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.
After loving the first three books in The Mortal Instruments series I was eager to read the first book in the prequel to one of my favourite series. I’m so glad I picked these books up as they are definitely one of my favourite series of the year!
At the start of the novel we are introduced to Tessa Gray, our leading lady, who has just got off of a boat from New York and has arrived in London. I was really glad that these series of books was written in England as I was familiar with the setting and knew some of the places. I was a little wary at first, what with it set around 130 years ago, but I soon felt at ease with the writing and the way it was written. You see, Cassandra Clare isn’t just one of my favourite authors because of the awesome characters featured in her books. No: she also manages to weave these beautifully crafted sentences to create a large plot that instantly drew me in to the life of William Herondale and James Carstairs, to English Shadowhunters who were just pure heaven.
I can’t believe I’m actually writing this but I think Will and Jem may just be a little better than Jace. I warmed to them a lot more and, even though there were many similarities between Jace and Will, I found Will much more appealing. I could understand him a little more and could also see reasons for why he did some of the things he did in the novels.
This is one of the first novels where I didn’t actually know whose team I was on! I really liked both Will and Jem equally and am looking forward to seeing more of them both in future novels.
Tessa was a great main character. I liked her a little more than I did Clary as she did irritate me at some points in City of Bones. Tessa was so brave and I often found myself thinking about my own reactions in that situation. To live in another country is one thing, but to do it alone is completely different!
I really liked the other characters as well such as Jessamine, Charlotte, Henry and Sophie. Although not the main characters they all had their own parts and I enjoyed reading about them. I also liked Church but…
Look at that amazing cover! The runes of my imagination have come to life! I actually took it to school and I had a few people ask about the cover. I really like it when the font on covers match the font on the inside of a book (I’m thinking of Hush, Hush here!) so that is a big bonus! Do you think you can get wallpaper with the book covers on? I wouldn’t mind staring at Will!
I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the rest in the trilogy! It was pure magic (and not demon magic…)! If I could write half as well as Cassandra Clare then I know I would be a bestselling author! And to leave you on one final word: William Herondale.
Emma11 December, 2012 at 8:01 am
Yay! You’ve finished it! I was just about to tweet you to see how far you have gotten! I so happy you enjoyed it! I love Cassandra Clare’s writing too, I’m always unsure when you go back in time and how it would affect the reader with the her writing, but it didn’t bother me! OMG! I can’t believe you said you like Will and Jem better than Have! That’s unheard of when you love him so much! Lol! Wait until the other book Lucy, I’m sure you will pick a team because that’s what happened to me! Hehe! Great Review! 😀
Clover14 December, 2012 at 2:02 pm
I love this series so much! ANd I much prefer Will/Jem/this series to Jace/The Mortal Instruments. There’s no shame in admitting that 🙂