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Sunday, 10 January 2016

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (Infernal Devices, #2) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

Love and lies can corrupt even the purest heart...

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Edition: Paperback
Pages: 496
Chapters: 21 (Plus a prologue.)
Publisher: Walker Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

I've enjoyed my share of fantasy worlds, but very few are as potent and powerful as Cassandra Clare's. With The Mortal Instruments series I was awed, with The Infernal Devices, I am in complete shock with how confidently Clare creates and how high she keeps the quality.

It's utterly bewitching.

Clockwork Prince follows on smashingly from Clockwork Angel, and is a suspenseful sequel full of mystery and magic right from the get-go.

SPOILER WARNING

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Tessa Gray and the shadowhunters of London search tirelessly for the evil Magister before he can destroy them, but their enemy has vanished.
With him go the secrets to Tessa's past.
Intent on the truth, our cast throw themselves down dark paths, ready and willing to fight the creatures that dwell there.
But as emotions and histories arise to cloud their judgement, enemies descend.
And they descend from within...

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

We've already established that the series' world is supernaturally awesome, and the author instantly drives that home from beginning to end. I would've liked a little more recap near the beginning, some more tidbits to help jog those memories from the first book, but overall, Clare does a fantastic job of pulling together the many, many threads and giving them meaning.

The overhanging 'big plots' demand answers: Tessa's origin; Mortmain's whereabouts and dastardly plans; Jem's illness; the threat of traitors; the will-they-won't-they romance (not usually so keen on heavy romance, and Clockwork Prince definitely has a sharp focus on it, but there's also a healthy dose of the fantastical to keep it balanced). The amount of story is just amazing, and all of it resolutely riveting. 

While not as urgent as its predecessor, this entry to the series does manage to pull together some tragic and massive events, and the good spattering of adrenaline-infused action is glorious. The twist with Jessamine as the traitor is sadly not surprising. The blurb on the back of the book hints at a betrayer, and instead of secrecy, Clare all but puts a neon sign above Jessamine's head.

We're also treated to an almost joyous ending that I did not expect. There are obviously surprises to darken the light, but it's full of happiness. The author ensures it won't last though; there are so many things hanging precariously over the edge of a cliff that it's insane to even think about happiness.

Personally, while I do love the ending to Clockwork Prince, as a bridge between the first and last entries of the trilogy, it isn't as action-packed or engaging as I hoped it'd be.

Pace - 4/5 Stars

Overall, there's so much going on that it's a bloody pleasure to adventure through this novel. The progression of the plot is solid; the characters and their developments are gold; and the writing is smooth and makes for wonderful reading.

For me, though, there can sometimes be too much of a spotlight on the love triangle consisting of Tessa, Jem and Will. If it weren't for the phenomenal overall experience and the way everything fits together perfectly, I'd have hated the focus on romance. Scenes can also meander a little sometimes.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

The cast are as infectious and distinctive as the first novel built them to be. The varying personalities and flavours of humour hit the mark, and the camaraderie is unflinching. Clockwork Prince spends a lot of its time working through our characters' pasts, expanding them and giving us clearer motives and insights. The balance with the plot is stellar.

Perhaps the biggest part to this entry is the love triangle. Yep, we have a tumultuous and terribly risky romance on several different fronts. You know how I feel about heavy, lovey-dovey romance, but there are instances where I'm guilty of being a big softy, and this is one. Credit mostly goes to the three involved (and of course the author): Tessa, Jem and Will.

Tessa didn't sit perfectly with me in Clockwork Angel, there's just something missing. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is in Clockwork Prince that pulls her together, but she finally fits. Her stoicism and bravery are awe-inspiring, and the love she holds for both Jem and Will is natural and understandable. Clare gets it exactly right. Instead of coming across as sly and greedy, you really feel Tessa's confusion.

Along with her love interests, all three are hugely likable, to the point that you don't want to see any of them hurt, be that physically or emotionally.

The rest of the cast also worm their way into your heart, with the exception of poor Jessamine. Her plot, while solid, doesn't strike in the way it could have if there'd been more surprise to her intentions.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

Hauntingly beautiful. I adore Clare's style and structure.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

Doesn't quite reach its predecessor's height, but Clockwork Prince is a damn fine novel that comes mighty close.


Previous Instalment: Clockwork Angel
Next Instalment: Clockwork Princess


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