Opinion, Review

Review: Clockwork Princess

THE INFERNAL DEVICES ARE WITHOUT PITY.

THE INFERNAL DEVICES ARE WITHOUT REGRET.

THE INFERNAL DEVICES ARE WITHOUT NUMBER.

THE INFERNAL DEVICES WILL NEVER STOP COMING.

Clockwork Princess is the final book in Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy, a series following Victorian Shadowhunters as they battle the evil Mortmain and his clockwork creatures. Tessa Grey, the series’ protagonist, not quite human and not quite Shadowhunter, still finds herself having to choose between her love for Jem Carstairs, a Shadowhunter slowly dying from a magical drug, and her love for his parabatai Will Herondale, who is as reckless as he is sarcastic. As you’d expect from the final book in this series, there’s plenty of love triangle drama, fight scenes, witty characters and fast-paced plot to keep you interested. But that said, was it a fitting end to the series? (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)

I’m going to be honest: The Infernal Devices is the first book series I’ve finished in at least five years (I finished the Maze Runner trilogy fairly recently, but it took me so long that there are now multiple spin-offs too). I didn’t finish The Mortal Instruments, but TID appealed to me so much more. I loved the Victorian time period and the London setting; I thought Tessa was a more compelling main character, and Will was more interesting than Jace Wayland; I adored Charlotte and Henry Branwell, and I was really happy that Magnus, possibly the best thing about TMI, showed up in TID too.

Here’s what I liked about the last book: Charlotte and Henry Branwell will forever be my favourite characters in this series. I love their relationship, Henry’s absent-mindedness and his undying love for Charlotte, Charlotte’s ability to be a fierce warrior but a loving, gentle mother-figure at the same time. I’ve liked Will throughout – the sarcastic, jaded characters are usually my favourite – and I liked his relationship with Tessa. I was so glad that Gideon and Sophie ended up together and that Sophie got to become a Shadowhunter too, because she was another favourite of mine throughout the books. On reflection, what I liked most about Clockwork Princess and about the series in general was the characterisation.

Now here’s what I didn’t like as much: the Jem storyline. I never really bought into Tessa and Jem as a couple, so the whole engagement felt clearly one-sided to me. I also didn’t love the notion of Jem becoming a silent brother: it was intended as a great reveal at the end of the book that Jem wasn’t dead after all, but I’d guessed that early on when we weren’t given a death scene and nobody in the Institute actually said that Jem was dead. I couldn’t shake what he’d said about not wanting to live a life where he couldn’t have Tessa or his violin either, and though it all ended happily in the epilogue, I thought it was a really out-of-character decision for him to make.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first two, but I didn’t think it was a bad end to the trilogy. It wrapped up what it needed to, it dropped a few references to TMI and it made the ending as happy as it could; I just felt like the first two books were stronger stories.

What did you think of Clockwork Princess, or The Infernal Devices as a whole? Let me know in the comments, follow me on Instagram @afewmorebooks for more bookish content, and thanks for reading!

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