In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
If you are a fan of Cassandra Clare’s books, like I am, then you were very anxious to get your hands on this second book in the Infernal Devices trilogy. The first book, The Clockwork Angel introduced us to Tessa and Jem and, sigh, Will…but also Charlotte and Henry and Jessamine and Sophie and Tessa’s brother Nate and The Magister (ooh, mysterious). Hopefully, if you’re up to speed on what happened in Angel, you will not be spoiled by this review.
Benedict Lightwood wants Charlotte (and Henry) out as head of the London Institute, which harbors Tessa, Jem, Will and Jessamine, because 1) she’s female and 2) she housed a spy for the Magister in the institute (Nate). Plus, he (Lightwood) is a tool. The Consul Wayland takes it under advisement, in the meantime charging Charlotte and the rest of the gang with finding the Magister (who apparently has issues with the Shadowhunters) as a means to keep the institute. Lightwood offers the services of his sons, Gabriel and the newly returned to England Gideon, to “train” Tessa and Sophie, in the event that they should need to help protect the institute if the Magister decides to attack it again.
Meanwhile, Tessa and Jem are growing closer together. Neither can really rely on Will for any kind of meaningful relationship because he’s so brash and rude and keeps everyone at such a distance, so they continually seek each other out. And even though Tessa still has feelings for Will (despite his insistence at the end of Angel that there could never be anything between them), she develops an attraction to Jem. Concurrently, we come to find out just what Will’s problem is. And, oh, it’s a good one. Totally explains soooo much.
There is just so much going on in this book, so many things explained (and many more unexplained) that it’s kind of difficult to give a real review without revealing too much. We get to see more of Nate and learn more about Sophie, but I cannot say too much about their stories without giving away a lot of the plot and surprising moments that make the book so good. Why was Nate so willing to deliver his beloved sister to the Magister? What are Benedict Lightwood’s problems with Charlotte and Henry and why is he so anxious to get the institute in his grubby little hands? Why is the Magister trying to bring down the nephilim? Why won’t Will admit to his attraction to Tessa?
The whole triangle of Tessa/Will/Jem is done so well that it’s very difficult to choose a side. I don’t know who I want her to be with in the end. There are parts of this book that will leave you needing a cold drink (or shower). And there are surprisingly sweet moments. Cassandra Clare wrote a love story (more than one, really) with this book.
I think I am liking the Infernal Devises books better than the Mortal Instruments books. I love the old-fashioned manners and the way they talk and Victorian England. Also, the story seems to be moving along quite quickly, with questions being answered almost immediately. I know there are still some that need to be answered (some very important ones), but others that I would have thought we’d have to wait for Clockwork Princess to know. I am pretty anxious to see how she will resolve the love triangle, for instance, but I’m quite happy with her dragging that one out. My only complaint is that, at 500 pages, it was too short. Very well done, Ms. Clare.