One of the things I enjoy most about Clare's stories are the character developments. The interactions between characters are complex and each individual is a bit of a mystery. So, not only are you following along with an adventurous plot, but you're simultaneously watching out for well placed clues scattered throughout the pages in hopes of unraveling their secrets. It creates an engaging momentum.
I instantly enjoyed Tessa, our heroine; she's like no other. She is smart and kind-hearted but has a snappy wit. She's also very innocent in a lot of ways. From the obvious: she's never been kissed nor handled a weapon, to the understated: she assumes/expects everyone to be naturally as kind as she is. So often in fantasy, our heroines start out tough both inside and out, and it was interesting to watch someone have to become strong. And I love the following quote... she's wiser than her years.
"Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry..."
All the characters stirred such strong emotions out of me. Love, disgust, sorrow, anger; all basic emotions, but the most powerful. I became so invested in their well-being that at the end of the book I quite literally let out a big breath I didn't realize I was holding. Gripping, is really not word enough.
The only issue I had was that I kept comparing this book to those from her previous series. Now don't bite my head off just yet, this did turn out very different than any from the MI books, but I did compare back and forth between characters way more than I think should ever happen. (this is really a backhanded compliment. The fact that Clare's previous characters are still lodged in my brain so well after 2 years of absence should say all you need to know about the power of her people)
Bottom Line: Clare has, once again, created a top notch set of characters and laid the foundations for a captivating series