by Cassandra Clare
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. 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.
For a book where the main threat is the Magister, there wasn’t really anything much to do with the Magister, mention of him or furthering of that plot until the very end when there was a little progress. The main drama and conclusion of the middle book of this series is who Tessa will choose to be with (Will or Jem) and if Charlotte will keep her position at the Institute as jealous, immature men and members of the Clave want her position for themselves. Every time a man doubted Charlotte’s ability to run the Institute I just wanted to burn them to the ground and hold her hand but Charlotte doesn’t need hand holding because she’s stronger and brighter than any of those imbeciles!
I understand that the Magister is fond of playing games (as shown in the first book when he tricked them all into thinking he was a friend before coming out as their foe) and he’s using people in the Clave and even the Institute to do his bidding but I think there needs to be more mention of him so that he remains essential to the plot and overall story instead of just at the end of the third being like, “Here I am come and get me now.” and having it all wrapped up without any great build-up to the climatic scene. Although I am writing this review after I’ve already started Clockwork Princess and it looks like it’s going that way so far because we’re still talking about Tessa/Jem/Will.
It’s incredibly common to have a love triangle in a young adult novel but for some reason, this one just seems really strange and forced to me. In my opinion, there’s a right choice and then the attractive choice that is dangerous, infuriating and alluring. I’m not sure how I would have felt about Jem and Will if I didn’t already have a little information on where it’s going because of the books set in the present day but mostly I base my decision around their actions in this series and I’m firmly planted on Jem’s side. I think he’s such a brave, selfless and good person and someone like that deserves true and loyal love like the kind that he possesses for his adoptive family at the Institute and Tessa.
By now we all know why Will was so cruel to everyone around him and Tessa but even if the reasoning was good I just don’t care about him anymore because it’s so tiring to go back and forth. Tessa and Will had some intense moments in this book so I do understand why she could love him as well. If I’m being critical here about Tessa I wonder sometimes why she’s leaning towards Jem when she feels this way about Will? I’m just hoping it’s not out of pity for Jem’s situation because it’s not fair to Jem if Tessa is settling for him while still holding a candle for Will or just holding onto him while he’s alive and hoping she can move on with Will after to get the best of both options.
Charlotte and Henry also had some amazing development in this book and I’m so happy for them because they’re both such sweet, kind people who deserve happiness with each other. At least that’s one pairing you can rely on to be endgame in this world. I’m happy there seems to be something good happening for Sophie too and thoroughly pleased that Jessamine got what was coming for her. I know I seem like I’m complaining a lot and I don’t mean to sound like I hated it because clearly my four star rating means I enjoyed myself but I also just wanted to discuss about things I was missing out on and my opinions of the biggest love triangle in Shadowhunter history! All I hope for in the final book is a really well thought out climax between the Shadowhunters and the magister and details about what happens after the book ends in the form of an epilogue set a few years after.
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– Kirra // Goodreads