I like words

Clockwork Prince, The Infernal Devices #2: Review

“We live and breathe words. .... It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt--I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted--and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.”

3 ½ stars – I am so pleased I enjoyed Clockwork Prince as I had expected to enjoy Clockwork Angel. Maybe I was able to put The Mortal Instruments far from mind, maybe I embraced this for what it is first and foremost – romance – or maybe it truly is just a better novel than Angel. In any case, I enjoyed.

I’ll start with my main cause for complaint in Angel, which was the creativity – or lack thereof – in the writing. In Prince, I found scenes well-painted and the character development tremendously improved. Cassandra Clare seems to have found her stride for writing in the time period in this second installment without feeling the need to beat us bloody with reminders.

Next…the love triangle.

So exhausted is the love triangle in YA novels, yet there is something truly special here. While in Angel I was unable to get Clary, Jace and Simon out of my head, in Prince I did not think of them once. Such is the pull of Tessa, Will, and Jem. There is such excellent development for each of them, and the insight into the depths of their souls is what allowed me to truly care about each of them. I found the romance to be fantastically written, not one scene was rushed in the slightest. The build up to each moment Tessa and Will, or Tessa and Jem were together is perfectly paced. The struggles thrown in their paths are entirely believable, both for the time period and the confusion of young love. There is still a lot of focus on how beautiful the boys are, but with the touching glimpses into their minds and hearts I hardly cared if I had to read about Will’s blue eyes and dark hair or Jem’s silver features over and over. We also get a good look at what it is to be parabatai, and the love that stems between Will and Jem as sworn brothers is in no way a small part of Prince.

So, why only 3 ½ stars if this seems to be my favorite love triangle encountered in YA fantasty to date? Because of just that…the romance takes on most of the importance in this story. Were this a YA romance, fine, but Prince is supposed to be fantasy first and foremost. I therefore expected not just all the wonderful romantic development, but the plot of The Infernal Devices to move forward as well. The only other thing going on in this story besides the love triangle is the slow moving search for Mortmain in the Branwell’s attempt to keep the Institute. We know little more about Mortmain at the conclusion of Prince than we did in Angel, learning only of another false-ally in the Shadow World whom he has in his pocket. Nate Gray is supposed to quench that thirst, I think, with his corruption of Jessamine and his fitting end. I was disappointed not to learn more of Tessa’s clockwork angel, which I very much anticipated after the ending of Angel, though Nate’s last words to her to”wear it always” are interesting. Tessa is still very much a mystery, with only some intriguing clues given regarding her heritage.

In the end this is a romance in a fantasy setting centered mostly on getting to deeply know each boy and feeling torn as Tessa does between the two. The mystery of Will is revealed and we receive a conclusion; one that is so simple it’s perfect. Even in the middle of this world of magic, demons, and warlocks, we are given a completely normal, human mistake stemming from the belief of a young boy bent on making it right, [only to discover all he’s believed has been false, and he has potentially destroyed all he was trying desperately not to let himself care for. (hide spoiler)]What’s more is the delightful presence of Magnus Bane, easily one of my favorite characters, always there to bring the teenage angst into perspective:

“You’re seventeen,” Magnus said. “You can’t have wasted a life you’ve barely lived.” 

So, I’m eager to read Clockwork Princess and see what conclusions we’re given in all areas. I have some predictions, which may be pretty obvious but I’m still going to list them:(view spoiler)

Very pleased that my expectations for The Infernal Devices are beginning to be met.

Virginia DeFeoComment