Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters in the magical underworld of Victorian London. But that safety proves to be fleeting when the Clave plot rogue forces to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be on the s... treet—and will be easy prey to the mysterious Magister who wants to use the powers of Tessa for his own dark ends.
Tessa discovers, with the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is profoundly personal. He blames them for a long-overdue tragedy that broke his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio travels from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from London's slums to an enchanting ballroom where Tessa discovers that her parenthood's truth is more sinister than she imagined. When they come across a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that they have been betrayed by one of his own.
Tessa finds her heart increasingly drawn to Jem, but her longing for Will continues to unsettle her despite her dark moods. In Will, however, something is changing—the wall he built around himself is crumbling. Could the Magister find his secrets freewill 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 puts friends in peril, Tessa learns that even the purest heart can be corrupted when love and lies are mixed.
They’re not hideous, said Tessa. Will blinked at her. What? Gideon and Gabriel, said Tessa. They’re really quite good-looking, not hideous at all. I spoke, said Will, in sepulchral tones, of the pitch-black inner depths of their souls. Tessa snorted. And what color do you suppose the inner depths of your soul are, Will Herondale? Mauve, said Will.
Will’s voice dropped. Everyone makes mistakes, Jem. Yes, said Jem. You just make more of them than most people. I — You hurt everyone, said Jem. Everyone whose life you touch. Not you, Will whispered. I hurt everyone but you. I never meant to hurt you. Jem put his hands up, pressing his palms against his eyes. Will — You can’t never forgive me, Will said in disbelief, hearing the panic tinging his own voice. I’d be — Alone? Jem lowered his hand, but he was smiling now, crookedly. And whose fault is that?
Say something in Mandarin, said Tessa, with a smile. Jem said something that sounded like a lot of breathy vowels and consonants run together, his voice rising and falling melodically: Ni hen piao liang. What did you say? Tessa was curious. I said your hair is coming undone — here, he said, and reached out and tucked an escaping curl back behind her ear. Tessa felt the blood spill hot up into her face, and was glad for the dimness of the carriage. You have to be careful with it, he said, taking his hand back, slowly, his fingers lingering against her cheek.