to read the rest and see the CoB movie this August!