Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
First off I apologise for an overuse of ellipses in this review. Please just envision a pale Irish brunette tearing her hair out and gurning at those intervals if it helps!
Sigh…So I read The Mortal Instruments in the first two weeks of January this year and I swear I barely slept. I read before getting up, before breakfast, at tea break, after dinner. I was obsessed. Completely enthralled in the world of the Shadowhunters, I adored all the characters, Jace broke my heart as he struggled to find happiness, Clary didn’t whine as much as other YA heroines which was a blessing and Simon, oh Simon, you cute little geek you! I discussed TMI at length on Goodreads and everyone assured me that The Infernal Devices were far far superior to TMI, I would instantly fall for Will, worship Tessa and be “Jace who?”
Hmm…Don’t believe the hype is a lesson I’ve learned. Okay, I’m being overdramatic…possibly. With Clockwork Princess coming out in two days time I decided I would hold off reading the first two until March so I wouldn’t have to be tortured with the wait. So I settled down into my fave chair, snuggled up with my doggy Gypsy and prepared to be overwhelmed with love and adoration for Cassandra Clare.
Okay let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first because I do have good things so I’ll rip off the band-aid!
My main issue with this book was the characterisation. It was blah. Every character was just a watered down version of TMI. Tessa=Clary, Will=Jace, Jem=Simon, Jessamine=Isabelle. Tessa and Jem were the two shining lights in a murky pond of bland and even then…barely. I have never cared less about characters in my life. They could have been killed horribly and I would have shrugged and said “what ever!” Cassandra Clare seems to think for a man to be irresistible to a woman he must slouch, sneer and snark as much as possible. I know there’s some deep dark secret and Will’s got some inner turmoil that will be revealed (I hope) over the next two books but if you’re going to set up that storyline please don’t wait until the epilogue to truly make that clear! Jessamine, just ugh. I had a whole rant but she’s not worth my time. Charlotte and Henry, who were they? At times I completely forgot!
The bad guys were so archetypal mannequins, moustache twiddling, rubbing their hands in glee I’m surprised there wasn’t a big flashing arrow over them. The reveals were clumsily done and at no time was anything a shock. Everything was just so convenient and utterly frustrating.
In the day that’s in it and being Irish I’m well used to rolling my eyes at stereotypes so the fact that CC seemed to have gotten her “The Big Book of British Stereotypes” and “This is What Victorian England Was Like” out as reference books when writing was another tear-my-hair-out moment. The Simpson’s writers could have done a better job at accuracy.
Okay what did I like?
The overall plot of the Clockwork Army was intriguing and I’m looking to the continuation of that storyline. Tessa’s mysterious origins was another highlight as was Tessa overall. I liked her tenacity, her intelligence and her values. Jem’s sweetness, patience and background story made him my favourite. The origins of the Shadowhunters and the politics was explored more and I appreciated the knowledge gained in particularly the status of the accords in the times before Valentine. I’m hoping the complexity of the TID world is expanded in the later books and will hopefully match TMI. At time of writing I’m about a 1/4 into Clockwork Prince and I am more sympathetic to Will and definitely more invested in the storyline but I think that’s due in large part knowing that CA was part one of a story. If one read it in the hopes that it would have the ability to be enjoyed as a Stand-Alone novel in its own right, they would be sorely disappointed. There was no plot point that was resolved in CA, everything was left open ended and instead of making me feel like ” I NEED THE NEXT BOOK NOW”, It was disappointing and lacked resolution. Perhaps Lauren Oliver got writing tips for Requiem from this! Personally if I had read this when it first came out and didn’t have the luxury of returning to my Kindle menu and selecting part two I honestly don’t think I’d have bothered.
Perhaps Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess will make me eat my words.
I truly and honestly hope so but for now I’m going to enjoy my Paddy’s Day beer and firmly place myself on Team Jace&Clary.
TMI 1- 0 TID