Title: Clockwork Prince
Series: The Infernal Devices, #2
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Fantasy, urban fantasy
My rating: ★★★★
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
Once again I am blown away by how much Cassandra Clare’s story-telling and writing has improved since the third book in The Mortal Instruments series. I also feel the need to repeat this a lot, but keep in mind I am in my 30’s and this is my first time reading through the entire Shadowhunters series, so I was not in love with the first three books in The Mortal Instruments. I also read a lot of YA so that may also affect my overall judgment for these books.
But, seriously, The Infernal Devices are my favorite books by Cassandra Clare to date. First and foremost, I love the Victorian London setting. I am a sucker for all things Victorian, so just the setting alone scored major brownie points for me. And then once you introduce some snarky, smartass characters, strong women, and some steampunk vibes — I am all in.
Clockwork Prince picks up after Tessa’s world crumbles at the end of Clockwork Angel. She’s dealing with the aftermath of the battle with the Magister, her brother Nate’s betrayal, Will’s shitty-ass attitude (what even?), and oh, she might be a warlock? Tessa is just trying to find her place in this Shadowhunter world, but she’s going to have to do some digging to find out.
But what really sets apart this series for me is how character-driven it is. Sure, the romance plays a major role, but it just feels so tangible and relatable. And it’s not just the romantic relationships that stands out, but rather the love we find in friendships and found families. And that it is normal and relatable to love more than one person.
So that brings me to the elephant in the room: the love triangle. Y’all, I was living for this triangle, and I am not usually a fan of them. But this love triangle was done so well. I am worried it’s going to go into a predictable direction (ie: Tessa choosing Jem because she feels sorry he’s dying?)… so I am crossing my fingers it doesn’t come to that! And despite my hatred for how Will treated Tessa at the end of Clockwork Angel, it is so obvious she loves him more than Jem. So I don’t know… I just hope my Jem doesn’t get wronged, because my heart will break into a million pieces.
And speaking of Will, we got to finally see WHY he’s been acting like such a standoffish jerk, and wow — it really broke my heart. But I’m so glad the cat’s finally out of the bag and he can now be his true self — and profess his love to Tessa.
Aside from the romance, I am really looking forward to seeing the direction this story is going to go in the finale. I truly do not like Benedict Lightwood and I am anxious to see how Gideon and Gabriel Lightwood fit into the series. Also? WTF, Jessamine. I never liked her and this book solidified why. Nate can also KFO. 🙂
I know this isn’t quite a “review”… but more of me showering you with my random thoughts! This series has been out for a very long time but I’ve been having a blast slowly chipping my way through them so I can prepare myself for the release of Queen of Air and Darkness!
Buddy read with Melanie!