The Infernal Devices Will Never Stop Coming
Clockwork Princess: Cassandra Clare
Review by Jacquelyn Phillips
“Our hearts, they need a mirror, Tessa. We see our better selves in the eyes of those who love us. And there is a beauty that brevity alone provides.” He dropped his gaze, then raised it to hers. “I would give you everything of myself,” he said. “I would give you more in two weeks than most men would give you in a lifetime.”
There is just something about Cassandra Clare’s writing that draws you in—maybe it’s her vivid setting descriptions, maybe it’s her engaging dialog, or maybe it’s the beautiful characters that saturate the pages—and leaves you craving more. The third book in The Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Princess, continues to flaunt Clare’s talent and imagination. However, for the first time since I entered into the world of the Shadowhunters, I found myself disappointed by the end of the book.
Once I discovered that the third book would not be available in paperback until November of 2014, I caved in and purchased the hardback despite the rest of my paperback collection. The day it arrived in my mailbox, I ripped open the cardboard box and hugged the book to my chest; it felt like Christmas in April. I tore through the pages, quickly absorbing the fresh plot elements, the tension between three lovers, and the YA appropriate violence between the Shadowhunters and Mortmain’s automaton army.
This is the book where the secret of Tessa’s birth would finally be revealed, where an explanation for Mortmain’s obsession with her would come forth, where the relationship between Tessa Gray, William Herondale, and James (Jem) Carstairs would come unraveled, and the reader would finally see if the automaton army completely destroys the Shadowhunter race.
Yes, the book covered all these topics, but in a very unfulfilling manner.
While my heart twisted, my stomach churned, and my hands shook; I invested all of my emotional energy into the events that took place in London of 1873. There I happily remained, eagerly anticipating a full out brawl between the demon automatons and the Shadowhunters. That is until around page 450, where the climax of the book (the war and the revealing of Mortmain’s army) fell as flat as a pancake. The rising action had great potential. With just the right amount of drama and tension, it hooked the reader in waiting for the ultimate showdown. Instead of pursuing pages of blood, death and difficult themes, Clare took the easy way out, in my opinion,.
The war never happened—she cut to the next scene as soon as an automaton—a dangerous robot with weapons for arms and a demon spirit inside that brings it to life—unleashed one of its spiked weapons onto the Consul of the Shadowhunters during a Council meeting. Then, where the climax of the book should have occurred, Clare gives us a mishmash of scenes, ending the much anticipated war without putting up a real fight. When the readers and the Shadowhunters arrive back in the safety of the London Institute, there is a sentence or two describing what happened in the Council meeting with the automatons and the Shadowhunters, while the residents of the Institute rallied against Mortmain in his hidden lair in Wales.
From that point forward, Clare attempts to tie up any loose ends that remain between Tessa, Will, and Jem. I’m cynical about happy endings, and this neatly tied bow of a conclusion left me seriously disappointed. What threw me off the most was Clare’s clichéd and corny ending—it didn’t match the rest of the text in the book. I could see why she took the opportunity to “make everyone happy” as the book came to a close, but it was the dullest writing I’ve yet to encounter in one of Cassandra Clare’s novels. I would still recommend this book to my friends and family, but it was not the type of ending I was expecting.
It wasn’t my favorite book of the series, but I’m still excited to begin The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones—I’m not quite ready to let go of the hope that I have Shadowhunter blood running through my veins, therefore explaining my obsession with this alternate world.
Born in Teheran, Iran, Cassandra Clare travelled to multiple countries and beautiful landscapes with her parents including France, England, Switzerland and the Himalayas. She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she wrote her first novel, The Beautiful Cassandra, which she used to entertain her friends. After college, Cassandra lived in Los Angeles and New York. There, she worked for many entertainment magazines and tabloids. She began her first YA novel, City of Bones, in 2004, which was originally inspired by the uniqueness and chaos of Manhattan’s landscape. She began writing fantasy fiction full-time in 2006. Her series, The Mortal Instruments has become very popular; so popular, in fact, that movies have been made (or are planning to be made) based on the books. The prequel to The Mortal Instruments is a trilogy titled The Infernal Devices and the companion series titled The Dark Artifices is scheduled to be released in 2015.