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Oh my god, this book was AMAZING!!!! Yup, broke out the four exclamation points and everything. I was GAlued to this book every moment I could get back to my Nook. I mean it, this is a seriously addictive book. I love it even more than I loved City of Bones. I was utterly sucked in by this story, the interactions between the characters, the historical aspect, and the purely amazingly awesome action. This whole book shines, I can almost see my nook glowing xD. The story was fabulous. I loved reading Tessa's journey of finding her brother, figuring out who/what she is, and all of the delicious drama going on in the London Institute. The tension could have been cut with a knife. I couldn't wait to find everything out. Admittedly, I did figure out who the villain was early on, but for a while I thought it just might be someone else, and for that, I applaud Ms. Clare. I wanted to know more and more about the London Institute, and everyone who inhabited it.
Speaking of characters, there's Tessa, our protagonist. She was excellent. I loved watching her journey, hoping for her to overcome her demons and struggles in order to find happiness. I felt for her, I loved her fiery attitude, and how she wanted to help, despite the social conventions. I loved her relationships with the two main love interests, Will and Jem (although Jem isn't necessarily a love interest yet, at least it didn't seem that way to me) Tessa and Will's relationship was fantastic, I loved reading their awesomely wonderful banter. I could survive off of their banter for at least a week and a half, it was that awesome. I could literally see them falling in love, and I was rooting for them all the way. Will as a character was fascinating. I loved him, yet at times I hated him and wanted to shake him for how he treated everyone around him. His dual nature was infuriating, and yet I still love him as a love interest for Tessa. Jem, the second love interest, I utterly adore. While I'm more fascinated by Will, I just love/adore Jem. He was so damn sweet! I feel like the only way to describe my feelings about Jem is to say I love him I love him I love him on repeat, being that's all I can think of right now while trying to describe my feelings towards Jem. He's so sweet, understanding, and endearing. I also feel for him due to his past, which broke my heart. Even though I love both characters, I think I'm leaning towards Team Jem. Love you Jem!!! Jessamine was also fascinating. All she wanted was to fit the conventional Victorian woman, married, demure and dainty. Yet despite all that, she is also a Shadowhunter, capable of as much violence as her male counterparts. As a person, I hated her, although she had her (very brief) moments. I loved reading about the pull in her between being a perfect dainty lady, with being a good Shadowhunter. I also adored Charlotte, and by extension Henry. They were just wonderful, and I loved their relationship, as well as how much they cared about everyone in the house. The villain scared the living hell out of me, as did the Dark Sisters. I mean holy shit (pardon), I literally shivered every single time either the Dark Sisters or the Magister spoke. I actually just shivered. How calm they were about it all was unsettling as all get out.
Dayum Ms. Clare, you are kick-ass. I was a bit shaky on your writing with COB, but you have made me fall in deep love with your writing. I love love love your steampunk world, and how you built it up. I also loved all of the winks to TMI. You could see all of the interconnections forming, having various aha! moments when recognizing something from TMI. Like I said in my review of City of Bones, I'm not always too keen on 3rd person omniscient POV, but Ms. Clare made it so enjoyable, I barely noticed.
In my opinion, this series is so far is definitely better than The Mortal Instruments, so much so that I've already acquired Clockwork Prince and can not wait to read it :)