/Boy, oh boy. We’re getting to the good stuff.
The Shadowhunter Chronicles have been a huge part of my life for so long, I can’t remember what I was like before getting to this world. I’m quite literally a walking Shadowhunter Codex at this point, and have sufficiently gotten Harris and Thorn into this as well. Sorry not sorry, guys.
But enough of that. This time we’re going back to the start, where the journey first began. ~ Gee
THE NON – SPOILERY TALK
The story starts off in 1878 with Tessa Gray, a 16-year-old girl from New York on her first trip to England, to visit her brother who’s been living there for a while. But instead of him, she is taken by two old ladies, who end up keeping her hostage (yes, there isn’t much waiting there, right on to the point). They then start to “train” her, as she finds out she isn’t a human, but a Downworlder that can change forms and make herself look like other people. Their motive to that seems to be because they are prepping her up for something big, something and someone she doesn’t know of.
Luckily Tessa manages to run away with the help of a young team of Shadowhunters coming to her aid. They take her in their Institute, regardless of her “tainted” nature, and work together to find out what truly happened to her brother. In the meantime she tries to discover what is actually happening to her, why she has this ability and where it came from.
Now I love fantasy themes and historical fiction, and these series combined it perfectly. Anyone who is also into this concept, I’m pretty sure you’re going to like this one a lot. The beginning is a bit slow, taking its time to explain everything to the reader that they have to know. Once you get to know enough background information on this world building, it picks up the pace.
I also can’t help but love how all the characters are written. The characters that are good, the characters that are not so good, the characters that made a lot of mistakes on their way to their own right path, the “villains” of the story. It shows how diverse each of them is, what each has in mind as the right thing, and how far a person would go to do what they want in life. Each character has different aspirations and morals, and not one of them, from background characters to main, felt two-dimensional. I found myself relating in bits and pieces of each one, and I think that is a very important achievement for a writer to pass off to their readers. Cassandra Clare’s writing never fails to blow me away.
So, the pros of this book are: good story, witty writing, and realistic characters. The cons are: slow build-up at the beginning (but for a good reason), and…well…a bucket full of feels (I feel like I should have put that one in the pros though).
Obviously this story is very dear to me, and hasn’t let me down at all. And if you think I’m biased, ask the other girls about it. They’ll say the same thing, trust me. That’s why I’m urging anyone who likes this kind of theme to get their hands on this book right away. It’s a must.
THE SPOILERY TALK
“Sometimes, when I have to do something I don’t want to do, I pretend I’m a character from a book. It’s easier to know what they would do.”
Clockwork Angel, the Feelfest. Honestly, I don’t know who I should feel more sorry for. Poor Tessa just got thrown into this mess with no explanation or knowing what to expect. Her whole life turned upside down in just a few moments and she’s still expected to somehow get through this just fine. Plus, she’s got her brother. That’s enough of a reason to feel bad for her as it is. As if finding out she wasn’t a human isn’t enough, she’s basically on her own. She can’t seek comfort anywhere but herself.
“If no one in the entire world cared about you, did you really exist at all?”
I’ve seen a few comments going around, saying how she’s always so moody and makes all the stupid decisions, and I think…but that’s the point? Do you expect a 16-year-old orphaned girl who just found out her entire life is a lie to be all mature and rational all the time? Especially after all the time she was locked up in a dungeon, tortured every single day? For her record, I think she’s holding on just fine. Personally, I believe Tessa is the complete opposite of moody. She has killer self-control and willpower made out of steel, and others in her place would have gone mad long ago. Despite her going through hell and back, she made it out in one piece.
“Many who have gazed upon me have compared the experience to gazing at the radiance of the sun.”
Jem still had his eyes closed. “If they mean it gives you a headache, they aren’t wrong.”
I fell in love with Will and Jem right away. They both have character traits that I love, despite being polar opposites. But well, opposites attract. I’ve been constantly blown away by how sassy Will is, and how low-key savage Jem can get. Of course, as much as I love them, I also feel bad for them. We know little to nothing about Will, he has his own demons to deal with, but is too thick to seek help. Jem is naturally so pure at heart, it hurts to know he’s the one that’s dying, slowly but surely. You just feel for the kid, and wonder how unfair it is.
“If you set yourself on fire deliberately, I will institute divorce proceedings. Now sit down and eat your supper. And say hello to our guest.”
Charlotte. My sweet girl, bless her soul. We do not deserve her. She’s a tiny ball of sugar and spice and everything nice. But she’s also incredibly badass, caring, wise, gentle, smart, charismatic, headstrong…gosh, I could go on forever. This world was a better place knowing she was around. She gets to be in charge of the Institute, something that was frowned upon at the time, and got constant negativity for it. Also, she gets to look after her husband, Henry, when he was too busy to do it himself. But did it stop her from doing an amazing job while under pressure? Nope.
“A lady does not read the newspaper. The society pages, perhaps, or the theater news. Not this filth.”
“But you are not a lady, Jessamine—,” Charlotte began.
“Dear me,” said Will. “Such harsh truths so early in the morning cannot be good for the digestion.”
I like Jessamine. There, I said it. More accurately, I like how she was written. I disliked her as a person, but I couldn’t help but admire her character arc. This goes back to what I said above about diversity and people with different aspirations and morals. She’s not all about that life, she’s selfish and she’s not afraid to show it with every chance she gets. She openly avoids her responsibilities as a Shadowhunter because it’s not what she wants from her life and refuses to go by the rules everyone is trying to force on her. But when it was time to “suck it up” and face her (literal) demons, she did without a second thought. Jessie makes her fair share of mistakes, as did everyone. In the end, though, she was so realistically written, I felt for her too.
“So you’re a Shadowhunter,” Nate said. “De Quincey told me that you lot were monsters.”
“Was that before or after he tried to eat you?” Will inquired.
What can I say, I can’t seem to dislike some people.
Nathaniel is not one of those people.
Oh my god. I won’t…get to him, because it will just be me, ranting on and on for hours on end and I rather stay civil. But point taken: I do not like
t r a i t o r Nathaniel. I put a quote for him, that’s as far as my generosity goes.
“One must always be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
Overall, it is a very promising first book, with a lot of dark themes in it. I must point out Cassandra’s writing style, where it could have me at the edge of my seat but throw in a witty line and make me laugh when I shouldn’t be. Everyone’s witty in their own ways, and everyone has their perfect moment to show their worth. This is what I love the most about the Shadowhunter Chronicles.
“It’s all right to love someone who doesn’t love you back, as long as they’re worth you loving them. As long as they deserve it.”