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Cassandra Clare – Clockwork Princess

September 14, 2013

68. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (2013)
The Infernal Devices, Book 3

Read my review of book:
1. Clockwork Angel
2. Clockwork Prince

Read By: Daniel Sharman
Length: 16 h 19 mim (592 pages)

Genre: Historical Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Started: 08 August 2013
Finished: 27 August 2013

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I was totally hooked by the end of Clockwork Prince and had to know how Clare was going to resolve things.

Tessa’s heart is pulled
in two, but there’s a clockwork
army to stop first.

Summary: A newly-engaged young woman should be happy, but Tessa Grey’s situation is too complicated for happiness to cover it. She loves Jem Carstairs, her fiancé, but he’s dying, and the magical drug that has been prolonging his life is running out. Plus there are her lingering feelings for Will, Jem’s parabatai; Will loves her in return, but he loves Jem just as much, and neither of them would willingly hurt the others. Will, Jem, and the other Shadowhunters of the London Institute have recovered from Mortmain’s last attack, but they know he and his army of automatons are not yet defeated for good, a fact that is driven home when they receive a message from him, offering a supply of Jem’s drug in exchange for Tessa. For Mortmain has a grander scheme in mind, one that requires Tessa and her mysterious and unique background, one that will destroy the Shadowhunters forever.

Review: There was a time, a few years ago, when I was reading a lot of YA paranormal romance. (This was a time before Borders closed, because my local Borders had an entire section that was YA paranormal romance, and I would always head there first, even though I’d usually read at least half of what was on offer. Also, they had really terrible Twilight-themed merchandise to laugh at. But anyways…) Eventually, though, I got really tired of the trappings of the genre, and while I didn’t give it up entirely, it did lose some of its draw, and a series (because this YA paranormal romances pretty much always come in series) had to have something really unique to offer to get me interested. And unique not just in the trappings of its worldbuilding, but unique in terms of its story construction, because the basic storylines (human girl meets supernatural guy, girl is torn between two guys, some supernatural impediment stands in the way of their happiness but love wins out in the end, etc.) were starting to feel exceptionally played out.

The Infernal Devices is one of those series that I remained invested in, however, because I think it does have something unique to offer. Not in terms of the Shadowhunter world or the clockwork automatons or the steampunky historical fantasy, although all of those are perfectly fine. But what The Infernal Devices really gets right is its love triangle. And if you hear the words “love triangle” and want to run screaming for the hills, I don’t blame you; I’m tired of them as a main plot device too. But most love triangles are not so much triangles as they are arrows, where one girl is torn between two rival boys. What makes the Jem/Tessa/Will triangle so unique, and so interesting, is that Will and Jem love each other just as much as either of them love Tessa, and any of them would willingly sacrifice their own happiness for that of the other two. They’re finely drawn characters, and as a reader you can’t help loving all three of them for their braveness and their goodness and most especially for their love for each other, and so it makes the impossible situation they’re in all the more heart-rending. The relationships between the three of them are the driving force of the book, and the emotional punch that Clare can pack into a simple conversation between characters I care so much about made me get teary-eyed more than once (which was a little inconvenient as I was frequently listening to this book on the bus to and from work).

The fact that so much of the meat of this book is focused on the characters and their relationships did make the other elements of the story feel somewhat peripheral at times. I did think that Clare did a better job integrating the emotional heart of the story with the plot part of the story (Mortmain and his machinations) in this book vs. Clockwork Prince. But the storylines of the secondary characters at times felt – not like afterthoughts, exactly, but not nearly as well developed or as emotionally involving as that of the primary characters. But for all that, this book moved along at a good clip, despite its length, and did a wonderful job wrapping up the trilogy. (Plus, while the ending shredded my heart into a million little pieces, it also made me want to go and re-read Clare’s The Mortal Instruments books, despite not liking them nearly as much as I liked this series – primarily because Clary and Jace don’t hold a candle to Will and Jem and Tessa.) 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Don’t start with the last book, but I’d recommend the series as a whole to anyone who likes historical teen fantasy, or love triangles done right.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Ivy Book Bindings, The Page Sage, Sarah Reads Too Much, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

First Line: “I’m afraid,” said the little girl sitting on the bed.

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