Clockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince and have enjoyed the trilogy immensely. It’s hard to write this review without spoilers, so I’m afraid it’s going to be a little shorter than usual.
Clockwork Princess picks up a few months after Clockwork Prince left off and jumps into action very quickly. It follows the story of Tessa, Jem, Will and friends as they confront Mortmain and his infernal devices for the final time. There’s love, heartbreak, battles, demons, kidnapping, daring-do, magic and generally all that we’ve come to expect from Clare’s books.
The Infernal Devices trilogy is hands-down the best example of a YA (or, thinking about it, any) love-triangle I have ever read. It’s handled beautifully and is so much more than just a plot device to annoy the heroine with. (Also, if you’re interested in the author’s thoughts on love triangles, you can read more SPOILER WARNINGLY here.) I wouldn’t be disappointed if I never read a love triangle YA book again (although, what are the chances of that?).
Clare deftly avoids an ending/climax resolution that could have been overly deus ex machina in the hands of another writer. In fact I’ve seen similar endings go that way, but Clare threw in the right amount of hints that it made perfect sense, even though I didn’t see it coming. Finally, I have to say, the epilogue had a bit of fanservice to it but not in a bad way; it was both heartbreaking and lovely. All in all, this is a concluding volume that most fans will love.
I highly recommend the Infernal Devices trilogy to fans of Victorian era stories and YA with paranormal elements. I do not suggest starting with Clockwork Princess under any circumstances, since it very much builds on the previous two books. Start with Clockwork Angel, if you’re new to the series. For people who read Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, I also recommend the Infernal Devices, even if you didn’t love the Mortal Instruments. The setting and characters are quite different and personally I prefer the Infernal Devices gang.
4.5 / 5 stars
First published: March 2013, Walker Books (UK edition)
Series: The Infernal Devices, book three of three
Format read: Trade paperback
Source: Purchased as a pre-order from Book Depository
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City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
City of Lost Souls is the fifth book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. You can read my reviews of the rest of the series at these links:
City of Lost Souls continues to follow Clary and Shadowhunter friends as they (mostly) fight the good fight and try to stop demons destroying the world.
I enjoyed City of Lost Souls much more than the previous book, Fallen Angels, which fell a bit flat for me. It picks up immediately where the story left off in book 4, and I was worried it would be more of the same in a bad way. But it wasn’t. I spent a lot of time shaking my head at Clary’s poor decisions but they were entirely in keeping with her character and none of them were overly stupid (something I hate), just risky.
In the previous book, I started to warm to Simon, Clary’s best friend, after being fairly ambivalent towards him in the original trilogy. He continues to increase in awesomeness, as do most of the Team Good (hehe) characters, with the exception of Alec to whom I was previously ambivalent and now spoilers. Perhaps it’s just that Alec dulls in comparison with Magnus, who had the most amusing lines in this one.
Vague review is vague, but it’s difficult to review a book 5 without spoilers for previous books. I have enjoyed this series (admittedly not as much as the prequel series set in 1870s London) and I highly recommend it to fans of urban fantasy YA. This is the only series featuring angels that I’ve read which hasn’t annoyed me with its religiosity. (Also, it has a Jewish vampire, what’s not to like?) If demon killing and humour sound like they might be your thing (kind of Buffy-style humour, although Clary and Buffy aren’t that similar), give the Mortal Instruments series a go.
4.5 / 5 stars
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Prince is the second book in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy. You can read my review of the first book, Clockwork Angel, here.
First up, I loved this book. I very much enjoyed the first one, but the familiarity with the characters in this sequel breeds ever wittier banter (or persiflage, as Jem puts it) and builds greater empathy for the characters as we watch thier hopes and dreams destroyed by tragic irony.
Clockwork Prince continues to follow Tessa, Will, Jem and the other inhabitants of the London Shadowhunter Institute as they continue their search for the arch-bad guy of the series. Along the way they encounter exploding automatons, magic and love. There are twists and reveals and minor characters with bigger roles. I particularly liked that we saw more of Magnus, partly because he’s cool and partly because I was looking forward to observing things which were alluded to in the Mortal Instruments (set in the present of the same world).
I liked the way Clare set up the love triangle in this series. Unlike some YA books (Twilight is an obvious example), it felt like Tessa had a real choice and up until things came to a head she really could have chosen either boy (whereas Jacob the werewolf in Twilight never had a chance). Also, choices have consequences something which Clare properly explores and will hopefully continue doing so in Clockwork Princess, the final instalment due out in 2013.
