My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. Even though I loved all three of the Mortal Instruments books, there was no guarantee that I would like it set back in Victorian times. Well, lucky for me, I liked it just fine. In fact, I might go so far as to say I loved it. A good story works no matter when it is set.
Clare, in my opinion, is great at character development. Her characters don’t just jump off the page, they erase the page completely. They take away any obstacle standing between them and the reader. The surprise here, though, is that she doesn’t sacrifice plot for character. There are plenty of authors who can get one or the other right, but she does both very well. It sounds easy, but if it was that easy more authors would be able to do it.
I’m not going to talk much about the plot here because there isn’t much that can be said that doesn’t give something away. I will say that readers who are afraid this is just going to be a rehash of City of Bones/Ashes/Glass but set in the past will be pleasantly surprised. There are some similarities in characters, but the plot is completely different. If you haven’t read the Mortal Instruments trilogy, you may be a little bit lost as to the finer details of the world Clare has created. It is necessary to have read the other trilogy first, but it certainly will help get your footing as far as worldbuilding goes.
Even though this is a VERY solid five star review, there were two things that specifically bothered me. First, the Henry character was a little two dimensional compared to the others. I’m not concerned about that in the long run, I’m convinced that Clare will develop him in the next two books. But, it was a little disappointing for this book. Second, there was a part near the beginning where Tessa notices that there aren’t photographs on the wall of her room. That managed to take me right out of the story. Is it an anachronism to think there would be photographs on the wall? In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. But, it did manage to pull me out of the story at least for a few minutes and is even more noticeable after finishing the book where everything else seemed to be Victorian perfect. I don’t know. It was just odd. But those are very minor things that will probably matter only to me.
Team Will or Team Jem? Yes. I’m opting for both. Neither of them has managed to move me from Team Jace, though. I guess I’m just a modern girl. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is fantastic. Go read it right now.