Where I Got It: Borrowed from the library.
Who I Recommend This To: Urban fantasy fans and YA fans.
Narrator: Ari Graynor
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2007)
Length: 14 hours 11 minutes
Series: Book 1 The Mortal Instruments
Meet Clary Fray. She’s 15, lives with her mom, and has a bit of a submissive streak. Simon is her best friend, and he is a bit of a wallflower. So of course Clary needs to drag him off to a nightclub, Pandemonium. In an equipment room, Clary witnesses three armed teens kill what she thinks is another teen. However, the security guard and Simon don’t see anything. Later, at a poetry reading (Simon’s idea), Clary sees one of the teens, Jace. Clary learns a little about the Shadowhunters and their never-ending quest to slay demons. Of course, she has trouble believing it, but that becomes much easier when she is attacked by a giant bug-like demon in her apartment. With her mother missing, and tons of questions, she turns to Jace and his fellow Shadowhunters for answers.
Alec and Isabelle Lightwood live at the Institute with Jace, and the elderly, scholarly Hodge Starkweather. Isabelle can be a bitch, but she is always straight forward. Alec takes a huge dislike to Clary right away. So even though she is temporarily safe from demon bugs, she isn’t exactly being coddled and reassured all will be well. At that is one of the aspects I enjoyed about this book. The Shadowhunters are descendants of the first nephilim, those created from an angel mixing his blood with mortal blood. from this, they derive certain powers, such as the Sight which allows Clary to see Jace and crew at the night club.
The Shadowhunters also have other magical means, such as runes they draw upon their skin and then call upon for protection or healing. Yeah, it stings a bit, but they endure. they also have years of training in more mundane defense skills; hand-to-hand combat, various weapons training. Only Isabelle cooks, and she does that badly. Other than that, these teens all seem able to clean & dress themselves and order in when hungry.
The over all mystery was pretty compelling. Clary soon finds out her mother is more than she ever knew, along with he mother’s long-term boyfriend Luke. Turns out the Mortal Cup, which was used by the angel to make the first nephilim, has been missing for a generation. It disappeared when the evil warlock Valentine was destroyed. Or was he? So plenty to explore there, both in Clary’s present and also in the past.
The story quickly develops a love triangle, which then becomes a quadrangle, and then a pentangle. At that point, it’s just best to call it the Love Tangle. These teens need to get out more and meet more people, period. At first I was a little annoyed at the love triangle, but by the time we got to the Love Tangle, I could only chuckle at it. I don’t think anyone’s going to get laid.
While some of the plot twists were predictable, the author still executed them with drama and scenery. Yep, scenery. They were quite lovely scenes, just predictable. And Clary seemed to spend 90% of the book reacting to her surroundings or doing what someone else tells her to do. She rarely acted on her own.
But other than those points, it was a fun jaunt through YA. Will I read the next book? Hmm….I don’t know. If I find it on the library shelf while browsing and queue isn’t already full, sure.
The Narration: Ari Graynor was a great voice for Clary. I don’t think I can imagine Clary with a different voice now. Her male voices for older male was good (really excellent for Hodge) but were rather feminine for the younger males.
What I Liked: The overarching mystery; the rune magic; flying bikes; shapeshifting mistakes made at parties; the nephilim history; demon bugs!
What I Disliked: A bit predictable; Love Tangle.
What Others Think: