by Cassandra Clare
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010.
London, 1878. Two Shadowhunters, Will and Jem, find a girl dead on the street, apparently attacked by a demon. Tessa, an American girl travels to London to meet her brother after their aunt dies, is taken prisoner and forced to Change. She thought she was just an ordinary girl, but she learns that she has the ability, once she has held the possession of a person, living or dead, to Change into that person in appearance and thought. Though this ability scares her, the women holding her threaten her with her brother Nate's safety if she does not do what she's told - marry the Magister.
This is the first in a new series by the author of The Mortal Instruments, and a prequel of sorts to the same. The Clockwork Angel could be read first, but the explanation of the existence and purpose of Shadowhunters - or Nephilim - may be a little confusing as an introduction rather than a reminder, and the names of characters will not resonate quite so much with readers who are unfamiliar with their (apparent) descendants. This fast-paced story blends urban fantasy, vampires and werewolves, and just a touch of steampunk. The characters are compelling, and I had a much harder time figuring out some plot points than I did with The Mortal Instruments. I loved the references to literature and poetry of the Victorian era as well, and am now eagerly awaiting the next installment.