Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Historical Fiction
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?
Final Rating: ★★★★★
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Let me begin by saying: do NOT, at any cost, read ‘City of Heavenly Fire’ before reading this installment. You may or may not have heard this but CoHF has major spoilers for the Infernal Devices trilogy, and the experience will be so much better if you do what I did and read the books in order of publication. Trust me, you will not regret it; it means so much more this way.
Clockwork Princess was the absolute perfect end to a wonderful trilogy. I could point out very few, very minor flaws in this installment because Clare did such a fantastic job of wrapping up all the loose ends, of doing justice to all the beautiful characters we encountered. The result was a strong, cohesive book with a fast-paced, gripping plot with heartbreakingly beautiful relationships. You will laugh throughout, but you’ll also shed some tears along the way, and the ending leaves you with a sad but sweet taste in your mouth. This was perhaps one of my favorite trilogy ends I’ve ever read (not my ABSOLUTE favorite cuz have you read the Chaos Walking trilogy – I mean c’mon), and I very rarely re-read series, but I see myself picking it up again in the future to revisit the world and the characters I grew so fond of.
If you haven’t read books 1-2, I suggest you stop reading right here.
Tessa and Jem are engaged to be married, but the problem of Mortmain is looming on the horizon. His clockwork devices are wrecking havoc all Britain and the Consul refuses to take Charlotte Branwell’s advice and warnings seriously, making things more difficult. Jem’s condition is on the decline, and Will and Tessa would do anything to keep him with them a little longer while all their lives hang by a thread.
The Infernal Devices, as a whole, has always been more character-driven than plot in my eyes. Clockwork Princess was similar for me, but Clare puts her characters in positions where they are forced to leave their comfort and home behind. We see some new settings in this installment, which was very refreshing. Jem’s decline also provided an interesting situation and watching all the characters deal with his sickness and his choices regarding it was simultaneously delightful and heartbreaking.
Clockwork Prince had a lot of romance, as well as Clockwork Angel. While the former focused on Jem more so than Will and the latter on Will, Clockwork Princess finds a common ground between both as Will is forced to deal with Tessa and his parabatai’s obvious connection. Watching him trying to get over Tessa while being happy for Jem was interesting. Usually, I despise love triangles, but the love triangle in this series is so well done that you come to care for both boys, which is why the ending was so bittersweet. You don’t want either of them to be hurt; but how do you please them both? Clare dealt with this in a unique way that’s bound to please both sides while also disappointing both, to some extent. Brave move.
I think this series has such great character development. We see them go through profound changes, yet these changes are gradual and completely believable. Clare builds up relationships from scratch and they unravel before our very eyes, and by the end, it seems like you’ve lost a part of yourself, a friend who you came to care for so much that it hurts to lose them. Very few books make me feel that way, and this was one of them.
Tessa is a fantastic protagonist. She’s strong-willed and kind, and she’s not impulsive like a lot of other YA protagonists. She’s very calculative; she has great restraint in situations, and this may be an instigator of angst, but it works so well with the setting and the atmosphere of these books. Of course, like any great character, Tessa has flaws- she keeps secrets she probably shouldn’t keep, but I’ve always said this- flaws make characters real. Tessa felt real for me. I usually dislike girls who split their love between two boys, but I did not feel that way about Tessa; she was pure-hearted and kind through and through.
James Carstairs grew on me; I don’t know when it happened but it did. I wasn’t too big on him in the first book because the quiet, inherently good guy just doesn’t appeal to me as a character – sure, as a person, yes, but not as a character. Like I said, I don’t know when it happened, but I grew to absolutely love Jem’s character. His illness is a huge part of him, but Clare made him so much more than just his addiction. He’s charming and caring and good. His all-consuming love for Tessa becomes so much more prominent in this installment and you are forced to see him as a best friend, as a love interest that you can’t help but feel his pain.
Will Herondale. I’m sure you’ve heard his name around, even if you haven’t read a Cassandra Clare book. Will is an intriguing character. In Clockwork Prince, we learned that the curse Will thought he had turned out to be fake. In his joy, Will was about to profess his undying love and devotion to Tessa when he found that she was engaged to Jem. Watching him struggle to come to terms with the engagement, to sacrifice his own happiness for that of his parabatai and the girl he loves- it hurt me, but it made me love him as a character so much. I admired his ability to smile and be humorous even though he was going through emotional turmoil. His relationship with Jem literally brought me to tears in some scenes. Their bond transcends all human limits and boundaries; they are more than friends, more than brothers and the way Cassandra Clare brought their relationship to live through WORDS was astonishing. Hats off to her, because for once, I don’t think a picture could have done justice to Clare’s thousand words.
I want a parabatai.