on February 6, 2012
**Originally published on Examiner.com**
Cassandra Clare has done it again with Clockwork Prince, the sequel to her bestselling novel, Clockwork Angel. Her new novel has left this reader laughing, devouring page after page with reckless abandon, and caught in a state of conflicting emotions. In other words, Clockwork Prince could be Clare's best work yet.
Without spoiling too much, as this is indeed a novel that is best read entirely unspoiled, Clockwork Prince continues the story Tessa, Will, and Jem. Set in Victorian London, the trio set out to unlock the secrets of the Magister. What exactly does he want with Tessa? Just how far does the Magister's web of revenge extend? And worse, whom can they trust, and who will betray them? Never mind that Tessa and Jem are growing closer with each passing day, but her longing for Will never seems to cease. What terrible secret is Will hiding? The answers and the outcome to all of these questions will be beyond what any of them had ever imagined.
This reader meant no exaggeration when she stated that Clockwork Prince is Clare's best work yet. Everything about the novel pieces together nicely. The writing is superb--the atmosphere of Victorian London palpable. The plot itself builds seamlessly with plenty of plot twists that will leave readers reeling in shock. The real treat of Clare's novels, however, has always been her characters and she does not disappoint in Clockwork Prince. Tessa is a strong, independent, and likable character, not an easy accomplishment in a genre full of weak female protagonists. Clare also handles the triangle between Tessa, Jem, and Will with great care and respect, and she takes a rather different approach from traditional love triangles. Again, this is no simple feat. The reader can see why Tessa's emotions are so conflicted. The reader can see why Tessa is so desirable. The relationship readers will want to pay most attention to, however, is the relationship between Will and Jem. The love and respect displayed between both boys is beautifully written and touching--making the end result all the more heart wrenching. In classic Clare fashion, Clockwork Prince ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving readers to mark their calendars for Clockwork Princess (the final installment of the Infernal Devices trilogy) in anxious anticipation.
Beautifully written, humorous, and heart breaking, all of this reader's praise is aimed for Clockwork Prince.
on December 27, 2011
******* Warning: Major Spoilers *******
Sorry! I can't write this without a few spoilers because there is so much I want to say about this book!
First off, I love Clare's writing. It gets better with every book.
I listened to the audiobook first, then read the e-book. The audiobook was very well done! Ed Westwick and Heather Lind do a fantastic job of bringing the characters to life! And I have to say that Ed's voice is delicious. I love it! He does the male characters in the story so well! But Heather's narration was also very pleasant to listen to as well.
So ... where do I begin? I'll start with a brief synopsis.
The story begins with Will visiting a graveyard where he sees old Mol, a dead woman who he pays with rings in exchange for demon powders for Magnus. Then the scene switches to Tessa and Jem as they make their way across London to meet with the others of the Institute to attend a Clave meeting where Benedict Lightwood challenges Charlotte's leadership of the Institute. Consul Wayland responds to this challenge by requiring Charlotte and Henry to find Mortmain within two weeks. If they cannot, the Institute will be handed to Benedict Lightwood's leadership. The rest of the story is about the little Institute band trying to uncover Mortmain's whereabouts and discover what he is up to ... but the rest of the story is also about so much more ...
In the rest of the story we learn:
The identity of the clockwork prince.
Will's dark secret.
What happened to Will when he was a boy and why he left his parents' house.
Will's true feelings about everything.
About Will's family.
Where Will buys Jem's drug.
About Jem, how he feels about his illness and how he feels about Tessa.
What happens between Will and Magnus that leads Camille to believe they are lovers.
A little about Tessa's parents which is confusing at best.
You learn the true relation between Tessa and Nate.
About Mortmain's parents and the identity JTS (the initials on the pocket watch in CA.)
About Charlotte's family - her maiden name.
A little about Henry's family and his marriage to Charlotte.
A little more about the clockwork angel that Tessa wears.
Benedict Lightwood's nasty secret(s) and why he wants possession of the Institute.
The reason why Gabriel hates Will so much.
How far Nate is willing to go for the Magister.
How far Jessamin is willing to go for marriage to a mundane.
How far Tessa is willing to go to stop Mortmain and help her friends.
How far Magnus is willing to go for Will.
How far Will is willing to go to for Tessa.
How far Will is willing to go for Jem.
