Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Pages: 570 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Overall Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★
Synopsis: 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?
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.
*THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS, THERE ARE SOME REALLY LIGHT ONES IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS AND THEN A NEW WARNING FOR SOME REALLY BIG ONES. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SPOIL YOURSELF, THREAD CAREFULLY AND MAKE A FULL STOP AT MY NEXT WARNING.*
This series broke me. No kidding.
The Infernal Devices has been a series that has delighted me since the first page of the first book. It is so cleverly written, so thoroughly planned and brilliantly executed. As I dove deeper into the plot, I was scared it would go awry at some point and lose its magic; perhaps the second installment would not be as compelling, perhaps the last one would be anti-climactic… But oh, no. With each book, Cassandra Clare outdid herself and Clockwork Princess certainly cemented my love and respect for her writing, character development and world building.
It was the perfect balance of plot twists and foreshadowing, of drama and laughter, of heartbreak and giddiness. I admit that some parts were predictable and that the “final battle” was somehow flat, but somehow, despite that the book works wonderfully. I came to realize it after I had finished reading it and was going through the book events in my head, processing them. Yes, the final battle lasted all but two seconds and was resolved easily but to me it was more about the strength of the protagonists and them finding this strength than it was about defeating the Bad Guy™. I also loved that this final installment featured secondary characters’ perspective a little more than the two others, for it helped solidify their personalities and make them relatable, frustrating and endearing all the same. Gabriel Lightwood won my heart ten times over.
As for memorable quotes and scenes, this book had so many that I practically used a whole packet of stick notes to highlight my favorite moments. I loved that, despite all the drama and tension going on as the climax of the series approached, there were some light moments that felt natural and were a welcomed pause from the craziness. Will Herondale remained his infuriatingly precious self and Jem Carstairs gave some speeches that left me goosebumps. Tessa Gray remained a true badass and what I imagine all heroines should strive to be. And now, for the ending and the infamous Epilogue…
*THIS IS MY SECOND WARNING. FROM HERE ON OUT, THERE WILL BE SOME BIG SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING OF THE INFERNAL DEVICES. PLEASE STOP READING HERE IF YOU WISH TO READ THEM UNSPOILED.*
As is common knowledge now, I think, this is no average love triangle. There are no “Teams”. There is really no point in engaging in the ever tiring fight of “Will/Jem was better.” They both were. And they both respected each other for it and were willing to step aside for the other’s happiness. It is such a pure relationship that nothing and no one would ever be able to taint it.
I’ve been thinking that perhaps because I read them several years after their publication, I don’t really know what is a popular or unpopular opinion regarding the love triangle and the way it was handled so I am going to go my own way and say what I think could be the case. I feel like, since popular media is always pitching boys over a girl and girls over a guy, it might have caused some shock to encounter such a tangled web of love and understanding. I am positive there were people that were dissatisfied with its handling and thought it to be too poor a way to end it or just lazy. But I loved it so much because it taught–what I believe are– a couple of important lessons.
Number one: A strong bond doesn’t break over anything and such bonds can be stronger than anything else.
Jem and Will repeatedly state that they are the same person, the same soul. How could one be jealous of his own self, of his reflection in the mirror? They knew that no other person would love Tessa as much as they did, each in his own way, and have Tessa love them both just as much but differently. They, above all else, wished for the other’s happiness and respected the other’s wishes, as well as Tessa’s.
Their bond went well above the normal friendship, the normal love. They were connected in a way that only true soulmates are. No family or blood bond would ever come to be as strong as theirs and I am so happy Cassandra Clare made that clear. It would have been completely devastating if such a friendship could be torn apart by the sudden arrival of a girl, no matter how wonderful or worthy she could be. It teaches us that there are bonds that are sacred and that, if we are lucky enough to have such a bond in our lives, we must fight hard to protect it and never let it go, and certainly never lose it over simple or unimportant things.
Number two: One type of love is no better or stronger than another.
This is the most important lesson of all! I’ve got to be honest and say that if I had read this book, nay, this series when I was younger, I would have been with the crowd I described above or would’ve just felt that Will and Tessa’s love was “stronger.” Thankfully, the years have made me, if not wiser, at least less stupid. Now, I can appreciate the beauty of Will and Jem and Tessa and their love for each other. I can appreciate that burning, all-consuming love is just as strong, just as wonderful and beautiful as the quiet, understanding love. Will was the first for a young Tessa and it was what they both needed whilst discovering life together. Jem was the second for older Tessa, and it was what they both needed whilst recovering from great losses and letting their frail hearts be happy again. Neither is better than the other. It’s just a matter of what is needed, what is given and what is offered. And that is absolutely perfect.
What did you think of this series? What were your favorite moments/scenes/quotes?