This is my second read through of this book and it must be a good 7 or 8 years since the first time. I have long been saying that the Infernal Devices are a way better series than the Mortal Instruments and once got in to a long and protracted discussion about this with a 50+ member of staff in a chain bookstore - much to the other half's embarrassment. Hey, a good story is a good story and it doesn't matter what age group it is "aimed" at. Anywho, the upshot of that sad little digression is that this was just as good as I remembered it being.
The set up is very slow and we get introduced to Tessa, Nate and the Dark Sisters through a protracted build up that does get a little tedious. Even when we first move to The Institute things are slow to unfold as the author takes pains to properly introduce Jem, Will, Charlotte, Henry and Jessamine. Honestly the first 70 pages or so I had to force myself to keep reading. There is a pay off though as suddenly the Steampunkesque fantasy world kicks in to high gear and things REALLY start to happen.
With vampires, warlocks and other downworlders to contend with, and the odd demon thrown in for good measure you can empathise completely with Tessa's bewilderment at this strange parallel world she is a part of. Add a big dollop of automaton warriors and things go from bad to worse in short order. Indeed you start getting a little breathless as you page turn as fast as you can to find out what happens next and a LOT happens. The world of the Nephilim is well constructed and accessible (even if you haven't read the Mortal Instruments books), really it is the world building that makes this so enjoyable a tale. The characters are strong but, for me, it is the world that is truly immersive.
Luckily I have books 2 and 3 three already on my shelf waiting to be read and I am looking forward to getting the chance to slot them in to my rather large "To Be Read" pile.