When Tessa Grey’s aunt passes, she travels to London to be reunited with her brother, but when she gets there she instead meets the Dark Sisters who holds her captive and forces her to unlock an ability that Tessa was unaware of and to give her to the mysterious Magister.
Tessa is rescued by the Shadowhunters- warriors sworn to protect humans from demons who agrees to help her find her brother if she help them in return. Tessa quickly becomes fascinated with the Shadowhunters and their world of vampires, warlocks and other supernatural beings known as Downworlders– as well as being torn between the two young Shadowhunters, Will and Jem.
The search for Tessa’s brother and answers to her ability leads them to a great plot to destroy the Shadowhunters and Tessa soon realized that she must choose between her brother and her loyalty to her new friends.
Confession- I haven’t read The Mortal Instruments series yet. So I was going into this prequel blind. Fortunately I found it to be quite enjoyable and I was quickly submerged in the story with its classic tale of good versus evil, unrequited love and supernatural beings.
Shadowhunters are a race of Nephilim- whom according to the Bible are children born from the Sons of God and unless I was reading a book based upon the creation and evolution of man, I have not seen it used. It is also what my boyfriend calls me, so I obviously went giddy when I first saw it used.
I applaud Cassandra Clare and really any author who can brilliantly construct a world with so many different elements. From the details of the characters- even the ones you only catch a glimpse of, to the Accords and the Law which Shadowhunters and Downworlders abide by.
The characters are likeable enough, even though it seems like everyone is in love with someone, but it doesn’t overdo itself. The leader of the Institute, Charlotte, and Henry, her inventive but often distracted husband are adorable in a way that you know they both love each other despite the rumors. And of course our love triangle- Tessa and her boys, Will and Jem.
Will is the obvious choice as he’s incredibly handsome, but he’s rude and harsh. He often jokes around to make a situation lighter which suggests that he does have a gentle side, a side that his best friend Jem knows is in him.
Oh Jem… beautiful and gentle. The kindest person you could possibly meet, but due to a torturous demon, he is dying. What I love most about Jem is that he’s from Asian descent and you rarely get such a prominent character. As an Asian myself, I felt a connection to him and I rooted for him.
As for Tessa, she’s every bit the young lady you would expect from the Victorian era, but she has a fire in her that comes out the more time she spends with the Shadowhunters.
I felt like the story was mainly about which one she would choose, with the pending genocide of the Shadowhunters as a mere way to have more of a substantial plot. I admit that I had trouble choosing between Will and Jem, but I wish there wasn’t constant reference to either of them when Tessa saw or thought about one of them.
But even so, I really enjoyed this book! It touched on so many levels- love, trust, loyalty, the intertwining of the technological advances with centuries old rituals, supernatural beings and the London backdrop. All valid reasons why I stayed up until 4am to finish it.
Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5