After a strange encounter at a nightclub with her best friend Simon, Clary Fray finds herself thrust into a shadowy underworld where witches, werewolves and demons exist. She meets three teenagers who kill said demons, calling themselves Shadowhunters. Clary is inexplicably drawn to one of the Shadowhunters in particular, a good-looking surly boy named Jace who takes on the mission to help Clary out when her mother suddenly disappears and Clary gets attacked by a demonic creature. In their quest to rescue her mom, Clary discovers a lot more than she wants to about the world that surrounds them, which has been hidden from plain view until now.
I actually had read this book about 6 years ago, long before I was involved with the book blogging world and knew of this huge fandom. I had taken it out from the library, read it and didn’t give it a second thought. It hadn’t been very memorable for me. So when I met so many friends who adore this series, and the movie was coming out, it felt like a great time to revisit this book for Brunch Book Club. And boy am I glad I did. I apparently remembered less of the book than I thought, so this was really a first reading for me and it definitely surpassed my misguided expectations.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did and while it did take me a little bit to get into the book, I completely sped through the latter half. I loved that it was set in NYC, with so many familiar locations making appearances. I definitely can see the magnetic charm of Magnus Bane now and I’m looking forward to more of him. I can’t say I’m a big fan of the protagonist, Clary, very much at this point though. I feel Clare was attempting to write a kick ass female lead but I found her a bit more in-the-way than saving-the-day. Given everything that Clary experiences and learns, she just seemed way too easily accepting of it all and there were so many moments where attention is drawn to something multiple times and it not mean anything (ie. Clary’s weird attention to the fact that various people could raise/lower their eyebrows) There were also quite a few eye-rolling moments that felt extremely cliché and some moments that felt a bit Potteresque (which, although I don’t know much about the author, I believe her to be a big Potter fan having penned the well-known Draco Trilogy fanfic years ago). I definitely want to get into it more but as to not spoil it for others, I will leave more examples in our Brunch Book Club wrap-up discussion post.
That being said, I do think the book had some great action scenes and kept pace relatively well even though I think it was probably a tad too long for the first book in a many, many-book series. So much (too much?) happens in this first installment that I’m definitely curious as to what happens for Clare to drag this on for another 5 books. With all my little hang-ups about it, I’m a bit surprised myself that I gave it the rating that I did but all of these gripes as it is, the overall book entertained me and kept me wanting to find out more. There have been books in the past that I have less to pick on but it also didn’t leave me wanting to turn the page to keep going. I’m definitely curious enough about this series to read at least one or two more into the series and intrigued enough to speed through the book to see if I’d have time to watch the Toronto-shot movie that very evening as well. Overall, I was not expecting to enjoy it, was kind of hoping not to given what I’ve read about the author, and yet I did. Hopefully the main character gets a little more useful and kick-ass with the latter books.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4 /5 stars)
Available: March 27, 2007
Goodreads | Book Depository | Chapters Indigo
Read as part of Brunch Book Club with Lost in a Great Book.
Wrap up discussion to follow in the coming week.