Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Type: Paperback, bought
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'll be frank with you all. Our air-conditioning broke. It is hot as fuck, I'm sweating balls, I got two hours of sleep last night, the dogs are throwing a fit, and I do not, in any universe, have the attention span to write a long, thoughtful review. So this will be concise.
A number of people whose opinions I trust told me that if I enjoyed the Mortal Instruments series, even as simply cheap entertainment, I would probably enjoy these novels even more. Well, they were right. The plotting is better, the writing is better (FOR ONCE, NOT A SIMILE EVERY OTHER PARAGRAPH!), and the characterization is better. Tessa is an improvement on Clary, though I can't say I'm necessarily her hugest fan, and the love triangle is a million times better because there's no petty hatred between the boys. Will and Jem love each other, and I think that's fantastic.
Of course, to compensate for that, Will is a million times more assholian on a regular basis. I know many dislike Jace for that same reason, but he had enough charm, genuine kindness, and vulnerability that I could make up for his occasional bite. Will was funny, yes, attractive, yes, but flat-out cruel, and I simply don't understand how Tess could like him better than Jem--still funny, still attractive, ridiculously kind. It just doesn't compute.
Anyways, love interests aside, I really enjoyed this; and, unlike TMI, I don't feel guilty for it. I have nitpicks--some plot points were very predictable, some writing was a wee bit awkward, etc. etc.--but for the most part, this is an impressive novel. Onto CP!