My 18-year-old voracious reader of a daughter read this one first. She didn't just read it, she devoured it and went on to read the Mortal Instruments trilogy also written by Cassandra Clare. Since she loves to read but is particular about what she reads (she has no problem stopping if she is reading a book she doesn't love whereas I tend to plod on through it), this is high praise for this book and author.
Tessa has come from America to London after being invited by her brother who is her only living relative. She is immediately kidnapped by a couple of older women who imprison her and teach her how to use some special skills she didn't know she had. She is rescued by a shadowhunter. Shadowhunters protect humans from demons and downworlders (creatures who are not human such as werewolves, vampires, etc.). It is 1878 and the Victorians aren't aware that such things even exist. Tessa is taken in by the Shadowhunters who help her to find her brother while fighting the evil in London.
I am finding that I enjoy young adult literature more and more. Is it getting better or am I just discovering it? Not sure. Anyway, this was an enjoyable read and my biggest beef with it was that it didn't end at the end! Nope, there are two more books. Unless you are patient, you may want to wait a couple of years and then you can read them one after the other instead of waiting impatiently for the next one to come out like I am having to do. There were definitely dark elements to this book and some violence that make it PG-13.