More like 2.5
I didn't like this as much as the first installment, but I think that can be attributed to either the time period/society rules or to the BLARINGLY obvious love triangle.
This installment seemed like it had every YA cliché possible. It had a shitty plot that was used to: have a masquerade with drinks that lower inhibitions, continue the stupid love triangle, expose Will's ridiculously stupid secret, and absolve the Branwells of any bad traits.
So Charlotte must prove that she can handle Mortmain in order to keep the institute, instead of yanno everyone banding together to beat the evil force? Nah, let's just leave it to a woman we're not even sure we trust to run an institute SOUNDS GOOD TO ME. I'm glad that there is a backstory of women's independence (even in the Shadowhunter world), but the way that the choosing played out almost made it seem like Charlotte didn't work to finish her task, but instead blackmailed Lightwood to retract the challenge in the first place.
and then there's Tessa. Once again, it felt like Clare used the time period just because it was convenient or proper that boys and girls get married young and don't have relations until they're married. Tessa is completely ignorant when it comes to love, but she seems to think she knows everything. She even seems to think that she loves Jem (I'm sure we all know how this triangle will play out). I like Tessa, and I like that she's not a full warrior woman and still has to deal with her ignorance, but I also don't like the way she handles Will or Jem or people in general.
Will's secret was the stupidest plot ever. I like that it made him vulnerable, and we really empathize with the person he was, but it's still just an excuse for him being an asshole and then claiming he's a totally different person. Clare got away with making a Jace and turning him into a guy that's actually nice and forgive-able. Because who wouldn't do exactly what he did and be horrible to people so that they don't love him believing that they would die??????????????? Yea, right.
It really felt like the most obvious fan-fic writing that Clare has come up with yet (and that's saying a lot). I just felt like I was rolling my eyes a bit too often. We'll see how the next one goes.