Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare
DESCRIPTION: “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.”
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1ST edition (December 6, 2011)
RATING 3–STARS A GOOD READ
Clockwork Prince is the second book in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. The story takes place in London, England in the mid 1800’s. There were many elements that drew me to this series. I enjoy historical fiction and it’s not a dominant theme in YA. Tying the two together gives the reader a faster HF read, since YA typically moves at a faster pace than adult novels. I’ll get more to the pacing later. I enjoy paranormal, and really like books that cross the paranormal worlds and smash them together. This was that kind of book.
The characters grew in Clockwork Prince. Tessa, Jem, and Will are all growing and changing. Tessa is becoming more sure of herself, even though she isn’t sure what she is. I wish there wasn’t a love triangle, but there is. The triangle doesn’t seem forced, but I think it portrays Tessa as a weaker character. I like reading about Jem and Will. They are both opposites, but that plays off of them nicely. It makes them seem real, which is awesome. And Will is such a hot mess, who couldn’t love him?
Tessa is the main character, and she doesn’t know what type of creature she is. As the novel progresses, she gets more clues as to her heritage, while becoming more bold as the plot unfolds. The Institute is under attack, and another Shadowhunter is trying to take it from Charlotte. The world itself it beautifully woven together. There are demons, ghosts, vampires, nephilim, and more mythical creatures that live together under the noses of the human population.
The steampunk thread that runs through these books is also interesting and well done. It doesn’t feel out of place or shoved in there. The mechanisms are an integral part of the story-line. In short, this makes the series a prime candidate as a paranormal smorgasbord of all-time favorite creatures with mass appeal. I should have loved it. I really, really wanted to…
But, there was a major flaw with the pacing of this book (and the previous book). I felt bipolar while I was reading it. Some days I loved it, and others I hated it. I finally figured out why. The pacing throughout this novel was erratic. It felt like the story was stuck in second gear. The book progressed that way through both novels, without a serious climax. Don’t get me wrong – the book did climax a little bit, but for the size of this 500+ page book, and the depth of the story, well the climax fell short. Then the story for the third book started. I don’t have issues with that. It creates cliffhangers and I love cliffhanger endings. It’s just that the characters and the world were so awesome, but the story itself seemed lackluster in comparison, which was disappointing.
The other issue that pulled this down to three stars was the fact-checking. There were three oopsie facts, back to back toward the end of the book. One sentence was a string of words that should have described a gown, but meant nothing. They strung together words that were meant to sound technical, but they were the wrong words. The sentences immediately following were about cameras with incorrect period info. It may not bother other people, but having several issues in a row jerked me out of the story.
This book is recommended for YA Paranormal readers, historical fiction fans, and Cassandra Clare fans. Younger readers should be aware that this novel has a graphic scene about war spoils that some may find upsetting.
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