I don’t think I can say much more without spoilers. Clockwork Prince is an excellent read and I highly recommend the series to any fans of YA, steampunk or manner-punk. I also strongly suggest starting with Clockwork Angel, the first book in the series.
5 / 5 stars
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare is the first book in the Infernal Devices series, set in the same universe as The Mortal Instruments but in 1870s London instead of 2000s New York.
Tessa follows her brother from New York to London after her aunt dies but when she arrives it isn’t to find her brother waiting for her. Instead she captured by a pair of warlocks who torture her to force her to use a power she never knew she had. Then she is rescued by a dashing young Shadowhunter — one of the part human, part angels who act like the supernatural world’s police force and protect humans from them — and taken to London’s shadowhunter Institute. And so begins the quest to find her vanished brother and discover why she was captured and where her mysterious power comes from.
I very much enjoyed Tessa as a main character. First, her fascination with books automatically makes her appealing to this book lover. Second, although she can’t run around kicking arse like many YA heroines (because she doesn’t know how and also impractical dresses), she is clever and manages to use that to her advantage as much as (or more, really) than her power. I found it realistic that her attitude at the beginning, when confronted with female Shadowhunters, was “golly women need men to look after them” and enjoyed watching this change throughout the book.
The two male leads, Will and Jem, are both appealing. Will for his alternating snark and charm and Jem because he’s so damn nice. While I know I have at some point been spoiled for which boy Tessa ends up with, I couldn’t actually remember while reading which made it more exciting, particularly since it’s not yet resolved by the end.
Overall, Clockwork Angel was a great, steampunky read which I enjoyed more than I’ve been enjoying the Mortal Instruments series (which is also good). Recommending for lovers of steampunk, YA fantasy, or evil automatons.
4.5 / 5 stars
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare is the fourth book in The Mortal Instruments series, which was originally a trilogy. It picks up not very long after City of Glass left off. This review doesn’t contain spoilers, but if you’re looking to start reading this series, I definitely suggest starting from the first book. There’s a lot of continuity and character development throughout the books and I suspect they’ll make much less sense if you don’t read from the start. My reviews for the first three books in the Mortal Instruments series:
Right, now that’s out of the way, on to the review proper. City of Fallen Angels focusses more on Simon than the previous books have. This didn’t bother me since, despite hating Simon in the first two books, I found him suddenly more likeable in City of Glass. In City of Fallen Angels he continues to develop and mature and it’s clear at the end that there’s still space for him to continue to grow. It’s always good to see characters not be “complete” because that’s not how real life works.
Clary and Jace, of course, continue to feature prominently, of course. Their storyline, however, was fraught with angst. A different sort of angst to the previous books, which I found less interesting to read about. There was less tension and more moping on their parts.
I would have liked to have more Magnus and Alec in this one, but there wasn’t much room left over for them. I suspect/hope that we’ll be seeing more of them in the next book (and maybe Magnus in the prequel series, the Infernal Devices, which I have yet to read).
All the characters spent the first part of the book doing their own thing with their paths crossing occasionally up until it all came together at the climax. The problem was that, despite mysterious bad guys trying to kill one of the characters from the start, there wasn’t that much danger and the reader didn’t know who the bad guys were until the climax started. While it didn’t result in a boring story or anything like that, it was a little bit less exciting than the previous books. Especially juxtaposed with the immediate prequel, which involved an end-of-trilogy climax. That it ended on a bit of a cliff hanger with many things unresolved didn’t help either. (Especially since I won’t be able to read the next book for a little while :-/ )
All that isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy City of Fallen Angels, just that I didn’t think it was quite as good as it’s predecessors. I still recommend it to anyone who’s enjoyed the first three books. If you’re reading this and you’re new to the series, I definitely suggest starting with the first book, City of Bones.
4 / 5 stars
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
City of Glass is the third instalment in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. It was originally the last in a trilogy, but she’s since written, not only a prequel trilogy, but two more books following on from City of Glass. You can read my review of the first book, City of Bones, and the second book, City of Ashes at their respective links.
While I enjoyed City of Ashes, it was mostly for the continuation of story and more of the same enjoyable writing rather than something specific that grabbed me. Conversely, I found I had a stronger and more specific reaction to City of Glass.
My favourite aspect was the characters and their development. Over the past three books, all the central characters have grown and matured. The most obvious is Clary coming to terms with the world of Shadowhunters and miscellaneous supernatural beings and coming into her abilities. There’s also Jace coming to terms with who he is and who he wants to be (ambiguous to avoid spoilers) which is itself an interesting storyline. As a character brought up in the supernatural world, I liked that his place in the world wasn’t as clear cut as it first seemed or as a parallel character’s in a different book might have been.
