Clockwork Princess, The Infernal Devices #3: Review
3.5 stars. I feel as if most of what I have to say about Clockwork Princess I said already in my review of Clockwork Prince. You can read that here.
I just want to gush for a second on the cover. Adore it. The original cover, mind you. I bought the new edition, then had to order the hardcover original and return the new since I just had to have this one on the shelf. Coverly love.
I'll try to sum up my main grievances and points of enjoyment on the whole trilogy. First, I think it imperative for anyone going into these know that they are YA romance. I held on throughout the first two books, waiting for the plot to develop past simplicity, waiting for intense action with the pretty cool ideas of automatons, clockwork angels, shape shifters, and mysterious origins...
It does not.
90% of Princess is focused on the love and suffering of our three heroes. Actually, this will go down as my favorite love triangle in YA ever (I'm still going through my repertoire and one has yet to come to mind that I enjoyed as much...). But, I did not read this for a romance. I wanted a fantasy adventure with a splash of love to pull at my heartstrings along the way, so I am ultimately disappointed.
The love and character relationships were fantastic, not just between Tessa and her boys but between the boys themselves. I do think Jem got cheated on his time with Tessa. From the first book it was clear to me that Will was who she burned brightest for, and while I can understand the different, softer - but just as powerful - love she and Jem shared, I do not think enough attention was given to the two of them to justifiably say it was a love as great as the one shared with Will.
The few things I liked most about The Infernal Devices as a whole (besides the touching and believable romance):
The notion that you have chosen someone (a choice you can make only once in a lifetime) to be bound to your soul, to be closer to you than family, is beautiful. Cassandra Clare did a very nice job of conveying to me what it means to have and be parabatai, the special connection felt when he/she is in danger, is hurt, or simply too far from your side. In this aspect, Will and Jem's love for one another is incredibly touching. [It was heartbreaking when Will lost Jem. I barely cared what Tessa would feel – it was the bond between Will and Jem that left a deep ache when the link was severed. The fact that I didn't feel much for Tessa's loss here probably helps prove my earlier point that I do not feel Clare devoted enough attention to building Jem and Tessa's relationship to have it be comparable.
Ever still, Magnus shines through as my favorite character. Loyal, to the point, and such a sorrowful figure – I would be more than willing to read a novel centered wholly around him and the lives he’s lived, the losses he’s suffered. And I’d probably cry with every one.
More so in this book than the others I got the feel of how powerful music can be, how you can see a touch of someone’s soul in what they play and how the sound can tell a story all its own with no words needed. I was furious when the turn of events left Jem a Silent Brother and thus unable to ever play his violin again. Luckily, the epilogue made up for that, even if it was a highly convenient end.
My main grievances mostly tie into how not enough attention was given to the conclusion. Finally, we do get answers. Tessa's lineage, the truth behind her clockwork angel, and why Mortmain wanted her so badly. But it all felt very lack-luster. It was as if Clare got halfway through the romance, remembered there was other stuff going on in the background, and said “Oh, okay wait, so let me wrap up this mess with Mortmain conveniently and in a matter of pages. Now, back to the romance…”
Not lying – it happened that fast.
There were also quite a few inconsistent POVs - not an issue I noticed in the first two books. It's my guess that Clare abandoned effort and wrote simply to add more angst and drama. Not only are we introduced to several new POVs (Cecily, Gabriel, Sophie) we also shift confusingly to random passerby's thoughts halfway through a chapter and back again. I've seen some say that the added relationships we had to follow between Cecily and Gabriel, Sophie and Gideon, and Charlotte and Henry were unnecessary, and I'm inclined to agree at least in the first case. Sophie, Charlotte, and Henry are characters we've known from the beginning so I didn't so much mind seeing them find happiness. But Cecily and Gabriel felt extra...more to set up for the future and the events taking place in The Mortal Instruments than to serve any other real purpose.
In weighing my likes and dislikes, I'll say that overall I think Clockwork Princess and The Infernal Devices as a whole concluded nicely. Everyone gets their fairy tale, even if they had to selflessly wait 130 years for it to happen. Jem is without a doubt too good for Tessa, in my opinion, but I guess as long as he finally got something he wanted, I won't grumble too much about that.
I do definitely recommend this trilogy over The Mortal Instruments; had it been marketed for what it truly is I wouldn't have held it to different expectations and it would have starred higher.
My reviews for the first two books:
Clockwork Angel Review
Clockwork Prince Review