This was my second time reading this book in anticipation of the release of the final book in the trilogy, Clockwork Princess, which will appear in stores on March 19th. And yes, I shall be the person who sleeps outside of Barnes and Noble to ensure that I receive a copy. And then stay up all night to finish the book.
Tessa Gray, the novel's protagonist, has lived in New York for her entire life with her brother, Nathanial, and her Aunt Harriet. Her brother, seeking work, travels to London where he secures a job shortly before their aunt's seat. After the funeral, Tessa receives a letter from Nate, containing a one-way ticket to London. However, when she arrives in London, her brother is nowhere to be found. Instead, she is introduced to two women who refer to themselves as the Dark Sisters. They deceptively inform her that they had been sent on her brother's behalf to escort her back to the house. A carriage ride through the busy, cobblestone streets of London brings her to the Dark House where Tessa is imprisoned. Terrified, confused, and alone, Tessa is introduced to an entirely new world, full of both wonder and danger.
Cassandra Clare's first installment of the Infernal Devices trilogy is set in Victorian England, adding an intriguing historical component to the book. As the story progresses, the various characters travel to different locations within the city of London, visiting multiple well-known attractions.
While many readers, myself included, complained that the first 30 pages of the book were slow and uninteresting, the pace picks up tremendously afterward. The entire book is a complex labyrinth with an elaborate series of twists and turns that are bound to keep readers on the edges of their seats for the entire novel.
Cassandra Clare portrayed with extreme accuracy the mannerisms that were common during the 19th century. While some of these contrast sharply with those present in our modern era, Clare was able to smoothly and understandably incorporate these into the book. Additionally, many snippets of humor were inserted throughout the book, making it a light read.
The plethora of characters that were introduced in the book were believable, relatable, and came from mysterious backgrounds. These hazy backgrounds will become much larger issues later on throughout the series, leaving readersin suspense until they discover the origins of each character. Clare's characters are ingenious, embodying an array of different traits and quirks.
My favorite character, by far, was William Herondale. For anyone who is unaware, I have been on Team Will since the first page. While I am also a fan of Jem, I feel that Will plays a more substantial role throughout the series. I also enjoy Will's sense of humor, which, I have to admit, can be a bit insulting at times. Nevertheless, his sarcastic comments never fail to make me smile.
Despite my knowledge of the events that were to come when I read this book for the second time, I was still enthralled. I must warn all potential readers, though: do NOT pick up this book the day before midterms, finals, or that rather large presentation you're giving in front of your boss. I can assure you that reading past one o'clock in the morning will not improve your performance.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, as it was an excellent read. While the book summary did not originally appeal to me, I'm glad I decided to pick it up. Several people have asked me how this book compares to the Harry Potter series, which has been my favorite series for the past seven years. Let's just say that J.K. Rowling might be in for some competition.This review also appears on Pages in Paris.