After a great start in Clockwork Angel, I was really disappointed with this continuation of the tale of Tessa, Will, Jem, Charlotte and Henry. The world they inhabit has already been built but there seemed to be a great deal of rehashing of facts in this one. Mortmain is still on the loose, as is Tessa's brother Nate, but this seems to be pretty much a sub-plot to Tessa's romantic intentions to both Jem and Will. To be honest this book would have been half the length if we could have removed all the romantic asides and "listening" to Tessa's internal monologue about the two Shadowhunter boys. In my opinion that would have probably made it a better book as the whole thing just feels really uncomfortable.
The only reason this book managed to get 3 Stars from me was that when we get immersed in the world of the Nephilim or the Downworlders it comes alive on the page. From the Ifrit Dens of Whitechapel to an elaborate ball and the Silent City it all is so richly described you get sucked in to this fantastical re-imagining of London. Even better we finally get introduced to the Lightwoods (and we all know how Gabriel turns out!) during Benedict's attempt to wrestle The Institute from Charlotte and Henry's hands - this is quite an important introduction as they are major players in the Mortal Instruments series.
Beyond the walls of The Institute or when the Clave are in meeting nothing much really happens. They are supposedly searching for Mortmain but there seems to be no urgency about this at all. Jessamine and Nate both make little more than Cameo appearances (and it would be a major spoiler if I brought those up). A few of the automatons pop up from time to time but with no real sense of menace, until the end. Mortmain himself remains clinging to the shadows and it is all just a bit of a damp squib to be honest.
Maybe I was expecting too much of this after loving Clockwork Angel but I wanted more of the Steampunk Victorian Downworld and what I got was a far more simpering tale of romance and brotherly love.