This is the first book of The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare and is set in Victorian England. Tessa, a 16 year old girl moves from New York to London after her aunt passed away. She is unaware of what is waiting for her and who. She is faced with difficult decisions and facts to accept whether or not she likes it. Her struggle to find her brother, love issues between best friends and discovering her true identity. It is quite overwhelming for someone so young but that is the story of our protagonist.
It is a really great start introducing the heroine and a new world. Being a fan myself of stories about magic and victorian england, this book has definitely satisfied my craving for such. There is such a geat mix of characters and it’s as if you have one of every kind.
Tessa Gray as mentioned earlier is the protagonist of the story. She thinks at first that she’s merely an ordinary girl who is moving with her brother to England. It is only when she arrives that her ability to shapeshift was to be used and she is to be trained by the Dark Sisters in preparation for her presentation to the Magister.
Charlotte Branwell is not only a Nephilim but the head of the Institute of the Clave in England. She may be young and small but she does have a big heart is persists on proving herself worthy of being chosen to lead.
Henry Branwell is also a Nephilim and Charlotte’s husband. He is an inventor, however, his devices have yet to prove his capabilities as an inventor.
Will Herondale is the playboy who is desired by women the moment they see his angelic face. The typical characteristics of a hero he’s got such as the body and the fighting skills. In essence he is an introvert but uses his sarcarsm and arrogance to shield himself from prying eyes/minds that want to attach themselves.
Jem Castairs is probably one of the kindest characters and although he does not have to-die-for features like Will, his personality is charm itself. But no one can be too perfect therefore his character is a sickly one who may be at the brink of death if he does not take enough dosage of drugs into his system.
Jessie Lovelace is the spoil brat who squanders the money left to her by her parents when they died. She has no interest in being a Shadowhunter although she is born into it. She isn’t all bad because there are scenes that show her as an average human being with feelings other than the thrill of spending such that she can care for others. She wants to have normal life and not have to fight like a man like Charlotte does. She is similar to Will when she hides the part of her the can be kind.
Love is almost never absent in the books that I read and this is no exception. At first we see our heroine with no partner at all to have to choose between best friends, Will and Jem. But it isn’t only Tessa but Sophie as well who may not have realized what Thomas saw in her to be fond of her until she lost him to the clockworks. Charlotte and Henry have an interesting relationship because of the way they just work together. I’m not sure how much of their marriage is out of feelings and emotions and how much of it is just the pure benefit of it. Henry gets to use the lab while Charlotte gets to be the head of the house. There is also Tessa’s love for her brother, Nate, which pushes her to find and rescue him from de Quincey.
Trust is delicate. It is difficult to earn but easily lost. Upon arriving in England, all Tessa wanted was to be with her brother and not beaten up by the Dark Sisters when she failed to change into whoever owned the object she held. Tessa could not trust anyone in the Dark Sisters’ house to the point that she’d written letters for her brother but did not send them. Instead she hid them under her matress where no one would look. And then at the Institute with the Shadowhunters who she does not know and isn’t sure that they are telling the truth about her and is skeptical whether they are to use her like the Dark Sisters did or not. The obvious trusts in the story is when Charlotte and Henry seek information thru Mortmain and Camille. Between the two, it is only Mortmain who broke the trust. Not only did he break his ties with the Clave but also to the Dark Sisters who he had Will and Jem fight off as a decoy and de Quincey by the Clave since they were of no use to him anymore.
When I was reading I thought I was learning new things and I like their explanations for example of how one becomes a vampire. According to the Codex, vampires and werewolves are humans infected with demon disease. At times I wish that I could have a copy of the Codex too so I that I can learn about the creatures in the story.
Overall it was a great read. I recently started thinking about why the author took such a long time to reveal the clockwork angel’s power when Henry had already inspected it. He is a character who is unable to produce a functioning device but not someone who cannot understand the mechanism. But yes the author has her reasons and we can keep it at that for now.