Series: The Infernal Devices, #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
What They Say:
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England where something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability. What's more, a man called the Magister 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: Jem, 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 into a 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.
What I Say:
I’m completely biased when writing about this series, because of how much I loved The Mortal Instruments. Being the first book of the prequels, I loved this one as well. Here we get all the excitement of the Mortal Intstruments with the added bonus of English wit, metal men, and a good old possible future love triangle. Sort of.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
So the year is 1878, and Tessa Gray has come to England. After the death of her aunt, her brother (Nate) sends her a letter and a boat ticket from London, so she expects to meet him there when she arrives. Well, that doesn’t happen. Instead, she’s kidnapped by two creepy sisters posing as friends of Nate, locking her in an old house and training her to use a mysterious power she never knew she had in preparation for an engagement to a mysterious man known only as The Magister. But there cannot be damsels without white knights, and Tessa finds hers in Will Herondale, who literally busts in to save her. Sort of. Back at Will’s home, the Institute, Tessa learns all about the people who saved her, the “people” who kidnapped her, and the person she really is. Now, what is she going to do about it?
One of the many things I love about a Cassandra Clare storyline is that you will think you know what’s going on, but then she will pull the little comfort-zone carpet out from under you and you will feel quite foolish for ever having questioned the awesome power of the Author. Clare so seamlessly unveils a world operating in secret alongside our own that I was instantly captivated and not released until the last word of the last page of this book. And, of course, the Crazy Cliffhanger card has been played here, so I absolutely must know what happens next!
Tessa is my kind of girl. She’s young and perhaps naïve, sure. But it’s 1878; who isn’t? She’s a good fit for this story, because it moves at such a pace that there isn’t time for a heroine who asks too many silly questions and can’t make up her mind. She knows the plan, she sticks to it, and doesn’t freak out when the plan turns spoilerly evil (note: "the plan" is not really a plan in this case). Thought she might pull a Jessamine and pout about it, but no! I was quite impressed.
Will Herondale. What can I say? At first I thought, Oh look, it’s Wace Jayland. But it turns out he's Jace's dark side on crack. Where Jace plays the jerk with a heart of gold, Will is the jerk with a cold, dead, black heart. Now, if Jace’s snark was brought on by family issues (go read the Mortal Instruments, you know you want to), then Will’s family issues must be so much worse! And of course it’s all a big secret, so I’m sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out. Not to mention, Will is ummm gorgeous. Magnus Bane was right about black hair and blue eyes.
If Jace had a good and bad side, and Will only has a bad side, then Jem is where it has gone. He is a classic good guy. He’s a listener, he’s a little bit sensitive, he’s sympathetic, he’s pale, he’s blond, he plays music. What is not to like? Really, besides some spoilery misfortune in his past, he doesn’t have a single flaw. I want to believe it, but no character is ever perfect when it comes to Cassie Clare. I’m on to you…
Tessa and Will - Ooh, Victorian romance. It’s so simple and lovely - oh wait, it’s not simple or lovely at all. And it’s a good thing! Will Herondale is a nut, in that you can’t just crack him open. You ('you' being Tessa) have to wear down his defenses bit by bit until he opens up to you in a moment of weakness and then proceeds to completely shut you out again. Oh wait, that already happened. Well, don’t give up! I see many bloody kisses in your future.
Special Features: WHOA.
Shadowhunters may be the coolest fictional group of earth-defenders out there. Except maybe for Torchwood. I know they might not come across as earth-shatteringly awesome without three books worth of Shadowhunter history under your belt, but trust me. Be it the Conclave or the Enclave, NYC or LDN, the Shadowhunters are made of awesome. Especially when they are strapping young men like Will and Jem.
“So you're a Shadowhunter,” Nate said. “De Quincey told me that you lot were monsters.”This is Will being mild and pleasant.
“Was that before or after he tried to eat you?” Will inquired.