May 13, 2013

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

So I devoured the first two books in this Infernal Devices trilogy. There's something so compelling about them that it's absolutely impossible for me to put them down without reading them straight through. And this last book held that same allure for me, although it had a few hiccoughs.

If you haven't read the first two books in the series this probably isn't going to be a good book (or review) for you to start. They are meant to be read in order. And a lot happens in those first two books. The establishment of Mortimer and his clockwork robots as bad guys, the love connection between Tessa, Will and Jem, and the appearance of Will's sister at the Institute where the Shadowhunters live. This book takes up after that with Jem and Tessa planning for their wedding, despite him being sick and not having much time left. When Tessa is kidnapped by Mortimer, it escalates things, particularly as the Consul is not willing to help in her rescue and it is up to the few members of the London Institute to save the world and Tessa.

Tessa is usually an endearing character. And I'm not saying she isn't in this book, but I do believe she had a couple of out of character moments that were used to drive the plot where Clare wanted it to go. Particularly, she receives some awful news and then does something that almost smacks of betrayal to someone she loves (and that is as non-specific as I can get so I don't give away spoilers). Will has emotions that are always all over the place and I've never been a big fan of his. I know broody and moody is a huge draw for some women, but having lived with that I can definitely say that I am no longer attracted to the type. I really didn't see what Tessa saw in him. Jem, in contrast, is fabulous. Probably my favorite character of the book. He is always so kind and sacrificing and would do anything for anybody. There are of course a lot of side characters and they all have their place in the story (although a couple of the romantic pairings were extraneous and detracted from the plot).

It actually took me a little bit to get hooked into this book. I think partially it was because it had been awhile since I read the first two (and didn't re-read before diving into this one). But once I was hooked there was no getting out. I had to know what happened and there was enough adventure and unanswered questions that it was exciting the whole way through. I really think that Clare does a good job on her battle scenes and while they are descriptive, they aren't overly long and that moves the plot at a good pace. A comment on the epilogue, I actually enjoyed it and thought it contained some beautiful writing. I may have even shed a tear or two. Over a young adult novel. What is the world coming to? But in all seriousness, I think it showed some real human emotion and that we don't always control our hearts or what we do with them, and that love, in real life, can be fickle. Most of the writing in the rest of the book is good too, although sometimes the way they talk can feel a bit contrived, but it is supposed to be Victorian England so that accounts for a bit of it. I do have to mention that there is a sex scene in this book. It isn't descriptive, but it basically says "hey, these characters are going to go have sex." I was considering giving the series to a pre-teen for her birthday and haven't yet decided if the scene is tame enough to continue to do so (I particularly don't think it will hurt anything, but then again, I'm not a parent). Regardless, I figured potential readers of this young adult series should be warned about it.

I was sad to see the series end but wasn't disappointed. I may have to check out her other series (the one that started it all) and see what I think of Clare's world in the modern times.

PS: This book (and all the others in this series) has beautiful cover art. Truly one of the reasons I don't want to give up physical books.

Clockwork Princess
Copyright 2013
568 pages

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