New characters we meet:
Consul Wayland: in the Clave meeting
Gideon Lightwood: he comes to the Institute to train Sophie
Alouiscious Starkweather: Tessa, Will and Jem meet him in York. He runs the York Institute
Bridget: a new cook for the London Institute
Cyril: a new servant to replace Thomas at the London Institute
Wolvesy Scott (LOVE HIM!): head of the werewolf pack in London
Hyacinth: a fairy friend of Tessa's mother.
Charlotte: What I really love about Charlotte in this one is her determination to keep her status as leader of the London Institute but not lose herself as a woman. We get to see her tough side as well as her soft, feminine side. Her announcement at the end was a shocker for me. I had a feeling about it, though, when she was talking to Henry in her study near the end.
Henry: As for Henry, we get to see more of him and his personality. We also get to see the commanding side of him and his feelings regarding Charlotte, his marriage, and the institute. In this book, we learn what makes him tick - what he wants to accomplish for the Nephilim and why he has been working so hard on his inventions. I love the fact that his invention actually works in this one and is a potentially powerful weapon against the automatons.
Benedict Lightwood: This man disgusts me in every way. Not only does he cheat on his wife, give her an illness, and cause her death, but he also lies about it to his sons. The fact that he exposes his sons to his dirty secrets and expects them to carry on in his footsteps is repulsive. In short, he is one of those characters you love to hate.
Gabriel Lightwood: I take Gabriel to be one of those young men who is brainwashed by his father from a young age and thinks his father can do no wrong. Mostly, I think he is a bit of a twit but a young and confused twit. I am hoping he gets redeemed in the next book.
Gideon Lightwood: Gideon is a character I liked right from the beginning. I had a feeling he would turn out to be one of the good guys and I love his affection for Sophie. I especially love the scene near the end when Charlotte, Will, and Tessa pay a visit to Benedict's home and he lets his father have it. That was great!
Sophie: I think this is the first time we actually get to see into Sophie's thoughts. From the scene where she sees Tessa and Jem in the corridor to the scene where she meets up with Gideon on her days off. I love seeing how her character changes and develops in this book. I also love seeing her fight for the people and place that she loves - slapping Gabriel and knocking Jessamin out with the mirror, to which Will's reaction was hilarious! "I think I'm in love with you, Sophie!" Hehe.
Magnus Bane: Magnus is one of my favorite characters! He is a bit different in this one and I take that to be because in this book, we are seeing the 19th century Magnus. He is such a deep person. Even though his humor is very dry and sarcastic and he acts like he doesn't care, he does. He loves people and is so willing to help them at his own expense - like how he recognizes that Will is broken and needs help. I love Magnus for that. He is also the link between the two series - MI and ID. What I also love about him is that after as long as he has lived, he still feels for others and hasn't let time make him indifferent to them or "cut off" like the man in the poem that he reads to Will about being immortal: "I'm tired of tears and laughter and men that laugh and weep, of what may come hereafter for men that sow to reap. I'm weary of days and hours, blown buds of barren flowers, desires and dreams and powers, and everything but sleep." What he says to Tessa that makes her think about the bitterness of mortality, and the pain of immortality, is one of the most profound lines of the whole book: "We are chained to this life by a chain of gold and we dare not severe it for fear of what lies beyond the drop." Magnus, I think, is one of those characters who really knows what it is to feel pain and loss and to see the people he loves grow old and leave him, year after year, generation after generation, forever. And what makes him different from other immortals is that he cares.
Wolvesy Scott: Wolvesy is really the comic relief of the book for me. He reminds me of a cross between Austin Power and Liberace. I love him!!!
Alouiscious Starkweather: Now he is a suspicious character. A ninety-year old man who is on the brink of senility, who has lived a hard, traditional shadowhunter life, and has many secrets and skeletons in his closet. I am anxious to know more about him in the third book, although I think I have correctly guessed one thing about him (below, under predictions.)
Jessamin: Jessamin is really one of those people who has everything she could possible want but is unhappy and ends up destroying everything in her life because of her blind ambitions. In the end, though, I actually felt sorry for her.
Nate: Like Benedict Lightwood, I loathe Nate and am satisfied by what happens to him in the end.
Mortmain: Although he doesn't make an official appearance in this one, his presence is definitely felt throughout the whole book, especially at the end when he sends the camera bugs to spy on the Clave. Creepy! As Charlotte says, Mortmain is the spider in the middle of a huge web that is woven around all of them.
