Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.
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 love the mythology that Cassandra Clare has created. This is a prequel to her Mortal Instruments series, and it takes place in historical London. Tessa Gray has traveled to London to find her brother only to find herself swept up in a supernatural world that she had no idea even existed. She's captured by the Dark Sisters who force her to...change.
Because Tessa Gray has the ability to take someone's belonging in hand and change her shape to mimic them. But not only mimic, but to see into their minds. It's a gift that she never even knew she had, and it isn't exactly welcome when it results in her being taken hostage.
But then she is rescued by Will Herondale, a Shadowhunter, and she ends up immersed in their world and in a war between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders and a new enemy in The Magister who wants Tessa for his own purposes.
I love the characters Cassandra Clare has created. Tessa is a great introduction to the world, and Will is both dreamy and infuriating. Jem is calm and mysterious and Jessamine is the character I love to hate. I think I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Sophie and Thomas, not to mention Charlotte--the leader of the local group of Shadowhunters--and Henry, her scatterbrained inventor husband.
I also loved how so much of the story was kept shrouded in mystery. This story kept me guessing as to what was going on, and there were some things I just didn't see coming.
Great read! Loved it!