Clockwork Prince: Infernal Devices Book 2 by Cassandra Clare

March 7, 2012
By jacqueline_d BRONZE, San Gabriel, California
jacqueline_d BRONZE, San Gabriel, California
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A center of online fandoms across the interwebs ever since it was introduced to the public, Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series has got thousands reading and flipping pages as fast as humanly possible. This sequel series [to her first, the Mortal Instruments], in my opinion, clearly surpasses its predecessor. In the Clockwork Prince, the second book in the Infernal Devices, Clare unleashes fully-fledged action, heart-stopping suspense, tortured romances, never ending drama --and to top it off, it’s all taking place in Victorian England. Could it get any better? The answer is yes.

First and foremost, I have fell in love with the characters. It has been a while since a female protagonist that didn’t aggravate me came along. The main character, Tessa Gray, is not only intelligent, but she is also independent. She learned to rely on her own abilities and wit to get her through life, rather than devoting her time to superficial things or desperately searching for love. From the beginning of the story to the end, Tessa lived by her own principles and beliefs which I truly admire in a character. Meanwhile, other female protagonists are still waiting for their prince to come save them from their impending doom. In the Clockwork Prince, Tessa is being sought out by the Magister- an ominous figure who plans to bring an end to the race of Shadowhunters using mechanical creatures- because of her unusual ability to change into different people and access their minds. Living under the same roof in the London Institute are William Herondale and James Carstairs. These are two boys that will reduce your heart to a molten puddle of endless “aww’s.” Will Herondale portrays himself as sarcastic, cocky, and self-isolated. “Will had leaped to his feet and swung around, eyes blazing” (p21). A boy with a troubled past, shrouded in mystery is just too difficult to resist. Inner turmoil doesn’t allow him to show his feelings. “Over the past 5 years Will had trained himself well not to show emotion- surprise, affection, hopefulness, joy” (p41). On the other hand, Jem Carstairs is sweet, gentle, and kind. He shows sympathy and will lend a helping hand to those in adversity. The only catch is that Jem is slowly dying due to a drug his body needs to survive. Knowing this, Jem does not want to impose trouble on those in the Institute and feels helpless when having to rely on them because of his condition. Still, he constantly puts others before himself. “She had taken him for granted, she thought with surprise and shame, watching the flickering candlelight. She had assumed his kindness was so natural and so innate, she had never asked herself whether it cost him any effort. Any effort to stand between Will and the world, protecting each of them from the other. Any effort to accept the loss of his family with equanimity. Any effort to remain cheerful and calm in the face of his own dying.” The supporting characters: Jessamine, Nathaniel, Charlotte, Magnus, The Lightwoods, etc. have their own distinguishing role in the plot as well, making them just as relevant.

Romance. It’s what we’re all here for isn’t it? In truth, Will and Jem have taken us fangirls out of reality and have immersed us in their fictional world. I think the relationship between the two is absolutely heartwarming. “Bromance”- as we like to call it. As parabatai- Shadowhunter partners bound to each other until death- Will and Jem, though they are not family, share a bond that goes beyond blood relation. “If I was harsh with you, it was because I cannot bear to see you treat yourself as if you are worth nothing. Whatever part you might act to the contrary, I see you as you really are, my blood brother. Not just better than you pretend to be, but better than most people could hope to be.” Both of them bring out the best in each other and are always there to support one another. “Being around Will was uncomfortable in most circumstances; only with Jem there was it bearable. Somehow, Jem was able to whittle down Will’s sharp edges and make him nearly human” (p34-35). The fact that either of the two would be willing to give up their own happiness, or their own life for that matter, for the other is tear-jerking. All is good and well until Tessa becomes part of the picture. Thus, a love triangle is in place.
Will loves Tessa. “‘I did it because I love you!’ he half shouted, and then, as if registering the shocked look on her face, he said in a more subdued voice, ‘I love you, Tessa, and I have loved you, almost since the moment I met you’”(p64). Jem loves Tessa. “He flushed, the color dark against his pale skin. ‘I mean,’ he said, ‘Tessa Gray, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?’” (p428). Tessa loves both Jem and Will. We have a situation here. “She hated that Will had this effect on her. Hated it. She knew better. She knew what he thought of her. That she was worth nothing. And still a look from him could make her tremble with mingled hatred and longing. It was like poison in her blood, to which Jem was the only antidote.” The love triangle that has spawned between these characters will inevitably end with someone’s heart being broken. “‘This has something to do with Tessa doesn’t it?’” (p41). The question is who. It was only a matter of time until the love rivalry between Will and Jem was addressed. However, the prospect of any one of the three having to give up on love and be alone is unbearable. The way Clare sets up this love triangle is incredibly clever. She waits until we fall in love with the three, then wrench our hearts into confusion over the issue: Will?Tessa or Jem?Tessa. The final outcome is guaranteed to be bittersweet.
Averting from the world of Shadowhunters, Downworlders, Faeries, and Warlocks for a moment, I would like to acknowledge Cassandra Clare’s writing style. I absolutely adore the way she writes. She manages to write sophisticatedly, realistically, et in a way that is understandable to readers. Props to Clare for being able to write a story in which the paranormal elements are kept to a minimum. Many authors focus too much on the outworldly aspects in their novel rather than the actual plot. This common digression from the plot can turn a potentially good book into prose about vampires or angels… or something of the sort. Also, the language Cassandra Clare uses can express so much more than the literal meaning. Not only does this keep readers interested, it gets them anticipating- wanting more. In addition, the use of foreshadowing to create suspense is quite commendable. Little by little, Clare drops hints and clues that keep you on your toes. I believe the plotline and construction of the Infernal Devices overshadows that of the Mortal Instruments. In the “Book World” that is so rare—to have a sequel rival the original. Usually, the second time around authors fall short of our expectations. In this case, though, it seems that Clare has improved rather than regressed. I find that the Infernal Devices makes you think. It’s deeper htan the Mortal Instruments Series. How I know this is from first person experience. More than just a few times, I found myself just sitting in my bed after reading, pondering over the chapter I had just finished. I have no doubt this will become a timeless series that I can read over and over again. Too all that read it, I hope you fall in love with it as much as I did. Tessa, Will, and Jem await. Shadowhunters do it better- always.
Pulvis et umbra sumus.- We are dust and shadows.

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