Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Related Series: The Mortal Instruments
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
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: Jem, 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.
I love the Victorian setting in London. I've seen some people who struggled with it a little compared to how easily it was for them to read Clare's The Mortal Instruments books, which are set in the 21st century. But I've always loved Victorian books and settings, so I find it to be enjoyable. I think that Clare does a nice job of trying to stay true to the Victorian Era, without allowing the text to become too formal for her intended audience. She can work around some of the Victorian stuffiness by using the fact that the characters are not entirely human and, therefore, don't necessarily hold themselves to all of the formalities of the mundane world while they are in the confines of their own home.
The plot moves along pretty well. I think the suspense is built up nicely, without getting boring. There is a scattering of action that keeps things suspenseful and exciting between the quieter scenes. Once the plans start being implemented and the nefarious plot unfolds, it was even more action-packed and dramatic. The ending is not a cliff-hanger, but it definitely will make the reader curious about a couple of things and impatient for book two! There are several mysteries left to unfold and questions to be answered in the follow-up books, and I cannot wait to read the next one.