Book Series Review: The Infernal Devises

Alyssa White, Staff Writer

Cassandra Clare is a world renowned author best known for her series, The Shadowhunter Chronicles, which consists of; The Infernal Devises, The Last Hours (book one soon to be released), The Mortal Instruments, The Dark Artifices, and The Wicked Powers (release dates soon to be released).


Cassandra Clare first began writing The Mortal Instruments and after the third book, she began composing The Infernal Devises, a prequel series which takes place in the Victorian Era in London, England.

Characters from the Shadowhunter Chronicles

In summary: Tessa Gray, 16-year-old from New York, travels to London to join her brother as he gained a new job offer after their aunt died. Upon arrival, Tessa finds herself kidnapped and in the hands of powerful warlocks, The Dark Sisters. They physically abuse her as they train her to utilize the gift she didn’t know she had, she can Change, meaning she can transform herself into anyone. She can look, sound, and act like them, all with a simple Change. This why she is so valuable to The Dark Sisters, but even more so, to the Magister. A ruthless man who plans to use Tessa’s gift to take down the race of Shadowhunters using his ‘Infernal Devises’, metal creatures constructed to look like humans that will ruthlessly obliterate any Shadowhunter that comes across its path.

Shadowhunters are a fearless and ferocious group of demon-killers that wear Runes or Marks on their skin, similar to tattoos to help them in battle. Some Runes commonly used include; Iratze (healing), Angelic Power, Soundless, Stealth, Stamina, Equilibrium, and many more. The Shadowhunters: ‘Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234’ as Cassandra Clare states.

Main Characters: Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs, Tessa Gray

Beautiful blue-eyed Shadowhunter, Will Herondale, swoops in to save Tessa Gray as she is held captive in the hands of The Dark Sisters and the Magister. Tessa is then taken to the London Institute, where the rest of the Shadowhunters live. There, she meets; Charlotte and Henry Branwell, heads of the Institute, James (Jem) Carstairs, Sophie Collins (the house maid), and Jessamine Lovelace. Together they discover that the face behind the Magister is a wealthy businessman, Mortmain, who also has Tessa’s brother, Nate, in captivity. The group then try to track down Mortmain, eradicate him, and rescue Nate.

Olivia Nissen

After Nate is in the safe hands of Shadowhunters, he quickly betrays them to Mortmain. All that time, Nate was secretly working with the enemy where he planned to turn his sister over to Mortmain simply to make money.The Shadowhunters battle Mortmain’s creations, the Infernal Devises, and Nate dies in the midst of battle, while Mortmain remains fully alive and in hiding. Working together, the group of Shadowhunters from the London Institute finally manage to track down Mortmain’s whereabouts where a final battle takes place and Mortmain is diminished, the threat to the whole Shadowhunter race is then eradicated.

I asked Olivia Nissen about her thoughts on the series and she responded saying,

As a whole, this series is one of the best I have ever read. There is a perfect balance between action, sorrow, tension, heartache, and overwhelming love all present in the story. The love triangle between characters; Tessa Gray, Will Herondale, and Jem Carstairs is so beautifully written, I often times felt myself so overwhelmed with emotion regarding the tension between characters I felt I couldn’t breathe. Other characters such as Charlotte Branwell and Sophie Collins demonstrate immense female strength and feminine power, which encourages female readers to be strong and encourages male readers to acknowledge female strength. These characters will remain with me forever, for they have taught me so many lessons: love, forgiveness, trust, courage, and sacrifice.