Thoughts on the Tessa-Will-Jem triangle: I love all three of them and I want all of them to be happy but the triangle is set up in such a way that only two can be truly happy at a time. Actually, strike that, only one can be because Tessa has to choose and her heart is split in two for having to do it. Ah! It drives me crazy! I am happy for Jem but I feel for both Tessa and Will and the pain they suffer. The bond between Jem and Will is precious and I have to say the end of this book was the right end. Tessa chooses Jem. She makes the right choice.
Tessa: I think what Tessa chose to do at the end was the right thing. Jem deserves happiness and he deserves her in every way. In the story, he has always been good to her and the fact that she chooses him says something about her character. Without knowing about Will's true problem, she chooses the man who treats her the best. I admire her for that. I also admire her strength when she learns about Will's secret and has to tell him no, breaking his heart and her heart in the process - all for Jem's happiness. The fact that she leads him to believe she doesn't love him, for his good and Jem's, so that she won't drive a wedge between the two friends, shows that she is strong and now knows what it is like to be Will - to try and pretend indifference when she really wants to hold and love him. Her love triangle is the most painful I've seen in a story.
Jem: I absolutely love Jem. I loved him from the first book and I always thought Tessa should be with him because Will was such an incredible jerk. Now that I know Will is not a jerk, I still think Jem deserves Tessa because of his situation and the fact that he has been nothing but sweet to her. He has very little time left to live and he deserves to be happy. The one scene with Jem that really got to me was when he punched Will for abusing the drug that is killing him. Then he storms out of the carriage and sees Tessa later on, what he says to her just really breaks your heart: "What does it matter? What does any of it matter? I'm dying. I won't outlast the decade. What does it matter if the violin goes before I do?" You really feel his pain here in this scene and it builds the tension between him and Tessa. I thought this was one of the best scenes of the whole book.
Will: Wow, where do I begin with him? Once I learned about his problem and what happened to him when he was a boy, I thought: "Oh God, how could anyone endure that without going absolutely insane or killing themselves?" The fact that he survived for five years shows just how strong he is. In this book, we really get to see so many facets of his character - his cynical, sarcastic side, his loving, tender side, and his noble, honorable side. We see how far he is willing to go to save Tessa and how much he really loves her. The part where he says to Magnus: "If no one cares for you, do you really even exist?" and then we learn later that he read that in Tessa's letters - that part was really touching. But I think it is the last part, his letter to his parents that got to me the most and below is, by far, my favorite part of the whole book: "As little there is good to say about her there is as much good to say about Jem. He is the brother father always thought I should have. Blood of my blood, though we are no relation. Though I might have lost everything else, at least I have gained one thing in his friendship. And we have a new addition to our household, too. Her name is Tessa. A pretty name, is it not? When the clouds used to roll over the mountains from the ocean, their grey is the color of her eyes." After I read this, I totally lost it. =o) I was like: "Noooo! Poor Will!" At that very last part, you really feel what it's like for Will. You feel the pain he has had to go through in his life and has to continue to endure. But even though he loses Tessa, there are two things that he has going for him - his sister arriving at the Institute at the end and the fact that he doesn't have to make everyone hate him anymore. As Magnus said: "He needs to love and have that love returned." Somewhere in between those two things, his sister and the lifting of the curse, I hope he finds happiness.
My favorite funny scene: Demon Pox, Oh Demon Pox ...
What I didn't like: The only thing I have to say I didn't like was that the book may have been too Jane Austin'ish. Not enough action and too much: "I love you, you love me, isn't it wonderful!" I have seen this criticism and I have to say it may be true. But, I still loved it! I loved everything about this book.
Logical flaw: There was one logical flaw I noticed in the book. It's at the end when Charlotte says they've lost their link to Mortmain, Nate, because now Nate is dead. But the only problem is that Tessa transformed into him and she can do it at will now. So they haven't lost that link. Tessa could change into him, read his mind, and know everything Nate knows ... that is, if Mortmain hasn't put a block in his mind.
Some deep thoughts: I have been reading Clare's MI series and now her ID series and I have been trying to find a deeper meaning to it other than the story itself. Then something occurred to me. We see how demons have shattered the lives of these two boys - Jem and Will. Without those demons, their lives would have been normal. Then I thought, what about our lives? What about our demons? Even though we can't see them, there are times when we let our demons ruin our lives, hurt others, and shatter love. Why do we let that happen? Why do some of us let hate rule our lives? Food for thought.
