Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Description: 467 pages, Young Adult Fiction
Magic is dangerous- but love is more dangerous still.
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 gas lit 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.
Introduction To The Shadowhunters
I have to admit that I see the reason why I should have scoured all book stores nearby for the City of Bones (which is currently out of stock like, everywhere) before I started on this one. The prologue was my main beef, because the first few pages were Greek to me. I didn’t understand the business with the shax, the issues with the downworld, and why they were even in the slums in the first place. But then again, prologues are supposed to be explained as the story progresses in the succeeding chapters. It was just that the intro didn’t exactly make me sit up and superglue my eyes to the pages (metaphorically, of course). It could also have been that I was simply expecting more from my first Cassandra Clare book, considering all the hype. I gave up about three times on the entire book before I decided to read past that blasted prologue. Honestly, I should’ve asked for the nearest cliff if I didn’t continue on after that (because the last book was remarkable).
Will, to me, is a strong, believable character. And though to many others, his disposition is as flawed as his appearance is flawless, I do think he didn’t want, but had to keep his true and better nature hidden- and that is hardly something I can judge or resent him for. The love he showed for Jem told me that his sense of compassion, not pity, was what set him apart from the others. I admire how strong he was for Jem and how much courage it took for him to constantly immerse himself in a dangerous environment for someone he cared for, as long as it was necessary ( as opposed to Tessa, who threw herself into danger idiotically). His chemistry with Jem was amazing in this book, even more so than his with Tessa, which was amazing only because it was ridiculous. Jem was my great sin. He is a walking, talking reminder of suffering, and yet he remained calm in the face of danger, reasonable in the face of mockery. I don’t know if I can believe anyone is capable of nobility quite like Jem’s, which should be a problem, but I adore him so much that I realized it isn’t.
Resident (not) Shadowhunter
I loved Tessa no more than I did Jem and Will. But apart from her bothersome need to get herself into constant trouble, I think that she was strong and smart enough to keep herself alive, in the least. I understand what it must have meant to have to give herself up for her brother, and I’m glad that wasn’t enough to cloud her rationality. On the note of her supposed love for both Jem and Will, I think its perfectly normal to want one hot guy as well as the other, but when they feel the same for you (and more) at the same time, well that just makes you ridiculously lucky, doesn’t it? The development of character in terms of the romance in this triangle didn’t transition smoothly for me. You’re not supposed to meet a stranger and fight a few mediocre battles together one day, then call it love the next. Will and Tessa’s back and forth motion from love to hate then back to love again didn’t work well with me, and only served to deplete my brain cells and make me question their relationship. But honestly, I appreciate how Tessa took Will’s flaws and used them to see the innate good in him. Overall, Tessa to me was just a hormonal teenager who did risky things- though she protected her loved ones well. I think she’s perfectly capable of saving a lot of lives, if only she uses her powers wisely.
The Rest Of The Downworld
The Downworld concept was new and interesting to me. Vampires and lycanthropes are horribly overused, and warlocks are nothing short of cliche, but I think their relationships with each other in this book definitely heightened my appreciation for the various downworlders. In this book, they feel very human emotions and act in very human ways, and I think that’s a good thing because then I can relate to them and really get why they do what they’re doing. On a side note, I am in love with Magnus Bane. I think though that the plot progressed really slowly, and there were lots of unnecessary arguments and disagreements between the Shadowhunters in the Institute. It suddenly became a chore instead of an anticipation to wait for them to come to a consensus. More was done in words rather than in action, and it became a drag, but there were some essential arguments and quotes that helped me to understand the story and the characters better. The book was definitely interesting the first time around. I think it’s still a pretty worthy read, and kudos to Cassandra Clare for this one.