*This review may contain small spoilers - it won't ruin the book, it's just not on the blurb. The spoiler will be enclosed in [ ] s, and have a spoiler warning, so just keep an eye out*
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
Review: This book (Cassandra Clare's debut all the way back in 2007) was very good considering that it's of the vampire/werewold/demon hunting type and there are a lot of that out there. What makes this book different is that as well as 'Shadow Hunters' there are extremist shadow hunters, which they have to fight against, named 'The Circle' and which [*small spoiler* nearly all the main character's parents seemed to belong to back in the day.] It's portrayed as a bit of a cult, with an overbearing leader and followers who "secretly knew all along that he was a bad guy".
Anyway, this book was structured very similarly to 'Clockwork Angel' (#1 from the Prequel Series, The Infernal Devices - see my review here), for example having a strong, female protagonist (Tessa) and an arrogant, vain love-interest (Will), who sheilds his inner thoughts and feelings by lying all the time.
However, once this book got under way the details are very different, with Clary's mother being kidnapped rather than dying, and Clary only finding out about the paranormal world after her mother's disappearance. The supporting characters vary too, with sickly Jem being replaced by [*small spoiler* secretly-gay] Alec, and the orphaned Jessie being replaced by Alec's sister Isabelle.
The ending (as you may have heard from other reviews) is rather odd. Secrets are revealed that put a whole new spin on the Jem-Clary romance, and it all ends rather suddenly. Some people hate this ending, but I felt that the 'secrets' revealed may be in fact lies told by the villain in order to coerce Jem into doing his bidding. This sentence doesn't really make much sense, but I'm trying not to reveal too much and inadvertantly spoil the book for you. ;)
So, overall I think this book was a great original read. Cassandra Clare mixed paranormal with a gutsy character and a unique storyline to create gripping book of epic proportions. And not only did the 5th of the series come out in May, but there is a spin-off series set in the past, and one in the mix which will be set in the future - if that's not success then I don't know what is!. There's also a movie-in-the-making, the cast of which is currently being revealed (Lily Collins playing Clary!). So in total a 4.6 star rating.