Clockwork Prince is the second book in The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. It was published by Walker on 6th December and the book is 432 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.
The story concerns 16-year-old orphan Tessa Gray, whose quiet life is thrown into turmoil when her older brother Nathaniel suddenly vanishes, leaving her alone. Her search for him leads her into Victorian-era London’s dangerous supernatural underworld, where warlocks throw masked balls for half-demon Downworlders. When Tessa discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must come to trust her natural enemies, the demon-killing Shadowhunters, if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother. Torn between the beautiful Will, a Shadowhunter who isn’t what he seems, and the devoted Jem, whose own deadly secret is slowly destroying him, Tessa must draw on all her strength to save her brother and keep herself alive in this deadly new world.
What I thought
As much as I love Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments (MI) series, the minute I picked up Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) I knew I was going to love it more. Clockwork Prince has been on my highly anticipated list as soon as I finished Clockwork Angel and as soon as this one came through the door, I couldn't help but pick it up immediately.
Tessa is a fantastic main female character and as much as I like Clary from MI, Tessa is always going to win hands down for me. Forced into an extremely terrifying situation, Tessa deals with things in Clockwork Angel with a great amount of strength and bravery. Her kick ass nature transfers perfectly into Clockwork Prince, where Tessa is about to face a whole load of new problems and situations. However, Tessa doesn't approach anything lightly. She doesn't jump into anything without thinking it through and she always does things with the best intentions and reasons. I loved that she had a very clear head and that she wasn't about to go and run straight into danger without knowing the reasons behind it first.
As this book is set in Victorian England, London to be more specific, a lot of detail has been put in to the scenery and settings. The streets, houses and rooms were described perfectly as well as smaller details like carriages and the outfits that everyone wears. Having a lot of this described really made me feel like a part of the story and made it possible to picture everything that was happening. Not only that but Tessa herself and her mannerisms are perfect. As a Victorian lady, Tessa must act in a certain way and is also supposed to think in a particular way. Ever so often, Tessa would find herself thinking in a way that was inappropriate or doing something that she probably wouldn't be and instead of just doing it anyway, she took the time to think about her actions and what would or could happen because of this.
Another wonderful aspect of this book is the use of literature. Tessa shows a true love for reading – both novels and poetry and because of this, I could connect with her really well. Between her and Will, there is a great banter back and forth concerning favourite books and why their choices were those exact books. I loved how Will randomly quoted authors and poetry throughout. The whole addition of literature gave Clockwork Prince a completely different feel to it compared with anything else I have ever written. The quotes used were extremely clever, well thought and out meaningful at the same time.
As YA books so often have a love triangle, I was originally hoping that this series wouldn't have one. It does. However, it is so cleverly written that I cannot help but love the situation that Tessa is in with two fabulous boys. Will is the adventurous, seemingly fearless boy that Tessa originally fell for. With Will pushing her away, not even being anywhere close to nice to her, she begins to be better friends with Jem who, although he is really ill, is sweet, sensitive and everything that Will is not. Will is not all he seems though and fights what he feels for Tessa whereas Jem is pretty open about how he feels. Instead of getting angry with Tessa for liking two boys, I actually sympathised with her. Both of them are wonderful characters who captured my own heart and I wouldn't know how to choose between them either. The nice thing too, was that Tessa felt terrible about not knowing what to do instead of thinking 'oh, I can just play them both and have the best of both worlds'. A quick note too... YA is normally pretty tame but Cassandra Clare throws in some especially steamy scenes that I was not expecting at all.
When it comes to the love triangle, what sets it apart from others is that Will and Jem are parabatai, blood brothers, best friends – they are everything to each other. Normally, a love triangle consists of two guys who aren't friends or can't even stand each other but this is where this one differs. The bond that Will and Jem share is something extremely special and a great bromance to read about. I loved getting to know how this came to be and why they meant so much to each other and also how far they would go to protect one another. Their friendship seems pretty solid and although it may look like nothing could ever come between them, I wonder if Tessa will eventually. The whole interaction between Jem, Will and Tessa was a very interesting thing to read about as the dynamics of the relationships between all three characters is complex but addictive at the same time.
Although the characters bring a hell of a lot to the story, the plot is just as amazing. Sucked into a Victorian world full of mystery, intrigue and secrets, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what was happening. With Tessa coming into her own in regards to her power, she is still unsure of what she actually is and even though there are hints all over the place, nothing is ever revealed fully. Then there is the mystery of Will. He has a massive secret and finding out his answers was one of the best parts of the book for me. Bad things are happening all over the place... Tessa's brother is up to no good, people are being blamed all over for things they may or may not have done and Tessa is still in danger herself. In a race against time, these great characters must figure out what is going on quickly or it may be too late for some. The pacing throughout is spot on, being exciting for the most part but also having some slower, more sensual and slower moments where I could really revel in the romance of the story.
For those others who have been waiting for this for a long time, you will not be disappointed. Clockwork Prince comes in a very close second to be my favourite book of the year!