19th March 2013
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy
Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.
*I can not guarantee that this review will be spoiler free. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK*
I'm going to preemptively start this review by warning any of you who are reading this that I didn't love this book. I'm getting that off of my chest at the get-go because I figure if you want to read a review that's just fangirling for it, don't waste your time here. Sure, there were a lot of parts that I enjoyed, and it wasn't bad, and I will happily leave links at the end to more positive reviews, it's just that after this book I am done with Cassie Clare. It's nothing personal, her books have just lost their magic for me, and that saddens me a lot, but whatever. That just happens sometimes.
Let's start this with the positives. I loved the side characters plots - Sophie, Gideon, Gabriel, Cecily, Charlotte and Henry. I love those guys like WHOA. I would happily read a whole book that was just about them. Cassie Clare has a real talent with crafting completely loveable, realistic side characters that I want to cuddle and protect them from all the horrible stuff that's going on with Mortmain and the Consul. Also, I thought all of the little romances that were going on between them were adorable and just their presence helped lighten the atmosphere of the book (which really did need a bit of lightening up). I also thought that Cecily and Will's relationship was really well done, though I think I wanted more of it in the second half of the book.
Cassie's writing in this book was also, I think, some of the best it's ever been. The descriptions were rich and alive, and even though there were times that I found myself thinking 'was that description really necessary' or just generally cringing at the more romantic bits, for the most part it was great. And despite my general dislike of poetry, I do like the snippets that come at the start of every chapter and getting to see how they tie in with the chapter and the book as a whole.
However, I spent much of my time reading the book just being generally annoyed and apathetic. It took me over a week to read it because I found myself just not being bothered. Before I really get in on the negatives, I just want to emphasise that these were my own personal problems with the book and that I am not blaming Cassie for my lack of enjoyment at all. Want to get that out in case any voracious CC fangirls read this, get the wrong idea and try and kill me in my sleep.
The core of my annoyance with Clockwork Princess was with the love triangle. I probably wouldn't have minded it as much if I had reread the other books in the series first and reassessed how I felt about those (and remembered everything that had actually happened in them) before I'd started this one, but I just didn't have the time. Maybe in the future I'll marathon the whole series and my feelings will change. It's just that I don't really like Tessa that much, and I don't really like Will that much any more and Jem spent much of the book not really being in the book (for reasons that I won't say) and it was all just so dramatic and over the top that I probably spent more time rolling my eyes than actually reading. It's fine if you like that kind of thing, that whole self-sacrificing, super romantic thing, but it kind of gets on my nerves. I don't remember it being that bad in the earlier books.
Again, before anybody freaks out and screams at me for not really liking Tessa or Will, let me explain why. I don't like Tessa because I feel like, similarly to Clary, she's boring and a non-entity. She has no personality, and I don't understand why everybody loves her. I don't hate her, she just doesn't interest me at all as a character, and I feel like instead of being given evidence for why everyone loves her, we just get told time and time again how great she is. And bloody hell! Would people please stop referring to her as being like Boudicea! She is one of the least Boudicea-y people I've read about because as much as Tessa is bookish and clever and brave (I will give her that) she is not by any stretch of the imagination a warrior. If anything, I feel like Bridget is the unsung hero of this book because without her at least 5 of the main characters would be dead. Bridget is the Boudicea in this trilogy. And Will. Yes, he's witty and funny, and I like him when he's like that, but on the other hand he is such a drip! I liked it in small doses, and I don't think that it's a bad character trait, it's just that it was so piled on in this book that it annoyed me a bit. *takes deep breaths* I'm sorry, I didn't realise I had this much pent up frustration about this book.
Finally, I felt like the plot with Mortmain and the Infernal Devices climaxed way too early. I understand that the trilogy needed to be wrapped up nice and neatly, but the actual action finished about 110 pages from the end of the book. I know it's a fairly hefty tome, and there's a lot of loose ends, but there was not 110 pages of loose ends that needed tying up I can assure you. Three chapters and an epilogue. Three chapters and an epilogue to basically say all of the couples who you knew were going to get together got engaged/married, and epilogue-y stuff (details of which I shall not reveal because spoilers - though, yes, the epilogue did annoy me, though I can see why people would like it and think that it was sweet).
I'm sorry about this. I did want to like this book more that I did, but I just found it irritating in a lot of places. I'm kind of disappointed by the fact that I didn't even cry once. The ending was far too neat and cuddly for me, and the fact that Tessa'a relationship with each of the boys took precedence over their bond too each other frustrated me too, and that that everyone was just so OK with everything. That being said, most people loved it and if you haven't read this book or this series, I wouldn't let my review put you off unless you've had the same problems as me with her other books. And if you did read it and like it, please tell me! I welcome discussion, just don't hate (even though I know I did get a bit ranty and I apologise for that - I may be being a bit unfair in places, and I'm probably going to regret ever posting this, but I don't want it to come across like I'm all out hating on this book because I'm not. It just looks like I am. That always happens with books where my overall feeling is disappointment. Maybe I just need to not write reviews for books that have stressed me out about ten minutes after I finish reading them.)
Here are some links to some reviews from people who liked this book more than I did:
Mundie Moms, Queen of Contemporary (contains spoilers for CP2), Jess Hearts Books (Spoilers), Starry Eyed Revue (Audiobook), Carina's Books - and many, MANY more. Just check out it's Goodreads page and you will see.