If every rule has an exception then go ahead and judge this book based on its gorgeous cover. This book is an absolute delight! This is my first book by the author and I am very excited to have tons of books that I can now devour since she has me hooked. I can assure you if you are new to this author as well that you will have no problem jumping in with this one without any understanding of her Shadowhunter World. I am not sure if it’s the author’s writing style or because this is a new book in an established world but there is no hand holding here which I’m sure fans of this world will appreciate it. By that I mean we jump right in at a breakneck speed into this world. As a reader I always enjoy this type of pacing as things slowly start to make sense. I found the world fascinating as the role of the Shadowhunters became clear. I did have more trouble keeping track of the large cast of characters in the beginning. For the most part we are following this younger generation of Shadowhunters who are friends, many being siblings or somehow related, or even enemies. Of course there are also romantic entanglements to try and keep track of as well. I really could have used a family tree to understand who was who, especially the ones who were cousins as various parents were mentioned but never really introduced in order to keep track of who those parents were. Possibly this is because this all makes sense to readers of this world.
Again that being said I absolutely loved this world. It is set for the most part in London in 1903, except for a few flashback chapters a few years earlier that explain moments in different characters lives, and is very reminiscent of a Regency novel with the rules one would expect in place for conduct. Much like Harry Potter this world has another layer to it but instead of the human Muggles this world has Mundanes who are the normal humans unaware of what is going on around them. In this case that would be this Shadowhunter world where families train their children to fight demons. It seems that this younger generation has had it easier than their parents because there has been a lot less attacks for them to face until now of course as demons abound with a vengeance. I am not one for monster stories so if that does not appeal to you do not reconsider as that really is not what this book is about. It’s really about this group coming together and rising to the challenge. There is the fighting off of these demons but also some magical qualities to what they can do. There is also a lot of intrigue about who each person is and what or who they want.
For the most part I would say this story centers on only a few characters in this group of larger and secondary characters. Cordelia is brought to London as a scandal threatens her family’s standing. She has loved James from afar for years now but he has a secret understanding with a very mysterious girl. James has a sister Lucie who is very good friends with Cordelia. James also has a parabatai, which seems to be a special Shadowhunter partner, named Mathew who had his own mysterious story. Lucie will find her own mystery which is my favorite part of the book though Cordelia is my favorite of the main characters. In this regency setting of proper rules for ladies women are allowed to be warriors which is a wonderful juxtaposition and Cordelia is coming into her own. There is so much going on in this book with the adventure and intrigue that you will quickly be pulled in. I love the pacing as we jump around amongst all the different characters and plots. This is the start of a new series and I cannot wait to see what is in store for these characters next! You will not want to out this book down once you start! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.