Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review: Clockwork Princess

Title: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Rating: 5 stars

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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.

“You know that feeling,” she said, “when you are reading a book, and you know that it is going to be a tragedy; you can feel the cold and darkness coming, see the net drawing tight around the characters who live and breathe on the pages. But you are tied to the story as if being dragged behind a carriage and you cannot let go or turn the course aside.” 

What better way to start this review than with the above quote by Tessa? Her words exactly described my state of mind when I began reading Clockwork Princess because deep down, I knew that it was highly unlikely that each character would escape this last book unscathed, in the physical and especially the emotional sense. And that scared me.

This review has probably been one of the hardest ones I've ever had to write. God knows I have put it off long enough, hoping to try and find the write words. The story has left such a large emotional impact on me and I am at a loss as to how to convey that into words. This review is probably going to be a bit long so go ahead and get yourself some popcorn while you read. I'll wait.


Okay. I can basically sum up my reading experience with this gif:

You will cry.
You will. If you think that you can finish this entire book with dry eyes, then you are lying to yourself.

This book is, by far, the best book that Cassandra Clare has written. As much as I loved the first three books of TMI, the writing in CP2 is just... phenomenal. I can't even describe the writing, but the story, though absolutely heart-breaking at times, is still shot through with Clare's signature wit, resulting in me vacillating between two states while reading:

These characters. These freaking characters.

I think that TID will probably go down in history as having the greatest love triangle of our generation, and while that geometric shape of evil was central to the story, CP2 really placed more emphasis on the unbreakable parabatai bond between Will and Jem. Their relationship in this book broke my heart. Broke it into little miniscule pieces.  Their parabatai bond is indescribably powerful, the love between the two equally so. I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading about their friendship and brotherhood much more than I did the love triangle. And by the Angel, when Will and Jem said their parting words at the Institute, I bawled like a baby. Messy, ugly sobbing.

Tessa is a wonderful heroine, as always. She's grown so much throughout these three books and, though I try not to compare TMI and TID, I like her so much more as a protagonist than I do Clary. I love how resourceful and smart Tessa is; she thinks things through and doesn't make reckless, rash decisions. And after everything she's been through in this series, this book especially, it is impossible to not realize how strong she is as a character. 

One of the things I really enjoyed about CP2 was that all the side characters from the earlier books have a much larger role in this one. There are more chapter devoted to Charlotte and Henry, Gabriel and Cecily, and Gideon and Sophie- and speaking of Gideon and Sophie, THE SCONES. OH MY GOSH THOSE SCONES. That scene just had me cracking up. And who knew that hidden beneath Gideon's calm facade was a comical genius? His letters throughout this book cracked me up. 

Now as much as I enjoyed the entire ensemble of characters, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the literary perfection that is William Herondale? Because good god, with this character, Cassandra Clare has forever ruined me for real-life boys. I adore Jem's character, I do, but like Will said, Jem is nothing but goodness. It is literally impossible to hate Jem. Will, on the other hand is beautifully flawed- he has had moments of being a complete jerk, seemingly irredeemable. But then he shows this side of being so incredibly selfless even when it caused him agony and I just- I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELS, OKAY? I've enjoyed the evolution of Will's character throughout this series even more than I have Tessa's. I can honestly say that I don't think I'll ever be able to love a character as much as I love Will Herondale. 

*Rocks back and forth in fetal position, sobbing*

The Plot:
As far as plot goes, CP2 had me on the edge of my seat. The situation for the shadowhunters seemed so desolate, their chances of triumphing so minuscule that I got seriously worried. However, the way in which Mortmain was defeated was ingenious. Totally unexpected and just plain brilliant. But even so, I felt like the big climactic fight scene was lacking; it didn't quite satisfy me. Perhaps it's because it was over too quickly or I wanted the actual triumph to be more grand than it actually was. Either way, though I did enjoy the climax, once it was over, I was left a little dumbfounded, as if I was waiting for more to happen.

The Epilogue:

The epilogue has had a rather controversial response in the fandom, so here's my two cents:

As I neared completion, I had thought that I couldn't possibly withstand any more emotional trauma at the hands of this book. BUT I WAS WRONG. The epilogue pretty much shattered me, and then tried to put me back together again, though I'm not sure if it quite accomplished that. Reading about Will and Tessa's life together was.... everything I had hoped for since the very beginning. Reading about Will's death was everything that I never wanted. It was beautiful. And indescribably heart-breaking. Ultimately, he lived a great life, a long and happy one. But even so, my heart is still trying to cope with his death.

