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*WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS*
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.”
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*
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 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.