Tessa Gray is sixteen when she sails to Victorian England in search of her brother, Nathaniel. On arrival she is kidnapped by two warlocks of the Pandemonium Club, who unlock her magical ability to transform into any person. She is rescued by Shadowhunters, who introduce her to the Downworld. The Downworld is a world of vampires, werewolves, demons, warlocks, monsters, and the Shadowhunters responsible for keeping them all under control. But things are changing: there's Tessa's power, which confounds the Shadowhunters. There's the mysterious clockwork people that shouldn't exist. And there's the dangerous force calling itself the Magister, who seems to be orchestrating everything...
Tessa finds herself drawn to the Shadowhunters, particularly the sarcastic and moody Will and the fragile, beautiful James. Torn between them, she must face a dark plot which may kill them and the rest of the world... and Tessa is the key to it all.
This book is seriously amazing. It combines magic, romance, steampunk, urban fantasy, and just about every other awesome genre in one action-packed book. Couldn't put it down.
I think the best adjective to describe this plot would be "awesome." There were plenty of twists I didn't see coming, and the ending was amazing... due to major spoilers, I won't talk in detail about what exactly I loved about the plot, but let's just say it's great. Really stellar. Also, it really sets the stage for an equally amazing second book in the series.
If you've read the Mortal Instruments series (I have), you might notice some interesting similarities between some of the characters, like Will and Jace. I had fun analyzing those similarities.
That said, most of the characters were decent, although many of them were not as impressive as the characters from Mortal Instruments. Characterization, in fact, was the only aspect of the book that I had any problem with. I was particularly disappointed by Magnus Bane, who was not nearly as freakin' awesome as he was in the previous series.
And by the way, I'm Team James. All the way. Even though Will has some pretty amazing lines and some interesting depth to him, I completely fell for James.
Clare is a really great writer.
End Result: five stars. A really excellent book. Read it.