Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
After meeting Jace and his Shadowhunter companions, Clary eventually finds her way into the inner sanctum of their world, cryptically referred to as “the Institute”. At first, the Institute is cool; it’s a secret hide-out for all kinds of demon-hunting folk, has an enormous library and has plenty of gothic potential. It kind of seemed to me, however, that the only characters residing there were Jace, Clary, lurking historian/curator Hodge and brother-sister duo, Isabelle and Alec and came across as kind of…sad.
With all the bouncing around between Shadowhunter history (doled out in rather cumbersome and disruptive chunks by a mysterious chap that lurks around the Institute with his pet raven), spurts of vampire/werewolf/zombie-demon fighting by impetuous teenagers and angsty romance, the book felt very muddled indeed. There’s almost too much going on and the plot just seemed to get lost amongst the red herrings and history lessons. I fully appreciate that trying to balance setting up your characters’ backgrounds and world while maintaining a degree of action is a tough job. I can’t help but feel, though, that plonking one of your characters in a library every now and then to effectively listen to a lecture is not the best way to go about it...