My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…
Is this seriously the first time I have read this book? Yes, yes indeed. Have I collected the books since 2008? Why yes, yes I have. Why has it taken me this long to read it? Because I totally judged a book by the cover and saw this cover and wasn’t impressed. But with the May Medievalathon, I had chosen to read this book as a book I have high expectations of. I have seen and heard so many amazing reviews of this series and though what better time to finally start than now? Did it live up to my high expectations? Yes and no. Here is my review:
Fifteen year old Clary lives with her mother in an apartment in NYC. She follows the typical fantasy MC, average girl, thinks she’s ugly but she’s actually pretty cute. Her best friend Simon is the typical, “friends since young, has crush on girl but girl is too oblivious to see” character. The story opens up with Clary and Simon going to a night club, Pandemonium. But things get a little weird when Clary sneaks off to follow a blue haired boy she presumes to be in trouble, but stumbles upon the Shadow Hunters (Jace, Isabelle, and Alec) about to kill the demon. Presumed to be just a mundane (non-magical being) with the ability to see the supernatural, they pay her no heed. The next day, after having a huge argument with her mother for wanting to leave NYC immediately and stay in a country home for the rest of summer, Clary arrives home to find her apartment a complete mess, her mother missing, and a terrifying demon prepared to eat her.
Now in the middle of a strange new world, Clary discovers everything she had thought she knew about her mother is a lie, the supernatural is real, and she may be the only one that can find out the truth of who took her mother and how she can get her back.
Cassandra Clare creates a wonderful and unique world filled with supernatural beings. The characters have a good basic lay out in the story, with room for development in the following books.
Clary: Hard to relate to someone I am 9 years older, but when I take my own age out of the equation, I appreciate how Clary’s personality is truly that of a young teen. She believes her mother is restraining her freedom (oh how I cringe at those teenage memories), a bit selfish, doesn’t listen to direction even if it means her safety, and is oblivious to Simon’s affections for her. She has lived her whole life not knowing that she’s actually a Shadow Hunter. But what I appreciated about her: even being a new Shadow Hunter, she knew that there should not be such thing as “pure” beings, or only Shadow Hunters. She accepts the Downworlders, even if they have some form of demon blood in them, and believes in their coexistence with Shadow Hunters, unlike good ‘ol Valentine.
Valentine: So prior to reading this book, I read many comparisons to CoB and Harry Potter. Here is one character that I saw some similarities. Voldermort, Valentine. Both villains were set on purifying the supernatural world, set on revenge towards those that led to their initial down fall. So not to give away spoilers, Valentine was seriously the source of so many twists and revelations, I could not put the book down at this point. He is manipulative, calculative, clever, almost every emotion he shows is pure lie. He is just pure evil, looking out for himself and his own intentions.
Jace: Okay, I totally liked him at first. His witty comments, bad-ass attitude. And he even showed some sweet moments. But really, I am just going to leave a side eye…because if the ending is true about Jace, yo then I need to take a holy water bath for the shipping I did.
Simon: This poor guy really gets crapped on a bit here…He tried so hard. He really stepped up and helped the Shadow Hunters, even when being a mundane none of that was expected of him. I can’t wait to see how he works with Clary and the trio in the next book.
Isabelle: She was difficult to like. I understand why her and Alec had such hard exteriors. It’s always been the trio and nothing more. Clary joining changes the dynamic of their group a little. But she also wasn’t really seen a lot in this book so it’s hard to decide anything on her character yet.
Alec: He was difficult. Like Isabelle, he becomes very protective of the group and Jace in particular. But I really appreciated how Cassandra Clare addressed homophobia in just 2007. Alec is an amazing warrior and protector of his sister and Jace. He is so scared to come out as gay to his best friend, fearing that Jace won’t look at him the same, and also because the Clave do not support being gay. The parallel lines from the Clave to our modern society in this aspect are profound, again for having just been writen in 2007 when there were very few LGBTQIA+ characters. Heck, we were lucky to see even an LGB character back then.
Luke: Oh I love Luke. His character develops so spectacularly by the end of the book. I appreciated a whole chapter dedicated to providing answers to what happened that led to Valentine’s downfall and how Clary’s mom, a Shadow Hunter and member of the Circle, managed to leave Idris and hide in NYC.
Hodge: He can go to f*&!*^g h3!l I hate him. And that bloody pigeon of his.
Magnus Bane: I really loved Bane. Mysterious and powerful warlock, witty humor. What’s not to love? I really hope to see more of him in the following books.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It felt fast paced, was filled with exciting plot twists. I have to remember that for 2007, a lot of this was fresh and new. There are many modern fantasy books that really have some similarities to this series…The 4 star rating is for two reasons: few grammatical errors that irked me a bit, and there were a few things that occurred that just weren’t realistic. For instance, how Jace acted in result of the ending’s twist…yea that seemed unrealistic.
When did you first read this series? Did you have a different opinion of the book? Did you watch the series?
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