I have a lot of mixed emotions after reading this book. While I did enjoy parts of it, there was just something missing that I can't explain. My biggest problem with the story was how annoying the characters are, especially in the first half of the story. I had to constantly remind myself that this is a Young Adult book and the first in a series so perhaps the author is giving herself plenty of room for their growth. They are all basically self-absorbed obnoxious teenagers, most especially the main character, Clary. Clary is annoyingly immature for a sixteen-year-old. She, of course, has all of the boys in the story in love with her (except for the gay who she's mean to! So sad, she could have had a gay bff, that would have made the story more interesting) but she's too focused on herself to even be aware of other character's emotions. She also gets very frustrated and emotional quickly and yells things like "I don't want to hear any more!" when essential parts of the story are being explained. Even in Young Adult books, I still like my female leads with a little bit more strength and gumption then what Clary showed in this book.
The plot itself is interesting, and the concept of Shadowhunters and Downworlders was what kept me reading after I lost interest in the characters. The twists in the storyline were blatantly obvious...I almost put the book down halfway through when I figured out that Jace was her brother. So stupid. Star Wars already pulled that twist off. And Jace's sexiness was one of the most redeeming features of the characters. And they were all obvious because they've all been done before. If you've seen Star Wars or read Harry Potter then there's no point in reading this book.