A full immersion in The Shadowhunters Chronicles these days! I've been reading Cassandra Clare's trilogy The Infernal Devices (prequel to The Mortal Instruments), I've been following the huge publicity campaign for the first movie based on the shadowhunters world (TheMortal Instruments City of Bones), and re-reading City of Bones for aread-a-long meant to be a sort of counting down to the movie release .
The shadowhunters in The Mortal Instruments series are half angel half human creatures who fight demons in present-day New York city. In The Infernal Devices their ancestors have to fulfil the same task in a dark Victorian London setting. The stories of the two series are somehow intertwined, more so than you might expect. Once back in time and in London, you find yourself in the same fascinating world you had known with Clary Fray in 21st century NY , a world made of blood, danger, fight, runes, iratzes, great values and deep love.
In Clockwork Angel you make the acquaintance with Tessa Gray, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs and their story will keep you absorbed and entertained all through the series, all through the pages of Clockwork Prince until the bittersweet epilogue of book 3, Clockwork Princess. This trilogy has less of the irony and wit you experienced with Clary, Jace and Simon in The Mortal Instruments and more of the romantic quality you expect from a story crowded with 19th century heroes and heroines.
Tessa and Will love books - quotes from Dickens, The Brontes, Tennyson and other British authors are lavished in the narration - while Jem loves playing the violin. Will and Jem are both differently handsome and fascinating, their appearances and their personalities couldn't be more distant, but they are parabatai, inseparable warriors, loyal and caring, indissolubly bonded to each other.
The relationship between the three protagonists is definitely complex. From the very beginning - after being rescued from the Dark Sisters by Will and his shadowhunters friends - Tessa is charmed by those two boys and, especially, by the mysterious deep bond between them. Reading The Shadowhunter Codex and living with them at the London Institute will open to her - and to the reader - the door to their hidden world and will help her to discover who she really is, what the Dark Sisters and their wicked master, The Magister, want from her.
In this series Cassandra Clare has given life to a myriad of loving, relatable characters. Among others, Charlotte, the brave leader, like an older sister to all the other shadowhunters in the Institute; Henry, her eccentric inventor husband; coquette, stubborn Jessamine striving not to be a shadowhunter; strong, ambitious maid servant Sophie, healing the scars and wounds from her past and training as a shadowhunter though only a mundane; lively, clever, entreprising little sister Cecily Herondale; handsome but honourable rivals like the Lightwood brothers (Gideon and Gabriel); disloyal brother Nate and perfidious villains like the Dark Sisters and Mortmain, who will be our heroes' deadly enemies, with their army of automatons.
My favourite character is Will Herondale. He is a real romantic, dashing hero from the 19th century. His rough, wild manners hide his secretive soul. However, you can see he can be kind and caring when with Jem and he shows glimpses of a different self when with Tessa. In Tessa’s eyes he is like the heroes in her beloved books: Mr Rochester, Heathcliff or Sidney Carton. She’s attracted to him as the embodiment of those fictional figures. But Will’s angelic appearance – blue eyes and black hair - is matched by an unbearable attitude to hurt those who love him and this makes Tessa stay at a distance from him and prefer kind, sweet Jem’s company to Will’s.
Once Will’s secret is revealed, Tessa can but love and admire him more and more: he is not Lancelot, not Mr Darcy or poor, miserable Sidney Carton but the bravest, most generous, human being Tessa has ever met.
Another character you come to know better in this series is Magnus Bane. He is definitely a key character both in The Infernal Devices and in The Mortal Instruments. The extravagant warlock is more human in this series and his selfless presence in Will’s life will make you love him more and understand better what will happen (or happened, it depends on the order in which you read these books) between him and ... other characters in his future life in New York.
Cassandra Clare has gifted her fans with another strong, unforgettable heroine, Tessa Gray, to share in a n incredible series of adventures, a long journey of self-discovery and, especially, a gripping complex love story nestled in the dark, dangerous Shadowhunters world in foggy Victorian London.
Though fascinated by the Victorian setting and the charming new characters, I liked this series a bit less than The Mortal Instruments: too cheesy at times and less witty. As for the "battle between characters", the verdict remains open: I really can’t choose among my best favourite, Jace and Will. But why should I?
Win one of the books in the trilogy in the giveaway contest you find at the end of my post HERE. Deadline August 21, open internationally.
Read my review of The Mortal Instruments City of Bones (Book 1)