In this scene, the main character, Clary, a normal Brooklyn teenager, goes to an all-ages club. In line, she spies a cute boy -- who just happens to come to her (and the bouncer's) attention because he's got a sword. Inside, Clary's busy deciding whether or not to go talk to him as he ponders why humans are such easy prey and zeroes in on his first victim. The night ends with a killing and a dead body that can't be located. No one believes Clary's murder story, and she's wondering if it's all been a very strange dream.
The dream becomes the narrative as Clary bumps up against one otherworldly creature after another. My personal favorite is the sinister cabal of librarians -- archivists who resemble a cross between a Zen Buddhist monk and the Grim Reaper -- who can read minds and crack open memories, laying waste to the human hosts.
In one scene, these librarians, the Silent Brothers, come up in conversation. One character reminds another that he hates the Brothers.
"I don't hate them," said Jace candidly. "I'm afraid of them. It's not the same thing."
"I thought you said they were librarians," said Clary.
"They are librarians."
Simon whistled, "Those must be some killer late fees."
Clare's humor seems aimed at adults, but the romance and drama grabs kids. Let's just say that the series came to my attention when a student, normally calm and collected, checked out the third book and, with a wild look in her eye, grabbed it, explaining, "These are the most addictive books ever. They're like Twilight -- on crack."