Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Review: Clockwork Princess


A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy. Quoted from Goodreads


It is a truth universally acknowledged that no one emotionally tortures her characters (or her readers) as much as Cassandra Clare.  Really, this book is emotionally exhausting.  It's not that these are the most tortured characters in the world.  I can think of plenty that have far worse situations--Edmond Dantes (the Count of Monte Cristo) languishing in prison while his father dies and his fiance marries another man, Fantine, abandoned, forced to give up her daughter and finally dying as a prostitute after sacrificing everything for her child, etc.--but you can't read these books and not ache for the characters and what she puts them through.

I'd love to talk about Tessa, Will, and Jem, but I'm not quite sure how without spoiling things.  As far as their characters go, I really like all of them. Each of them is tortured in their own unique way (immortal, cursed, and dying), and I admire how each one handled their situation. Cassandra Clare put them in possibly the most horrible love triangle I've really ever read, which I think was kind of her point (and I suppose you could argue it's one of the most triangle triangles I've ever read, which is sort of what makes it so heartbreaking) and think she handled the ending really well. 

That being said, and I won't give anything away so dont' worry, the ending was almost too perfect for me and heartbreaking all at once.  I had my ship, I knew exactly who I wanted to end up with Tessa, and, again, without giving anything away, I was really pleased with what happened.  At the same time . . . well I'm not sure how I feel about the epilogue.  I'll freely admit, part of it made me cry (though I really shouldn't be held responsible for any tears shed after 10:00), but part of it . . . well, can an ending be too perfect?  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I read the epilogue, but maybe next time I read the series, I might just stop at the end.  Despite all it's perfection and happiness, it sort of left me feeling sad. 

Despite all that, I really did love this book (see the 5 star rating below!).  I liked the action, the peril, the relationships between the characters. I especially loved getting to know Will's little sister Cecily. Everyone else in these stories has two books worth of anguish weighing them down, where she gives us a wonderfully fresh viewpoint.  Sure, she has her own issues with her brother and she didn't like Shadowhunters at first, but that's mostly over with at the opening of this book. I really appreciated her new perspective, seeing how she views everyone half from the outside, half from the inside. I loved Gabriel Lightwood for the same reason.  He has his own demons to carry, but it's nice to see things from a slightly different perspective.

And finally we solve the mystery that is Tessa. Sure, it's been explored in the first two books, but I loved discovering Mortmain's plan and why he needed her so desperately.  I also love how she uses her abilities to save her friends.  She grows up a lot from the girl in the first book, fresh off the boat from New York, and it's fun to see the person she's become.

I'm know there are tons of other things I'll think about as soon as I post this review that I want to add.  I'm still emotionally all tangled up in that world. I'm sure things will be clearer in a day or two, but I wanted to review this book today, give a whole first impression blog instead of a one-week-and-with-clearer-thoughts review later. This book is a wonderful 5 stars for me.  It tied the series up nicely, really leaving me with just one pressing question I'm sure I'll find the answer to later. All in all, this is a great series.  I love the time period, the characters, the relationships, the conflicts, and I'm sad to see it come to an end. 

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