Written by: Cassandra Clare
Book #3 / 3 of The Infernal Devices series
Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars
Summary: A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray. Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.
As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?
Review: And that is it! I am officially caught up on all of Cassandra Clare’s books! And what a book to end on. Although I definitely didn’t follow the recommended order of reading whatsoever (The Infernal Devices -> The Mortal Instruments -> The Dark Artifices), and that definitely ruined some things for me, I am glad that I ended on Clockwork Princess. I already knew where the book was headed thanks to spoilers in TMI, but that didn’t mean I cried any less when it ended. Clare created such a beautiful ending for a story that was only going to end, at least partially, in tragedy. She tied up a lot of plot lines into nice little bows, which I greatly appreciate because I felt like some of it was previously very scattered, and gave everyone an ending that they could love. Win/win for everyone!
However, this book did not quite reach five stars for me more so due to small, personal annoyances I had with the book. First of all, I hate books where everyone just happens to find their soulmate within the same small group of people, a recurring theme for Clare’s stories. She pulled this off a little bit better in TMI, but it was incredibly forced in this series, what with Cecily Herondale just magically showing up to even out the masses. As much as I want to believe in love at first site and being destined for someone, I need a little more relationship development than what we got. Secondly, I love Will and Jem’s parbatai bond, but I am still very confused that the two of them are so casual about the fact that they love the same girl. It takes them a while to realize it, but when they do, they both do the self sacrificing bit, shoving Tessa toward the other and saying “No, you can have her” and I just want to shove in between them and stop it all. Their love triangle is definitely one of the weirder ones I’ve read. Additionally, I am furious that Will was not with Jem when he needed him, instead running after Tessa by himself which totally ends well (note sarcasm). Thirdly, the conclusion of their story with Mortmain seemed very quick, and kind of confusing in its convenience. Clare builds up the story so much that I thought it would come to some epic battle scene (it only kind of does), and a more complex reasoning behind it all and inventive resolution, but instead Clare conveniently gives Tessa an awesome power to get them out of the situation. I wish I could say I was surprised, but I simply wasn’t – and I had so expected to be.
That being said, there was so much about this book that I loved. Clare’s books are heavy with the dialogue, which I think actually helps her tell the story, as you are able to hear the character’s voices so heavily and imagine in your own mind what their facial expression/stances/movements/etc. are as they speak. I imagine the way I think Magnus and Henry look when creating the Portal (one of my favorite scenes), or the way I think Will looks riding furiously across the Welsh landscape, or the way I think Charlotte looks while reading letters from the Consul is wildly different than many other readers of the same book – and that’s a beauty onto its own. The way that she was able to connect this story in the 1800s to the books that take place in present day shows how creative and strategic Clare is with the way that she writes, two characteristics that I greatly respect and appreciate. Above all else, as I mentioned above, she creates an ending that I don’t think anybody could be truly upset over even if it was a little bit too happy. I won’t say anymore in fear of spoiling it, but all in all, I think Clare did a good job making sure everyone did get a happy ending without making it sound like she forced it too much.
Overall, I think Clare has learned how to create more lovable characters after TMI. The members of the London Institute, as I’ve said before, are some of my favorites: the maternal and badass Charlotte, the inventive and paternal Henry, the unwaveringly brave and intelligent Sophie, and even the two Lightwood brothers, Gideon and Gabriel, who are polar opposites of each other but show how strong family ties can be. Although there are definitely some characters that I didn’t particularly enjoy – specifically, Cecily Herondale, who I feel was only introduced to connect the Lightwood and Herondale families later on – the number is far less than that of TMI, and I really connected to a lot of the characters in TID. For example, one of my favorite characters in all of Clare’s book is Jem. He is, to me, the perfect Shadowhunter albeit his illness: loyal, kind, brilliant, righteous. While Will, his counterpart and to me an original dark-haired carbon copy of his ancestor, Jace, is also loyal and brilliant, Jem is the one that always caught my eye for his huge heart and his perfect sense of justice. Additionally, I always thought Clare showed definite preference for Will, but I’m less sure after reading the conclusion of this book; it is Jem who she decides to save, who she decides to focus on when she has the chance – and I loved every second of that. Even if you aren’t team Jem, there is still plenty of Will and Tessa for you to enjoy; as I said above, everybody gets the ending they want, including secondary characters, and that’s a masterful feat of Clare’s.
Ultimately, the only reason that it was not 5 / 5 was because it didn’t rock my world or change the literary game. I don’t know if it’s because I had already ruined some of the pieces of the ending by reading TMI first, but I found I wasn’t truly surprised or anything by the ending, nor did I think it was all that creative or revolutionary as an idea. However, I definitely think TID has become my favorite of Clare’s series thus far – although it is still a little too early to judge The Dark Artifices. The history nerd deep inside me still wishes she had gone a little bit deeper into the Shadowhunters’ effects on the historic Mundane world around them, but that’s okay. I’m personally just glad that Clare has improved on her character writing so much that I felt connected to most of the characters, and that she developed relationships and plots that reappear later in her books. I still think Clare is a masterful writer who has created a complex world, and I look forward to reading more about the Shadowhunter world. I’m curious for those of you who have read Clare’s work before – which series is your favorite? Leave a comment below!