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.
I loved the Mortal Instrument series, but I don’t find myself as invested in the Infernal Device series. I think it’s because the era is so ancient! I can’t relate to Will, Jem, or Tessa at all. Also, I found Will’s storyline to be very contrived. It seemed like Clare just wanted an excuse to keep Will and Tessa apart to make the series a little more angsty. I found myself making a lot of comparisons between the two series (i.e. a lot of re-used plot points and character descriptions), but all of the things that made the Mortal Instrument series great aren’t here.
This book is just so boring. I don’t care about any of the main characters and I just wasn’t emotionally drawn in at all. Tessa is such a typical Victorian girl and I can’t see any of the strength and independence that made Clary such an admirable heroine. I find it hard to take that young girls never go for the generous, kind, stable boys and always go for the broody, dark, mysterious jerks. Will treated Tessa horribly and said some utterly cruel things to her, but she still finds herself drawn to him because he’s good looking? COME ON! Is this what we want to teach teenage girls? We can’t promote the idea that a man’s cruelty is for a deeper reason and he’s actually in love with you. That’s just promoting delusion. But I digress.
Back to the plot. Not only was it dull and slow, it seemed like such an afterthought. At every event there was just so much angst and drama. The love triangle is the premiere plot point…and speaking of the love triangle, how is it appropriate for Tessa to be making out with two different guys on subsequent nights? Once again, another thing we don’t want to be promoting in young girls! Additionally, at every step, there seemed to be so many misunderstandings…it was as if nobody had clear communication skills. I also wasn’t fond of the whole Nate and Jessamine storyline. Once again, it stresses a woman’s obsession with a man and her delusion that he loves her when he obviously doesn’t. I didn’t like the way the girls were portrayed in this novel. They were either shown to be weak and needy like Jessamine, or confused and promiscuous like Tessa.
However, there were some redeeming qualities of this novel. No matter how confused Tessa was, she did stand by her decision to be with the man she chose. She was selfless in her desire to keep Will and Jem’s friendship intact and sacrificed her own heart in the process. It’s very noble of her and I’m curious as to how it’s going to play out to make all three of them happy (though I do have my suspicions how things will end). I also adored Sophie’s character. She fell in love in spite of herself, she is kind, compassionate, and a great friend to Tessa. I really hope she manages to find happiness as well.
This book does leave off on a slight cliffhanger and I’m wondering how this storyline will be developed. I think I will finish this series, but not happily. This is not Cassandra Clare’s best work.