ID 3: Clockwork Princess

Main Characters:

Will, Tessa, Jem, Charlotte, Henry, Gabriel and Gideon Lightwood, Magnus Bane

New Characters: None, really. Have at least seen them all by now (at least all the major characters). Will’s sister Ceclia is really the only new character. She originally comes to town to drag Will home, but ends up discovering she likes the Shadowhunter training and life.

Locations: London and Wales

Main Premise:

We pick up where Clockwork Prince left off – the Magister is plotting to kill all Shadowhunters and has escaped. He has gone to live in Will’s home town.

This installment was hard to take seriously and even harder to like. With few redeeming qualities, I am relieved to be finished reading it. A battle with a giant worm? Mrs. Black’s head still alive? The awfully chauvinist and sexist view of the Counsul? The end of the Magister with another bunch of chapters still to go? The list could go on, but I am again tired of the plot, the way I was while reading the book.

Jem is about to die so he becomes a Silent Brother. Will professes his love for Tess (and tells Jem) and the eventually get married. Turns out Tess is half Shadowhunters and half demon. She survived because her mother wasn’t marked like other Shadowhunters. Will’s sister Ceclia shows up. Sophie ascends and becomes a Shadowhunter. The Lightwood’s, Gabriel and Gideon both end up at the institute after having to kill their father because he ended up with demon pox and turning into a giant worm demon. The Magister, after attacking the Institute with his automatons kidnaps Tess and Jem sends Will after her. That is when Jem almost dies, and Will and Jem’s parabati bond is broken. Magnus helps Henry complete a portal and the group goes after Will and Tess after realizing that Counsul Wayland won’t help (his ego and sexist views prevent him from having any faith in Charlotte and he schemes the entire time to get Charlotte replaced). Counsul Wayland convinces the clave to meet and they are attacked and he is killed. The only reason most of the clave survives is because Mortmain tied the lives of the automatons to his life and when Tess becomes the angel that possesses her clockwork angel necklace Mortmain is killed and all the demon possessed automatons also die. Jessamine makes an appearance but she is killed and we learn that she is a ghost who will guard the institute. Tess is immortal. Will has died but we know that he and Tess had children and grandchildren. Tess no longer has the piece of the Angela’s soul in her necklace. Henry is paralyzed in the last battle. And our favorite warlock has headed off to America. At the end (epilogue), which is set in modern time, we learn that Jem is no longer a silent brother as a cure for his addiction was found.

Other Important Things to Remember for Later:. Well, since this is supposed to be the last installment, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about remembering. But the epilogue seems to set up something, even if it is just the link to the Mortal Instruments series.

Review:
Clockwork Princess (CP for short) by Cassandra Clare is yet another disappointment. Given how strong the Mortal Instruments series started (but quickly faded and the series should have ended at the end of book three, before it jumped the shark), I had high hopes for the Infernal Devices series. While there were some good moments in this series, this latest installment really wasn’t worth the effort of reading.

Like in the PNR genre, many of these YA series are becoming so very formulaic and predictable. It is disappointing. I have started to venture into the Steampunk sub-genre in the hopes that I will discover something new and exciting, but it seems that as the YA authors also venture into that area, they bring a staleness and predictability and they let that guide the plots, instead of finding a fresh take or the excitement that this new area should provide. (To prove a point, my next post will be a comparison of CP and Kady Cross’s latest since I read them back-to-back.) And CP suffers terribly from this. I think the only good news is that it appears that this might be the last of this particular series.

The other malady that this book suffers from is the romance. It is so over done and under done at the same time. The romance between Tess and Will is so boring. And the author’s desire to couple every character takes away from the romance of the story and makes the romances pretty boring as they are not given time or page space that they need to develop and to make the reader feel invested and to want to root for them.

Then there is the silliness. About what, you might ask. Well, it is hard. To read the story with a straight face when one of the two biggest battle scenes in the book talks about battling a giant worm. Since the worm is supposed to be something one of the characters turns into, couldn’t the author have found something more original, more demonic, more menacing and scary, than a giant worm? Every time I read the phrase “giant worm” I chuckled. And not because I think it was intended as comic relief but because it felt ridiculous to imagine the scene in my head of the Shadowhunters and a giant worm.

Finally, after the climax of the takedown of Mortmain, there were too many chapters of cleaning up the coupling. When the epilogue came around, my first thought was “what else can there be to tie up?”

When all was finished, I was left with a sense of relief that I had finished what seemed like a silly master of time. I will be glad if this was the last we see of the Infernal Devices series.

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