Release Date: August 31, 2010
Source: Library Borrow
Genre: YA Steampunk, YA Paranormal
Review Date: December 19, 2012
Rating: 3 bookmarks
Synopsis: 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 loved the other characters too. Especially Charlotte, Henry and Jem. They are endearing and I feel bad for them. It's blatantly clear that the Lightwoods intend to take away the running of the London institute from Charlotte and Henry. Which is too bad, because even though Henry seems a little flighty, Charlotte runs the institute well and she's a strong leader to be so young. Not to mention she's very forward thinking for that era. Charlotte is not the tame woman that Jessamine wishes she could be. I also look forward to learning more about Jessamine's maid (not sure of her title), Sophie. Sophie has a mouth on her and it's clear that she has been through a lot. I can see Sophie getting even more face time in the upcoming books.
Poor Jem, I don't want to give away this major spoiler, but he's in a sad situation and there's nothing he can do about it. I like Jem, more than Will. He seems like he has an old soul and he's very wise. Will could stand to take a page from Jem's book.
I also liked the blend of Steampunk and Paranormal/Fantasy. It was nicely balanced and it wasn't over done. I felt like I could visualize the gloomy London atmosphere and it seamed realistic. The fantasy themes were melded seamlessly into the steampunk environment.
Besides the character similarities I mentioned, I do feel that the pace of this book was slower than what I would have liked. I hate to keep comparing this to The Mortal Instruments series, but it's hard not to. I read through each of the Mortal Instruments books with the speed of light. This one, not so much. Like I said, it was generally good, but I do hope that the next book is kicked up a notch. I'll be picking up Clockwork Prince after work today and I'm looking forward to see what's next for the gang.
A few of my favorite quotes.
“One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
“Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.”
“There's plenty of sense in nonsense sometimes, if you wish to look for it.”