From the very beginning I did not like Tessa Grey. How is it that you can know someone for five minutes and then decide that they should tell you why they are an orphan and their personal painful life history?
In this book for the first time, Clare decided to introduce a disabled character. The disableism throughout the story was disgusting. Jem was actively told that no one blamed him for his disability. Really? No, I mean Really? Basically, he was forced into the role of super crip and still was not accepted by his community. Outside of Will, the paternalism with which he is treated is ignored, and the reader is expected to pity him as a tragic hero.This of course proves my theory that unless you have an ism, or are intimately connected with someone who does, research is vital. I think that Clare was so committed to printing quotes from Dickens and the like that she could not be bothered to read anything else.
Speaking of Victorian England, I know that we are talking about a different time, but how is it that the strict enforcement of gender roles was so absolutely necessary. Shadowhunters are not only not human, they are not beholden to human morality and therefore the I don’t understand the character of Jessamine Lovelace. Also, that name sounds like a porn name; however, as I will discuss later, as this was not the only lack of originality in the book. Her character bored me so much that there were times I felt that I was reading Jane Austin. I can understand Tessa’s shock about women wearing supposedly male clothing but femininity, seemed like nothing but a performance for Jessamine. I have no doubt that just as now, there were women who were content to be wife and mother; however, even then women were striving to push the boundaries of womanhood, which Jessamine so tightly held onto. Her weapon was a parasol for crying out loud. One need not rewrite history to have a strong female character.
I suppose I could have lived with all of the fails in the book if Clare had attempted to add anything new to the story. Will was Jace with a different name and Tessa was Clary. If you cannot even be bothered to create new characters when you write a story in the same world you are robbing the reader. It felt like entire passages were lifted out of her Mortal Instruments series. Considering that Clare has a history of plagiarizing within fanfic, you would think that would make her more dedicated to originality in her work, but apparently not. When you promise readers something new, that is exactly what you should deliver. This book felt like a money grab and it offered nothing to the cannon of the story itself. So yes, Cassandra Clare, you owe me hours of my life that I spent reading the drek you dared to call a new series, as well as payment for my time. You also owe the earth for the trees that died so that your book could be printed.