(Cover picture courtesy of Mundie Source.)
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the friendly devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
After reading Clockwork Prince, I’m starting to like The Infernal Devices even more. Finally characters like Will and Jessamine acquire depth and I can actually sympathize with them. Whereas Clockwork Angel focused mainly on Tessa’s entrance into the world of the supernatural, Clockwork Prince focuses more on the characters and setting up the final book, Clockwork Princess. We also get a lot more information about the world of the Shadowhunters, which builds on both the first book and the parallel series, The Mortal Instruments.
Tessa is still a strong character in this book and readers will feel her love for Jem, but also her growing attraction to will, despite his horrible behavior toward her at the end of the first book. She hates her brother Nathan for betraying her and the Shadowhunters, yet she still has a bit of sisterly affection for him, even if she doesn’t want to admit it. Her choices in this novel have direct consequences for the people she loves, so Tessa is even more conflicted about her decisions than before. Will also acquires a lot more depth and I actually feel sorry for him as he uncovers an ironic tragedy worthy of Sophocles himself.
The plot of Clockwork Prince is moderately fast and almost every scene advances the action. What I admire most about Cassandra Clare is that she perfectly intertwines her two series together so that if you read them in order of release, you will have a much richer experience. From a marketing perspective, the way she releases these books is brilliant because fans of the first three books will want to keep reading The Mortal Instruments to see what happens to Clary and the others. They’re also more likely to read The Infernal Devices because it gives them some backstory on some of their favourite characters. It’s hard to read one series without reading the other. Brilliant.
I give this book 4/5 stars.