This prequel to Clare’s Mortal Instruments series finds ancestral Shadowhunters grappling with the dawn of a new age. Though accords have been struck, tension still rifles between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders. Tessa, who previously believed she was nothing but a normal teenage girl living in 19th century America, receives a letter from her brother, Nathan, asking her to relocate to London. However, Tessa soon finds that the letter was a ruse to get her to England, and that dark forces have plans for her. Kidnapped and tortured into using a power she didn’t even know she had, Tessa must trust the Shadowhunters of the London Institute to help her find her brother and escape the warlocks. As with most dire circumstances of Clare’s making, things are not quite what they seem, and soon Tessa and the Shadowhunters are wrapped up in a deadly cat and mouse game, all struggling to save the London Institute and keep demons at bay.
Historical fiction + Shadowhunters = awesome. If you’re not normally a fan of historical fiction, don’t turn your nose up right away. This book reads more like a fantasy series that happens to be set in 19th century London than it does a traditional history piece. There’s also some really cool steampunk mixed in. While I did feel that Clare hardcore reused some characters (Will = Jace), the book had some exciting, juicy plots, romance, and intrigue. I’m really looking forward to reading what’s next. If you haven’t read the Mortal Instruments series, I recommend starting there. Clare doesn’t do a lot of background information about the Shadowhunter world. BUT, it wouldn’t be impossible to start with this series if you prefer to read prequels first.
*VOYA Perfect 10, 2010
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