Just finished reading Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare which is the 2nd in the Infernal Devices series of books. The second book picks up immediately where No.1 left off. It’s quite possible that this review will include spoilers and although I usually try my best to avoid these I don’t think I’ve succeeded this time! So be warned…
I don’t want to go into great detail about the plot but this particular books focuses on the trouble faced by those at the Institute for what is seen as their error in the whole ‘Mortmain’ affair and his subsequent disappearance – and more importantly the lack of confidence that the other Shadowhunters/Clave now have in Charlotte’s ability to continue running the Institute – as such she is given an ultimatum which if she doesn’t fulfill will have severe consequences.
Strangely enough I hadn’t really fancied becoming involved in this series. I’m not overly fond of going back in time and reading about earlier events once I already know what’s going to happen in the future. Plus I wasn’t sure how Victorian England would lend itself to shadow hunters, particularly from the female’s point of view – couldn’t imagine all the bustles, long skirts and stays and corsets being terribly helpful when you’re fighting a demon (or more to the point trying to run away from one!) However, I was very pleasantly surprised with the first novel – it had a steampunk feel and Victorian London really lent itself to the story with it’s foggy streets and dark alleys, it was packed with action, demons and mechanical objects with automatons playing a very large role and I enjoyed it.
The second book I didn’t enjoy as much. I know I’ll probably be beaten with a big stick now by all of CC’s massive fan base but before you all rush out with your pitchforks baying for blood let me just qualify that remark. I don’t think it’s a bad book but it certainly wasn’t as good as No.1. It didn’t really seem to have much action, there was no real shadowhunter business, it had a definite ‘middle book syndrome’ feel and I felt it was all more about setting up this whole love triangle thing between Will, Tessa and Jem. I suppose bluntly put it wasn’t what I was expecting and so whilst it’s not a bad book, and I have to hand it to CC because she can certainly crank up the tension between these players, she knows how to create a drama and she can write a bit of a steamy scene between two people (within the constraints of YA that is!). But, personally, I was hoping for more of the action, chasing bad guys, demons popping up and waving tentacles, automatons chasing people, gadgets, fog, you get the picture – that I enjoyed in the first! Plus, I’m not overly fond of this whole love triangle thing that is so popular at the moment. It made me feel bad for Jem. And it made me lose some respect for Tessa. I didn’t think she treated Jem very well. He’s a great guy, he’s really lovely and I don’t think he should be treated as second best – come on girl, stop acting like a two faced mare! Just because you don’t think one relationship is working doesn’t mean you just accept the next thing that comes along – her heart isn’t really in it and I just don’t think it’s fair on Jem who seems to have no idea of the real feelings that Will and Tessa have for each other. Enough said! Mini rant over.
So, on the whole, whilst I think the majority of CC fans will not be disappointed and I think the romance elements will be eagerly read I was hoping for a little more along the lines of the first novel and I felt a little disappointed that it was less about the action and more about the emotional web. Just not what I was expecting I guess. I imagine No.3 may throw us back into the thick of things (or at least I hope so). I wouldn’t like to think that the Shadowhunter series is simply going to become about Jem loves Tessa, Tessa loves Will, Tessa likes Jem, Will loves Tessa, etc, etc.
Forgot to mention that Magnus makes his appearance again in this story – I love that guy – he is a real character and enjoyable to read. I certainly would not object to him being given more air time!
Not a bad read, quite enjoyable, not what I was hoping for though and hoping that No.3 gets back on track.
Frankly I didn’t expect to like this novel even though I enjoyed the Mortal Instruments by the same author. I think I prejudged it really. I just didn’t fancy reading the prequels. I suppose I don’t like the idea of going ‘back’ to see what was the motivation behind a novel or series of novels after I’ve already read later episodes. A little bit like the Star Wars films – I watched the first three and I didn’t want to watch the three ‘new’ films that were then made at a later point. It’s a bit like somebody writing a prequel to Rebecca or Gone With the Wind, I mean, really, so what?? I don’t want to read some prequel about Scarlett O’Hara as a little girl. Plus I didn’t really like the idea of the timeframe that the new books were set in – not because I don’t like novels of that era but simply because it didn’t appeal to me this type of action novel being set in that period. I just thought it would be too restrictive. The first three novels had quite a bit of action in them and we are dealing with Shadowhunters so that doesn’t really lend itself very well to bustling dresses and parasols.
Anyway, I was totally wrong. I think this book was brilliant. I picked it up with misgivings but within, literally, a few pages it totally had me hooked. There were of course lots of similarities between Jace and Clary (but again reading any type of novel about attraction resonates at a certain level) and after all you’re still reading about Shadowhunters and the world that they live in. No, I really liked this book. I liked the writing, the people, the plot, the timeframe.
And, it’s amazing how the author completely adapted her writing style to fit into the period (not to mention that this novel is based in London). I just really didn’t think it would fit but CC made it totally believable. A few familiar faces popped up here and there which was good. The story was new and believable and you might guess a bit of the story here and there but I think it was a good plot overall.
I really liked this book, and, I don’t think I actually have any criticisms which is a first for me. I found this really absorbing – a total page turner. And I can’t wait for the next book. In fact if I had to choose which was my favourite setting for this story i.e. the current day Mortal Instruments or the more historical Infernal Devices I think it would be a difficult choice because I really do like the earlier period but then I do enjoy reading books from that era. That being said I would probably still err on the side of Mortal Instruments for the moment – but only because I’ve read all three so I’ll reserve making my judgement until I’ve read all three of the Infernal Devices. Can’t wait.