More like 4 1/2 stars - really enjoyed this almost as much as the first book in the series. Although the two main characters from the first book are here, Emily and Dreadnought, it is (almost) entirely set in New York. We don't see the cross country travel adventures from the first book, but more of a character study. Emily is learning about her past, which is very fascinating, and Dreadnought is learning how to run an Institute. Emily is trying to navigate New York and magical society, even though it's not really her style. But there is mayhem and intrigue and mystery galore.
Some of the highlights for me were the characterizations of the main characters. Emily lost her hand in the last book, and guess what she still doesn't have it. She's unhappy about it, but she doesn't wallow in it. And she finds out things about Dreadnought that she has to decide if she can deal with or not. I found that very realistic. I also really loved the magic slates, although they could have been used more to head off problems.
Everyone has things that they don't like. The part that I actually did not get, was that she went off to Lost Pines to check on her Pap, after a vision that he was in trouble, and didn't bother to tell anyone! Really? And of course trouble happened.