My feelings changed the most over the three books towards Simon. I greatly disliked him in the first book, but by the third he was kind of endearing. His is also one of the most dramatic character journeys (for reasons which are spoilery). Personally, I went from hoping he would die in a demon attack to hoping he’d stick around for book four, so yay Simon. (Clary, Luke and Jace are still my favourites though.)
Being originally a trilogy book three, City of Glass has a lot of action and a climax worthy of an entire trilogy. Despite all the running around fighting, there’s still quite a bit of plot and character development, which was a nice balance. Overall, I enjoyed it very much.
I recommend The Mortal Instruments series to lovers of urban fantasy or YA fantasy. So far it’s been consistently well-written and engaging. However, I definitely don’t suggest starting with City of Glass. There’s a lot of continuity and it’s best to start with the first book, City of Bones.
4.5 / 5 stars
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare is the second book in the Moral Instruments series. You can read my review of the first book, City of Bones, here.
City of Ashes follows on pretty close to where City of Bones left off. It’s very much more of the same and definitely not in a bad way. A few new characters are introduced but the old characters we know and love take the centre stage. In fact, more of them have point of view scenes in the first book. This was a bit off-putting at first but I quickly got into the flow of it and enjoyed getting into more of their heads. There was one new character, the Clave’s Inquisitor, who had me wanting to punch her through the page and we all know such an emotional response is a sign of a well-written character.
The story revealed more of the history and mysteries of the world that were hinted at in City of Bones and it was nice to see Clary being accepted as one of the Shadowhunters, even if she’s never going to be fighter like Isabelle, Alec and Jace.
The ending was a bit of a cliff hanger (although I’ve read worse — no actual cliffs were involved) and makes me want to pick up the next book immediately, possibly on book-buying credit.
I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy and/or YA fantasy. I suggest starting from the first book, however, since I’m pretty sure City of Ashes won’t make as much sense otherwise and definitely contains lots of spoilers for City of Bones.
4.5 / 5 stars
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I’ve been meaning to read Cassandra Clare’s books for a few years now. I think the main reason it took me so long to get around to them was because (from the blurb) I was expecting them to be a but of fluff — a quick fun read like some YA books are. Not that there’s anything wrong with being fluff, but it meant I kept prioritising other books (and I think in Australia they were slightly more expensive than some YA books because of the format (trade paperback) but I might be wrong about that). Anyway, it was this (SPOILER-containing) blog post (/containing SPOILERS) by Cassandra Clare which made me realise there was probably more depth to the books than I had assumed from the covers and, ultimately, convinced me to read them sooner rather than later. So I did.
(Also, it’s being made into a movie and of course I have to read the books before the movies come out.)
City of Bones is the first of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. It’s set in New York (you can’t get much more urban fantasy than that) and the mythology reminded me a bit of Buffy in the sense that the good guys were mostly running around killing demons. Although vampires weren’t automatically evil as in Buffy. Also there were faeries, so not really all that similar. Anyway.
Shadowhunters are trained from an early age to fight demons and any half-demon creatures that step out of line (like vampires that decide to munch on humans, for example). Clary thinks she’s an ordinary girl until she sees three teenagers in a nightclub no one else can see. Also, they kill a vampire in front of her. Then her mother disappears and her whole world changes; Clary finds herself in the supernatural world, dragging her completely human best friend in with her.
One of the things I liked about Clary was that, unlike many didn’t-know-s/he-was-special stories, she isn’t some long-lost secretly superpowerful creature. She hasn’t been training to fight demons from an early age, so she kind of sucks at it. Although she has some natural talent, she pretty much just manages to be lucky enough not to get herself killed and that’s while she’s not actively fighting them. On the other hand, she also isn’t much of a damsel in distress, at least not once she gets over the whole “demons exist” thing, which is also nice.
I enjoyed the banter between Clary and the gorgeous-and-knows-it Shadowhunter, Jace. I wasn’t a big fan of most of the other characters, except for one that I can’t name because spoilers. Not that they were badly written, just that I’m not sure I would have liked them much as people. I did find them entertaining, though, and I got the feeling that I might grow to like them in later books as we get to know them better and as they grow.
City of Bones has everything a good YA urban fantasy should: magic, monsters, parties, flashy transportation, confusing crushes, betrayal, plots, supremacist bad guys and unrequited love. I enjoyed City of Bones and I’ll definitely be picking up the next book when I can *shakes fist at book buying restriction which means I can’t have it NOW*. It also gets an extra half a star for actually surprising me with a plot twist. Not too many books manage to surprise me these days.
4.5 / 5 stars