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.
Released: December 6, 2011 Pages: 528
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Source: Library
First off, I really liked Jem, as a character. I thought he had a very interesting story, and he was a likable character. I liked Will, too—which made me pause. This was one of my main problems with this book. Apparently, I’m not supposed to like Will. I kept being told, as a reader (and this “telling” is a whole ‘nother problem in itself), that Will was mean to everyone and unpleasant with people and hated puppies and on and on. That’s what the narration told me.
But from Will’s words and actions, that’s not the impression I got. I liked him. I thought he was funny. Yes, I could see where he was unpleasant at times, but he was nowhere near the menace that Cassandra Clare tried to tell me he was.
Another problem I have is with Tessa. Just…in general. I feel like Hiccup in How To Train Your Dragon*: “You just gestured to all of me.” But that’s how I feel about Tessa. Honestly, she doesn’t seem to me like she does much of anything. Her powers come in handy a few times, but other than that, someone else does all the work. Will and Jem do the fighting, Charlotte and everyone else do the figuring things out. The mystery solving, the plotting. It seems to me that Tessa is just a passenger for all that. I think I’d enjoy this series much more if it had centered more around Jem and Will.
One more thing—the author still wrote with the same patterns as the last book. For example, whenever any character walked into the room, there’d be a big, blocky paragraph describing exactly what they were wearing. And whenever someone walked into a new room, there’d be another big blocky paragraph describing every detail of the room. It annoyed me.
I enjoy the plot of these books. I really do. I love the concept, and the steampunky (okay, that has to be the millionth time I’ve added letters to the word “steampunk” to fit my needs) setting. The magical creatures are cool, and I think I might’ve figured out who Tessa’s father is. My overall issues with the series, though, keep me from enjoying it as much as I could.
Overall, this was an okay book. My interest in the plot and concept wasn’t enough for me to overlook the character and writing issues. Still, I’ll probably read the sequel, just out of curiosity. Maybe the next book will be better. Who knows? If you enjoyed the series so far, you’ll probably like this. If not, I’d suggest giving Clockwork Angel a try, but only if it looks interesting to you. If not, don’t go out of your way to check it out.
Reviews of other Infernal Devices novels:
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)