I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed the third installment of Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices. I think my anonymous friend is glad about this too, as Clockwork Princess is not a lightweight book, and I threatened to smack her with it if she made me read three novels for nothing.
Will ‘He-of-the-blue-blue-eyes’ Herondale, Tessa Gray and Jem Carstairs all return in this final chapter of the Clockwork story, and hearts are torn asunder. The Magister’s nefarious plan is in full swing, and the politics of the Shadowhunter world mean that the residents of the London Institute are the only ones who can stop him.
The story starts off with fabulous wit, featuring a scene about a giant worm that tickled me greatly. There were so. many. puns. Glorious puns. As a plot point, it also served as a re-introduction to two characters previously touched upon: the Lightwood brothers. As it turns out, they’re both quite decent chaps, and Sophie’s wonderful story arc intersects with one of theirs very nicely indeed. I love Sophie.
I also love Charlotte and Henry. I believe I’ve mentioned this before.
But anyway, let’s get on to the main event.
The love triangle comes to a head as Will reveals the truth behind his years of destructive behaviour, just as Tessa accepts Jem’s proposal of marriage. It’s a jolly mess they’re all in and it left me fearing for my poor Jem’s silvery heart. This is where Tessa became the woman I always knew she could be, as she [spoiler alert] refuses to entertain the notion of ditching Jem for Will, because she knows it will break his heart. Go, Tessa! I knew you weren’t a soulless dolt.
Speaking of soulless dolts, let’s briefly touch upon the Magister. I don’t rate him as a villain. He seemed greatly lacking in most things an appealing villain has, especially compared to Clare’s other offering: The Mortal Instruments’ Valentine Morgenstern (be still my little black heart). The Magister, by comparison, was rather 2D and so his comeuppance wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it could or should have been. His plan was good, sure, but it was hardly ingenious.
What was absolute genius was the final solution to the problem (hint: Tessa’s necklace). I’ll be honest – I didn’t see it coming until it was about to happen. That so rarely happens to me with plots, I have to take my hat off to Clare for it. The only downside to it was that it was so quick, it seemed rushed. But it did lead to the answer to a question I’ve been asking myself for ages: why do Herondale men have a weird star on their bodies?
Okay. Jem Carstairs.
In the same way I knew Loki wasn’t dead in The Dark World, I knew Jem’s ‘ending’ (half-way through) wasn’t quite the ticket-punch it pretended to be. It just wasn’t ‘big enough’. And so I read Tessa and Will’s interactions in the Magister’s caves with complete and abject horror. However, I wasn’t expecting what actually happened to Jem and, from about half way through the book, I was scrabbling in my memory, asking myself ‘Why do I know the name Brother Zachariah? Why? Why?’. The answer to that, of course, is in The Mortal Instruments, which left me with an excruciating bubble of anticipation until the last pages.
To be perfectly honest with you, I still can’t work out my opinion on the ending of Clockwork Princess. On the one hand, it was incredibly neat, and wrapped up every character in a nice and shiny bow. Everyone got their happy ending, and you could almost see the Disney castle in the background of the final scene. Part of me loved that. Part of me loved the guilty pleasure of everyone getting a happy ever after. And then, of course, there’s the cynical side of me that wants at least someone to die horribly, or a clockwork dragon to appear and swallow Tessa whole when you least expect it.
I suppose it just depends what you want in a book.
All in all, Clockwork Princess is a good book. Definitely better than its two predecessors, but it only gets 3 stars from me. If you’re looking for a Cassandra Clare series to read, read The Mortal Instruments. If you’ve read Angel and Prince already and are wondering whether to finish the trilogy – then, yes, absolutely, read this book. It’s worth it.
Plus, you know you want to read about Will’s bluest of blue eyes just one more time.