Clare returns to her Shadowhunters world with this enjoyable if drawn-out tale. Set in contemporary Los Angeles, it centers on Emma Carstairs, a Shadowhunter adopted by members of the Blackthorn family who, like her, were orphaned in the Dark War five years earlier. Emma has become parabatai or sworn companion to Julian, the oldest Blackthorn boy living at the local Institute, where Shadowhunters live and train. When humans and faeries start turning up dead, covered in mysterious runes like those found on the bodies of Emma's parents, she and Julian investigate, accompanied by Julian's disoriented older brother Mark, recently returned after having been stolen by the faeries years before. Having been gradually revealed in nine previous novels, the Shadowhunter universe is complex, jargon-rich, and a bit unwieldy, but Clare's well-developed protagonists (each a fragile combination of heroic warrior and teenage neurotic), pell-mell action sequences, complicated family dynamics, and fascinating magic system continue to engage. This first volume in the Dark Artifices trilogy should easily please Clare's existing fans, but newcomers will want to begin with the Mortal Instruments. Ages 14–up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/15/2016 Release date: 03/08/2016 Genre: Children's
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