Release Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.
Tessa Gray should be happy – aren't all brides happy? Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shaodwhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her. (courtesy of Goodreads.)
I cursed myself for years for not reading The Infernal Devices series despite the fact that the first two books were sitting on my shelf. It turns out that my procrastination worked in my favor. I was able to read Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess all in a row. And I think we can all agree that that makes a series much more powerful.
I fell in love with The Infernal Devices with the second book, Clockwork Prince. Clockwork Princess increased my love for the series and also touched me in a way that no other Cassandra Clare book has. I just re-read the Epilogue before starting this review and cried all over again.
There's so much going on in Clockwork Princess. Off the top of my head, I can think of about eight subplots and I think there are actually more than that. The story switches rapidly between each plot arc and between different characters' points of view. This would have (and was) been confusing in the first book of a series, but now I'm sufficiently familiar with the characters and the overarching story that it's a welcome writing technique. I love getting to know every facet of a paranormal world and seeing the story through the eyes of different characters. This is one area where Cassandra surpasses the Harry Potter books which could have been a much richer series if we had seen beyond Harry's eyes (not that I'm knocking my favorite books of all time).
With all that's going on, you'd think the pacing in Clockwork Princess is very quick. And it is. If there's a story line that you don't like, it will be over soon. Yet at the same time, the book floundered in the middle. While all of it was interesting, there was a good 50-100 pages where I impatiently wondered when anything was actually going to happen.
I continue to love both Will and Jem. The love triangle is a huge part of The Infernal Devices. And I think it will please even those who despise love triangles. Because it's different. In a typical love triangle, the girl loves one guy more. The third angle is hopelessly in love with a girl who will never end up with him. And the two guys are willing to kill each other out of jealousy. Not the case here. Tessa loves Jem and Will equally. It's as Magnus says, "Most people are lucky to have even one great love in their life. You have found two."
Tessa's love for both boys doesn't feel weird or creepy. It's sweet and understandable, given the characters' differences. And Will and Jem aren't at each other's throats in a jealous rage. They are parabatai - best friends, partners, two parts of one soul. As much as each character loves Tessa, they also would be happy if Tessa was with the other person because the two boys care for each other that much. It's a very odd dichotomy that feels beautiful and fresh.
The epic battle against Mortmain as well as the battle for Charlotte to maintain power over the Institute forms the basis of the plot. But that's not what I'll remember about this story or this series. I remember the epic love between Tessa, Jem, and Will as well as the love between the smaller characters. Cassandra has done an incredible job at creating three dimensional characters...not just two or three people but more than ten. This is much more of a character driven series than it is an action series.
My favorite part of Clockwork Princess was the Epilogue. I've heard some people didn't like it, but to me, it was perfection. That's the part of the book that I will read over and over again. It pulled the whole story together in a manner that was both satisfying and logical in the framework of the Shadowhunter world. The Epilogue made the series for me.
Clockwork Princess and the whole Infernal Devices series show how much Cassandra has grown since City of Bones. Not that City of Bones was a poorly written book - I loved it - but Clockwork Princess shows how Cassandra is capable of putting together a compelling story with a multitude of richly described, unforgettable characters. It makes me wonder what the early Mortal Instruments books could be like if she re-wrote them with her current writing skills. I simply cannot recommend Clockwork Princess and the entire Infernal Devices series highly enough.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
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