Book Reviews

[review] Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare


Release Date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 497
Format: Hardcover
Source: ARC from publisher

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, though 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.

Discovery: Receiving this ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada was the catalyst that made me start The Infernal Devices.

+     Jem. This is, bar none, Jem Carstair’s story. His amiable and kind nature permeate every page, which is part of the reason why I loved this book. Out of all the characters in Cassandra Clare’s novels, it’s Jem that enchanted me from the first page and Jem who will keep me reading this series. I don’t really subscribe to the school of Tortured-Bad-Boys-Are-Better, so I appreciate characters like him all the more. Some may argue that Jem has his own baggage and rightly so. But does he let that ruin all his prospects for happiness? No, and that’s why I respect him.

Cassandra Clare’s writing takes on a different tone when it’s focused on Jem. The mood of the story changes, becomes less dark and urgent, as the reader learns to understand Jem. More and more, he becomes a steady flame for Tessa and the rest of the Institute to light their way, but that comparison also makes me wonder if it’s a set-up for his–say it ain’t so!–death in a later book.

+/-  Plot. Holy plot developments, Batman! Clockwork Prince moves at a faster clip than Angel, and the twists come one after another. Thankfully, none of those twists involve familial relations between certain love interests. The dangers that Tessa must face feel more tangible and there were definitely moments where I found myself worrying about their fates. One thing I mentioned in my review of Clockwork Angel was its unsettling similarities to fanfiction, and I’m happy to say that that wasn’t a problem in Prince. I see a lot of speculation in store for many readers, especially because of that sucker-punch of a final chapter.

+/-      Love triangles. I knew going into this series that there was going to be a love triangle. Barring my own frustration with that ever-more-popular trope, I have taken to viewing the Will-Tessa-Jem relationships in a new light. And unfortunately for my shipping heart, things are not going to end well.

It’s no secret that I dislike Will. But I do think that Tessa is going to pick him in the end. Clockwork Prince may be Jem’s book, but all signs point to Tessa choosing to throw caution and reason to the wind for Will. They deserve each other. I’m not saying that in any negative way, but simply as a statement of fact. There is something in Will and Tessa that calls out to each other and I don’t think that either of them can resist it. Many of the events in Prince reference that draw, and set up a final installment which cannot have a perfectly happy ending. I haven’t quite decided how I feel about this, and I probably won’t know for sure until after Clockwork Princess is released next year. The development of this relationship is written in an interesting way, but it is going to break my heart.

Recommendations: This second installment of The Infernal Devices will please old and new fans alike, with a scrappy humour and romance that readers will revel in for weeks after reading.

Rating: Very good.

Go visit Cassandra Clare at her website and follow her on Twitter @cassieclare.

You can check out Clockwork Prince on Goodreads and pre-order it over on Amazon and Book Depository.

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