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.
Hardcover, 502 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Five Stars: This book lives up to the hype. The best Cassandra Clare to date!
The clock tolls, marking off the late hour. Sheets of fog roll through the deserted graveyard. Among the crumbling, forgotten headstones, a shadow darts toward unhallowed ground. The clouds part and the moon appears, flashing for a brief moment on the face of the handsome, young Shadowhunter, Will Herondale. What ghastly errand brings him to this haunted, unconsecrated ground? Does he seek the specter of Old Molly, a troubled soul, known to traffic demon paraphernalia?
The scene shifts and we are witness to the clandestine chambers of the Clave Council. Treachery and trouble are afoot. Charlotte Branwell stands with her head held high before the Council as she bravely faces the charges and accusations hurled at her, stemming from the recent attack on the Institute by the evil Mortmain and his clockwork army. The malicious Benedict Lightwood is plotting to snatch the control of the mighty, Shadowhunter Institute away from Charlotte and Henry, which in effect would leave Will, Jem and Tessa and the others homeless. In order to prevent the catastrophic removal of the Branwells from the Institute, they must track down Mortmain. Can the trio aid Charlotte in hunting down the villain and save the Institute in time?
What I Loved:
- This book the second installment of The Infernal Devices, has long been atop everyone's must have, most coveted books of 2011. I was thrilled to find that this book filled the bill. I think it far surpassed its predecessor. I love that this book is more grown up than any of Ms. Clare's previous works. Her ability to create and evolve her characters must be applauded. The growth and maturation of all the players in this book is my absolute favorite feature of this novel. While often times the second book falters a bit and on some occasions can be a "filler" book, this is not the case with this issue. I will admit that it is not packed with action and the clockwork army is absent but what this book does is develop and progress relationships. It takes you right into the heart and soul of each of the characters. It was a joy to gain up close access to all my favorite characters. The aside stories regarding Charlotte and Henry and Sophie and Gideon are a delightful and welcome addition.
- Will's story. At last I understood the reasons for Will's wicked, sometimes spiteful behavior. Once the motives for his actions were laid bare, I fell more in love with his character. He truly is the person that Jem believes him to be and the man Tessa longs to love. His story will break your heart and you can't help but to admire his courage and willingness to sacrifice. If you thought you were a Jem fan, this book will leave you conflicted. If only a girl could give her heart to two boys! (Hey wait, I can! Who says I, the reader, can't love them both wholeheartedly!)
- Believe it or not I actually enjoyed the love triangle in this book. Tessa finds herself caught between the sweet, tender, frail Jem and the troubled, brave Will. I do not envy her position. Ms. Clare does an excellent job in presenting a believable and mature love conflict. If only all love triangles were this well written. Again huge props to Ms. Clare for writing such passionate and sweet love scenes. They will truly take your breath away (stolen kisses on a balcony, the shedding of hair pins, two souls pressed together, tender brushing of lips...sigh). I know many fans are screaming about the evolution of the love issue ( I seriously thought I was in for a horrific tragedy) but I think she took an amazing and remarkable step with her story. It is poignant and reminiscent of Sydney Carton from Tale of Two Cities. I am excited to see how events will unfold in the next book.
- Again I was an adamant admirer of the well written Victorian setting. Ms. Clare takes us back to that romantic age and I know even tomboys like myself, can appreciate the fashion of the day. I was charmed by the detailed descriptions of the lovely gowns, gloved hands, buttoned boots and pulled up hair adorned with jewels and pearls. Yet, Ms. Clare doesn't completely woo you with the resplendent finery, she makes it quite clear that dressing in the style of the day was also a big pain in the rear. Imagine needing someone to help you dress and fastening all those tiny buttons! Running in heavy skirts and suffocating stays is darn near impossible. She does not fool us with the backdrop either, she paints a vivid picture of London as it was, the good and the bad. While I was charmed by the beauty, the squalor, stench, poverty and drug dens brought me back to the reality of life in the 19th century. I appreciated the research and care that Ms. Clare took in recreating her London.
- As an avid book connoisseur, I love the way Ms. Clare incorporates so many of the classics, which were pertinent to the time, into this series. Her little snippets of verse and memorable quotes speak volumes. I wonder how future generations a hundred years from now will view our modern day stories. Tessa and Will's affinity for books is even more apparent in this book. How can you not love characters that are avid readers?
And The Not So Much:
- Honestly, there is nothing that I can truly criticize about this book. Granted there isn't much movement in the plot and most of the mysteries are still unsolved and there is little action, but I was so impressed by the characters that I can't complain. This book will get into your head and you will find yourself completely absorbed into the lives of these individuals. I even felt terribly sorry for Jessamine and I am hoping for her redemption. The character aspect to me, was more important than action and adventure!
- I guess the one small quibble I have is this series needs more Magnus Bane please!
This is a book that you should immediately dash out and buy. It is filled with rich, wonderful, amazing characters. The inclusion of such sweet love scenes will have many hearts fluttering. This is absolutely one of the best reads for 2011. How will I endure the long wait for the release of the third book Clockwork Princess in 2012? (Now a slew of quotes there were just so many good ones! I have to share!)
"And as the days went on, Tessa felt herself unfolding slowly out of her quiet, huddled unhappiness over Nate and Will and the loss of her old life, like a flower climbing out of frozen ground."
"If no one cares for you at all, do you even really exist?”
"Lips. There was something strangely, delicately indelicate about the word, like a kiss itself. It seemed to hover in the air between them while they both hesitated."
"Where Will’s kisses were all fire, Jem’s were like pure air after a long time of being closed up in the airless dark."
“We who are immortal, we are chained to this life by a chain of gold, and we dare not sever it for fear of what lies beyond the drop,”
"Could you really love two different people at once? Could you split your heart in half?"
"If he loves you . . . he has no choice. For love means forgiveness.”
"And if you don’t want anyone to know you’ve been kissing in carriages, you should refrain from wearing a hat with easily crushed flowers on it. People aren’t blind, you know.”
"Lies and secrets, Tessa, they are like a cancer in the soul. They eat away what is good and leave only destruction behind.”
"I loved you the first moment I saw you, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you. That you were the center of everything I did and felt and thought.”
"She fell and spun and drowned in the kiss; his lips were soft and his body was hard against her, and he tasted like rain."
"We live and breathe words. It was books that kept me from taking my own life after I thought I could never love anyone, never be loved by anyone again. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them."
"And here he was standing in front of her, telling her he loved the words of her heart, the shape of her soul. Telling her something she had never imagined anyone would ever tell her."
"When two souls are as one, they stay together on the Wheel. I was born into this world to love you, and I will love you in the next life, and the one after that.”