I have to admit that I have not read Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. I am not sure if that would have had an affect on my opinion of this book or not. Not sure I want to read it after reading this one. I don’t think there is anything really wrong with this book per say; it just wasn’t that great. I found it really boring in places and struggled to finish it. I didn’t connect with the characters and really couldn’t care less about them. The story was interesting, but the plot was kind of obvious (maybe not to the characters but certainly to the reader).
This book is set in Victorian England and definitely has a very steampunk vibe to it, which I enjoy. However, the main character of Tessa is so Victorian that it is kind of difficult to like her. For the majority of the book she is more concerned with what is proper (like whether she can call someone by their first name) than what is going on around her. And one of the shadowhunters Jessamine doesn’t want to be what she is she just wants to go to parties and be a part of society. It may seem silly (and it is), but taken as a whole and in the quantity presented in the book and really does make it a little hard to stomach at times for the modern reader. The male characters aren’t that much better. Will is snarky and nasty and not in the “I’m mean on the outside and nice on the inside” kind of way. It doesn’t really appear that he has a nice inside to hide. Jem also has a dark secret past but he is atleast likeable if maybe too nice to contrast Will’s darkness. They all seem fairly one dimensional as characters so it is hard to like them or root for them.
The plot isn’t bad, but this is definitely set up as a series so not all your questions are answered in this book and not all plot points are resolved. Since this is the opening of the series there seems to be a lot of filler in the nearly 500 pages and the book does drag a bit in the middle. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t exciting parts because there was. I just wish it was more consistent.