I love this book! I really think I like Clare’s The Infernal Devices series more than her Immortal Instruments series. Both series have a smorgasbord of teen drama and dialogue, but for some reason both the drama and dialog just come off as better when in a Victorian-ish time period. Any way, this is book two in her The Infernal Devices series, which takes place over a century before her other books do.
It takes place soon after the first one left off. Mortmain (the crazy bad guy from book 1 who’s been plotting away with a clockwork army of automatons) is still bent on destroying the shadowhunters. We learn the reasons for why he hates the shadowhunters so much in this book. It begins with Charlotte, the head of the institute where all the teens are staying, on trial. Her ability to lead is being questioned due to the traitors, the death, and the problems in book one. She is given two weeks to find Mortmain if she wishes to remain the head of the institute.
Tessa needs Charlotte to remain the head of the Institute; otherwise, she will become a much easier target for Mortmain, who still seems to want her for unknown reasons. And while the motley crew of amazing characters works hard to track down Mortmain, the love triangle between Tessa, Will, and Jem blossoms. Despite Will’s need to ruin all good situations, Tessa can’t seem to get Will out of her brain. And she really becomes close to Jem in this one. They share such a sweet connection and growing friendship type love. And I won’t ruin it, but know that the book ends with Tessa being proposed to by one of them, and her breaking the heart of the other.
The teens go from the slums of London, to masquerade balls, to the countryside of England, to opium dens, and Clave meetings. There’s a lot of planning in this book, and a lot of character development. A lot is found about Mortmain as a character. And a lot is found out about Will, and the reasons why he acts the way he does. There’s demon-tracking, women dressing as men, two hidden affairs, warlock help, and two sizzling romance scenes for Tessa (not with the same boy). Tessa’s evil brother makes a comeback. And we even get to learn a little about Tess’s heritage. Though, I have a feeling we won’t really know about what she is (despite the tiny hints in this one) until the very end of the last book.
I loved this book. The steampunk elements were excellent. I wanted to examine the mechanical creatures as much as the analytical Henry (husband of Charlotte). Tessa has become so much stronger, so much more confident in her decisions and her actions. She really saved everyone with a last minute decision in the end to transform herself into her evil brother, Nate. I love Tessa’s ability, and all the questions about where she comes from and what she actually is.
I loved the training scenes where Tessa and Sophie were learning to defend themselves. I loved getting to know Jem. I loved learning Will’s history. And I absolutely just adored all the literary references spread through out the whole thing. Each chapter begins with a quote from a significant literary piece of the time period. And Will and Tessa are constantly throwing out quotes by romantic poets, and writers like Dickens and the Brontes. Will even leaves a love not for Tessa in a copy of A Tale of Two Cities, which we can read at the end of the book!
Everything just seemed to fit together nicely in this book. It really set me up and prepared me for the war I know that’s coming in book 3. And I am so ready to read about a Victorian/Steam punk mechanical creatures versus shadowhunters war! There was a lot of good planning in this. The only thing that nagged at me a little was the part about the traitor. I just feel like that part was too predictable. And I’m so tired of there always being that one trusted person turned traitor. I mean this already kind of happened already in book 1, as well.
I still give this one a 10/10. I was highly impressed. I loved the crazy ending with all of the good, exciting announcements. And I loved the final Clave meeting announcing the head of the Institute. And I am dying to read the third one. I don’t know how I’m supposed to wait until September to read it.