Prediction #1: I don't think Jem will be able to marry Tessa. I believe the Magister will find out about their engagement and find a way to abduct her before the marriage happens. Charlotte said in the first book that the Magister wants to marry her because of the magical binding in marriage to someone like her - that it would give him her power or something like that. So, I hate to say it, but I think Tessa will be kidnapped.
Prediction #2: As much as I hate to say this, as much as it breaks my heart to say it, I think there is a foreshadowing in the first and second books of the Infernal Devices - a foreshadowing that predicts Jem's death. This is part of the reason why I think we will lose a character in the third book. In the first book, Tessa dreams of Jem in a bed of fire. Then again this is mentioned in the scene where she and Jem are having an intimate moment on his bed, she thinks about her dream and we are made to think that that dream was a foreshadowing to their moment on the bed but I don't think it is. I think it is a foreshadowing of something that will happen later. Another foreshadowing I saw was when Tessa, Jem, and Will are getting back on the train from York, it says: "Later, she would remember the way he looked, hanging onto the door, hatless, calling to both of them, and recall staring out the window of the train as it pulled away ..." When I read that, I thought: "Why would she be 'remembering' him later? What is going to happen to Jem?"
Prediction #3: I also think that Tessa is related to the Starkweathers. I think this is the reason Alouiscious recognizes her and is shocked. I'm thinking maybe he knew her mother or her mother's mother. Why do I think this? Because there is something odd about what happened with Alouiscious' granddaughter. Gabriel Lightwood said that Starkweather's granddaughter was never very healthy and then when they went to put marks on her, she went mad, became foresaken and died. As if she weren't a shadowhunter. As if she were human and was switched as a baby like the fairy lady said to Tessa - that the fairies switch babies to keep their bloodline strong. They switch a sickly fairy baby for a healthy human one. I'm thinking Tessa's mother was switched out from the Starkweather family (leaving a sickly human baby in her place - Aunt Harriet's real sister) which would explain Nate's claim that Tessa's mother was a shadowhunter. This makes sense because both Aunt Harriet and Nate are blond haired and blue eyed just like the picture of Starkweather's 'switched' granddaughter. Also, just as Alouiscious' granddaughter was never very healthy, neither was Aunt Harriet. Tessa says in CA that Aunt Harriet was kind of a sickly woman, never very strong. So, actually, Nate and Harriet are related to the girl in Starkweather's painting and Tessa's mother was really Alouiscious' true granddaughter which would make Tessa his great great granddaughter. I'm assuming he recognized her because she must look not just like her mother, but also like her mother's mother, who Alouiscious would have known. As I told some friends on Goodreads, that's my theory and I'm stickin' to it! =o)
To conclude, I want to say thank you Cassie Clare for writing such a terrific story! I am so looking forward to the third and final installment of the Infernal Devices! The hard part is waiting for it. =o)
From Melissa Douthit's Blog
on January 22, 2012
I liked the Mortal Instruments books, but I didn't love them, mainly because I couldn't love the main characters. For a long time I didn't bother with the Infernal Devices b/c of all of the comments about the relationships being a carbon copy of those in the earlier books. Then, in a moment of down time after a recent move, I picked up Clockwork Angel, and I'm so glad that I did. To me, that book was what the first ones were striving to be, but didn't quite achieve. I loved the heroine, loved the supporting characters, loved the whole premise.
I hoped Clockwork Prince would live up to its predecessor, and for me, it not only lived up to it but surpassed it. In fact, I think this is Clare's best book to date. It's never going to go down well with the readers looking for shocks and action, but it excells as a character study, in particular as a clear-eyed assessment of teenage love. Tessa's attraction to, and difficulty choosing between Jem and Will is something I would never buy into in an adult romance, but it's entirely believable in the context of 16- and 17-year-olds, moreso those based in a basically repressive society, who haven't had the experiences on which to base difficult relationship decisions. And I have to admit, though I absolutely adore Jem, and didn't much like Will through most of the two books, in the end Clare convinced me that he was also worthy of Tessa's love. As such, her ultimate decision is both believable and heartbreakingly inevitable, and I can't wait to see how Clare is going to write herself out of this particular paper bag. Roll on Clockwork Princess!