Author: Cassandra Clare
Provided 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.
Review: To provide further adventures for fans of her Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare returns readers to the Shadow World in a prequel series. Set in Victorian London, Tessa Gray is kidnapped immediately after her arrival in London and put through intense training to get her to control her hidden power. Unlike Clary, out heroine, Tessa, appears to be a Downworlder. But it is there that the contrasts end.
Clare seems determined to follow a formula she has already used in the Mortal Instruments. Our heroine has no idea of her secret ability, and is suddenly entangled in the mission of Shadowhunters as she attempts to discover more about herself and her family. The Institute of London is filled with characters a bit too familiar in their roles. There is a villain who plans to use demon energy to fight his war against the Nephilum. Even worse, it seems that Clare is unable to write a hero character that is not similar to Jace, because I found Will to be so infuriatingly similar. (This is a large problem when you never liked Jace in the first place). Then there is the beginnings of a love triangle — a story always seems to need this, right?! (Please note my sarcasm here)
If fans of the Mortal Instruments were hoping to get more of a creative force then they will be disappointed. I wanted something different, not different characters inserted into a previously used formula.