Published: October 4 2011
Number of pages: 482
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: high fantasy, romance, mystery, supernatural, steampunk
Rating: 3.5/5 owl hoots
Sixteen-year-old Tessa arrives in England and learns that something terrifying is waiting of her in London’s Downworld, which is crawling with vampires, warlocks, and other supernatural creatures. Luckily, Tessa finds refuge with the Shadowhunters, a group of warriors trained to rid the world of demons. As Tessa is driven into their world, she finds herself fascinated and torn between two best friends, and realizes that love can be more dangerous than magic.
I have wanted to read this series for a long time and it surprises me that I haven’t even heard of it until City of Lost Souls came out. I’m one of the few people who haven’t read Cassandra Clare, so I started with The Infernal Devices trilogy. After reading Clockwork Angel I can understand the hype behind this trilogy and why people loved it so much.
A high fantasy series with vampires, werewolves, hobgoblins, faeries, and all sorts of supernatural creatures! Cassandra did a wonderful job building the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Combined with the setting, the plot, and the complex characters, Cassandra built a multi-layered series and a prequel to the Mortal Instruments. I love reading stories set in London during the Victorian Era when ladies wore gowns and men were gentleman, but I didn’t expect there to be automatons. I guess it’s no surprise to see steampunk in stories set in this era as it seems to be a trend now.
There were a few characters that stood out from everyone else. Tessa, our heroine, has come a long way from home and is no longer the normal American girl she once was. Arriving in London she is immediately approached by strangers and has no idea what is waiting for her in the Downworld. After her arrival, things change as Tessa learns more about herself and London’s underground world of supernatural creatures, and also of the Shadowhunters who keep watch of any demonic activity. After taking refuge from the Shadowhunters, Tessa is automatically drawn to their history, but also to the handsome Will Herondale. I think I might have a crush on this guy. Yes, he is a fictional character but I love how he has imperfections and a dark side that completely hides his true intentions. It kills me how Will keeps lying to make people think he is someone that he is not, and after that epilogue, I’m just dying to know what Will is up to in the Downworld. Jem is opposite of Will as he is a gentleman, kind, stoic, and empathetic. I was unimpressed with Jessamine, one of the female Shadowhunters who does nothing but complain and moan about how she wants to be normal. I understand what she is going through but sometimes I just want her to grow up and do something useful. I really hope her character improves in the next book.
Apart from the world building and the cast of interesting characters, I had a few issues with the story. The romance was predictable; the good girl falling in love with the handsome, reckless English boy but when a handsome gentleman catches her eye, you know there is going to be love triangle. I was completely won over by the ending with the intense fight scenes and that unforeseen betrayal which left open questions about Tessa’s parentage and background.
I was pretty impressed with the first book and will definitely read the rest of the trilogy.