Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: September 2013
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ .5
 – Spoilers within brackets
Plot: A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.
There’s a really large gap between me finishing Clockwork Prince and picking up Clockwork Princess and there are so many reasons, a lot that I’d forgot before I’d started on the last installment of The Infernal Devices but I’ve been lovingly reminded with a slap in the face.
I’m up and down with the world of the Shadowhunters. I actually love the premise; the idea that a race of being protect the humans from demons and downworld creatures that want to kill us and other bad stuff. And while this race is part angel and ~~magical~~ they have a lot of flaws; elitism, prejudice, and traditionalism which makes them seem awful a lot of the time. It’s a great idea, and through the NUMEROUS series that Cassie Clare has written or planned, we get to see different characters from different parts of the world experience this destined life.
But then there’s things that bog down almost all YA books, and I just don’t get the hype around them. No, wait, I do though.
Throughout reading Clockwork Princess, I was cursed with the never ending frustration of wanting to look at the bloody family tree printed on the inside of the dust jacket. I was itching to finish the book so as not to spoil myself. And that’s when I realised, this is what people come for. Readers (including me), love a rich, long list of characters that are linked and related to each other across time and space and blood. It’s one of the reasons I love Harry Potter, but the velocity at which the Shadowhunter world characters are linked is unremarkable. And this is where The Infernal Devices comes in.
But here’s where The Infernal Devices falls flat for me; the romance(s).
THERE’S JUST SO MUCH ROMANCE.
We’ve got the whole Will – Tessa – Jem thing which, honestly, is so polite that it drives me insane. Rather than wanting you to ‘pick a side’, Cassie Clare has created characters that are so damn lovely to each other that the end result is not only predictable, but ridiculous. Just because they speak softly to each other and are careful not to stand on eggshells around each other, doesn’t mean that their intentions are not different. It was no surprise that [Tessa ends up with both Will and Jem at some point in her infinite life, because it’s a love triangle without conflict disguised as ….I don’t even know??!]. I think the romances between these three characters would have been a lot more interesting and unique if it was poly-amorous. It doesn’t even have to be that, but Will and Jem’s just more romantic; it easily could have been (some of the scenes can be interpreted as romantic anyway) and would have done something much more beautiful and diverse and just… can you imagine? It would amp up the tension and the emotion and the love to 11. But, as with a lot of YA novels, there’s just ridiculous declarations of love and falling love and instalove. For the amount of crap that these characters go through, you’d think that love isn’t so important, that kinda love anyway.
Which brings me onto the silliest thing that happens in the books; the pairing up of characters.
Sometimes, characters begin the story as single. A lot of the time, they find a romantic partner towards the end. It’s a big plot point in YA stories and that’s FINE (I guess). But when it gets to the point where you’re matching characters together as if tying shoe laces, it gets annoying, samey, and boring. There’s nothing wrong with characters being single, with not finding someone to fall in love with. Considering some of these characters, we don’t really know too well. But you can tell from a mile off that they’re gunna get paired off because they’re opposite sex and around the same age. It’s just not necessary! I don’t care about it enough!
I’m loving the tv adaptation, Shadowhunters, at the moment. I don’t know if it’s because it’s fun to laugh at or because I genuinely love the back and forth characters have, but it’s making me stick with this world. I’m so eager to read Lady Midnight and I don’t know why, because I definitely know one of it’s main themes is romance, and I don’t know if I can handle any more. I’ve given up on TMI, stopping at the end of City of Glass because of the poor dialogue and the boring writing, so I honestly can’t say if I’ll enjoy The Dark Artifices or not, but who knows?
Despite complaining a lot in the review, there were still elements of this series I enjoyed. I enjoyed Henry Branwell’s character, who seemed the only one immune from silly romance only because he was married already and had other things to worry about. I also love the setting; Victorian England is one of my favourite time periods to visit and this series is on top of all the polls that recommend it, so how could I not? I especially enjoyed the epilogue, which of course I won’t talk about too much, but it was bittersweet, and ended the series nicely…albeit with a few more predictabilities.