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Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.
But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.
I gave this book 5 stars. Seeing the progress that Cassandra Clare has made as an author since City of Bones is kind of inspiring. These days when I pick up one of her books I know I’m going to love it.
This story centres around an incredible cast of characters. The two main characters, Cordelia and James, along with the side characters who are just as important. Cassandra Clare has done an amazing job at creating side characters that you love as much as the leads. They all have an equal share in the book. Their storylines are just as important and there isn’t one character that I don’t like (other than the obvious antagonists).
James Herondale first appears in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, one of my favourite collections of short stories. I immediately knew that I wanted to read about this character. We only see a few brief scenes with him and Matthew Fairchild, but it was enough to gather interest. In James as a character and in his friendship with Matthew. James has such intriguing abilities where he can turn into a shadow being and transfer over to this shadow world. James, while not being more important than the rest of the characters in this book, was the reason that the plot moved along in the first place. The conflict in this book was indirectly because of him. This book did an amazing job of creating this tension and longing between him and Cordelia.
Going into this I knew nothing about Cordelia. She was just a name. I didn’t realize I would adore her quite as much as I did. Cordelia was immediately a very strong-minded character. She had a goal from the very beginning and she showed herself to be very determined. Even in this book, I feel like she evolved so much as a character. We find out information about her that she herself didn't even know before this book and she takes it in stride. It really changes her whole outlook. This book was showing a transition period in Cordelia's life that I appreciate seeing. She is finding out all these family secrets that she never knew. She's coming to realize that she doesn't know her family members as much as she thought she did. It's a really interesting position to be in. Every family has secrets and finding out those secrets for the first time is always so jarring. Cordelia was such a sleek character, she was very put together and she had this perfect mix of grace and sensuality. As far as main characters go, I really liked her. I can't wait to see her become actual parabatai's with Lucie.
I loved Lucie. Lucie is the younger sister of James and the best friend of Cordelia. She is almost like the conduit of the relationship between James and Cordelia. She is also probably my favourite character from this book. She is so funny and outgoing. She reminds me of a young Will. While we see a lot of James and his powers that he got from his mother, we only get a brief snippet of what Lucie can do. I can see amazing things happening in the future for Lucie. She has so much potential as a character and I really hope they utilize that in the next few books. I'm also really interested in her relationship with Jesse. Whilst reading this book I remembered that for the hardcover edition of I think it might have been Clockwork Princess, the dustjacket has a family tree. This family tree states that Jesse and Lucie were married. I have high hopes.
This book does a great job of showing that even though a character might seem a little antagonistic they aren’t necessarily a villain. Alasdair seems like a pretty antagonistic character right from the start, but as the story continues it is apparent that he isn’t just a flat character. He has a lot of personal turmoil and he isn’t just there to stoke the flames. I didn’t like him in the beginning but by the end of the book, I couldn’t help but wish the best for him.
The two worst characters in this book were Grace and Charles. While there is a very obvious evil threat, there is an expected badness when it comes to them. When it comes to Grace and Charles, they were just shitty people. The demon is a demon and therefore bad. Grace and Charles are simply invested in their own self-interest. They care about themselves and not the lives of the people who care for them. They are willing to string them along and have them miserable just to have them. When we finally thought James was rid of Grace, she came back with a vengeance. I understand that she was an emotionally abused shut-in, but god she was just such a shitty person. Charles doesn’t even have that as an excuse. He just strung Alasdair on and continued hurting him even though he knew they could never truly be together. He wanted his cake and to eat it too. I hate them both. More than the demon.