As for Wessa and Jessa both being "endgame," I have to admit... I wasn't crazy about it. It left me with lots of conflicting emotions that I don' know how to make sense of. On the one hand, the ending was the best thing that the fandom could have hoped for, regardless of which pairing you supported. Literally everyone got their happy ending and that was....unexpected. I should be happy because it was pretty much an ideal ending. However, I can't because it feels like everything wrapped up too perfectly. Like maybe it was a cop out. It's not that I hate the fact that Tessa is with Jem, it's not that at all. I'm happy for them- especially because Jem of all people deserved a happy ending. But at the same time, my heart is still despairing at the fact that Will is just gone and that makes me feel conflicted. I didn't expect Tessa to just be alone for the rest of her life, but I also didn't expect Jem to suddenly not be a Silent Brother anymore and ride of with Tessa into the sunset. 

Some people adored the ending. Others, not so much. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm still trying to make sense of it. 

All in all:
An epic end to an epic series. This book made me laugh, made me weep uncontrollably cry, made me despair, and made me hope. All I can say is that my poor, poor heart was wholly unprepared for the emotional journey this series took me on, but I will never regret picking this series up.


  1. "Now as much as I enjoyed the entire ensemble of characters, can we all just take a moment to appreciate the literary perfection that is William Herondale? Because good god, with this character, Cassandra Clare has forever ruined me for real-life boys."
    - Couldn't agree more. REALLY.

    Joie, beautiful review. The best one you've written so far ;) And the book was perfect, I agree. The final battle - yeah, I agree with that as well. It was phenomenal but it was over all too quickly.

    And the love. OMG this really was a perfect love triangle of our generation. This book was perfect. The characters are perfect.

    As for the epilogue... It was extremely beautiful and extremely painful for me as well. And it didn't feel like cheating. It felt perfect. Yes, Jem out of all deserved a happy ending. <3

    God, I love this serie so so much. I think I could re-read it over and over again.

    1. I know! This book was beautiful and painful... but in a good way. And I just- every time I start talking about this book I just want to start flailing because FEELS. FEELS EVERYWHERE.

    2. I couldn't get enough of this book...I loved everything about this made you feel. Now when Im reading City of Ashes after reading Clockwork Princess I can't help but miss Jem, Will and Tessa. But most of all Will. I love him.

  2. Fantastic review, Joie! I found it so, so hard to write a review for this because, like everyone else, my feelings were all over the place after reading it. Will and Jem's friendship absolutely made this series for me; just thinking about it makes me want to reread all the books right now. The love between all three characters was unlike any I'd ever read about, and I feel like none will ever measure up to it. I love the world of the Shadowhunters in general, but I think it's going to be near impossible for me to love any other Shadowhunter series as much as I love this one.

    1. I know! As much as I love the character dynamics in TMI (and will probably love in TID), the love between Tessa, Will, and Jem is just too big for words. I feel like nothing else will ever come close.

  3. "You're gonna suffer, but you're going to be happy about it." Yep... that pretty sums it up. Loved your review by the way! :)

  4. Amazing review Joie! You summed everything up so perfectly! I loved how you explained the epilogue: like you, I feel like the ending was just too perfect. Ideally, Tessa ending up with both guys seems like the best scenario, but in reality it leaves me wondering whether I'm happy or sad about the ending--- I guess a little bit of both! I definitely think we'll be seeing Tessa and Jem in the future Shadowhunter books, so maybe that will help make me feel a bit better about how things finish off for the Infernal Devices.

    1. I seriously hope Tessa and Jem will make some cameo appearances in future books. It would definitely ease my TID withdrawal.

  5. Ehmm, yeah, I'm guessing another series I NEED to read? XD

    1. OH my gosh Delaney you don't even understand.

      I just- You really do NEED to read this. That will be my new life mission: getting you to fall in love with this series. ;)

    2. I feel the little devil coming back.....XD

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy read. GREAT LOVE STORY! Wish this could now continue on to her and Jen. LOVE how things connect through the Mortal Instruments.

  7. I had read Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince and was mad to find out that Clockwork Princess wasn't out and that I had to wait a year to read but when I finally did...I felt like I was home was like I was out of town and finally came home. You know that is a good book when you feel that way.


Thanks so much for commenting! I read every single one and they always make my day! <3

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