Up until a week ago I was one of those people who had loved The Mortal Instruments series, but had never read beyond them. I loved the shadowhunter world and the dynamics of the characters so much that I was afraid that being in that same world but with different character will never measure up. But I saw the excitement about The Lord of Shadows coming out and I decided that maybe it might be worth it after all. I wanted to read Lady Midnight and I happened to have already purchased it, but the thing is that everyone advises to read TID before moving on to Lady Midnight. So I did what any self-respecting book nerd would and immediately went to the bookstore to purchase all three books. I started reading them on Monday and I just finished Clockwork Princess. That’s how good they were…I read the entire trilogy in less than a week and I’m not even ashamed to admit it. Granted, me being sick and in bed surely helped, but still…
I thought that nothing in the Shadowhunter world would ever measure up to the adventures and characters of The Mortal Instruments, but truth be told, I liked this story even more! Not to mention the intricacy that went into weaving the connections between the separate series. I loved these books beyond what I hoped and I am so happy that I read them. I cannot wait to move on to Clare’s next series, starting with Lady Midnight. But first, I will tell you some of my thoughts on Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princes. Mainly because I really want to talk about these damn books.
The introduction into the world was so smooth, mainly because we had already been introduced. The characters that we get to meet in the Infernal Devices Trilogy are so amazing that they almost rival my love for the ones in the Mortal Instruments.
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS
Tessa travels from New York to London to meet her brother Nat, but upon arrival she is met by two creepy women who provide her with a letter from Nat, telling her to trust them. They end up taking Tessa and torture her to force her to develop abilities she never knew she had. She can shape-shift, but she does it unlike any other creature. She actually becomes the person she shifts into and she is able to hear their thoughts. One day, after countless shifts, she is rescued by young shadowhunters, who take her and bring her to their Institute to question her and keep her safe.
Will is a young shadowhunter, living in the London Institute. He has left his family and went to live there at the age of 12, vowing to never contact them again. It was in the Institute where he met his best friend and parabatai Jem. While Will is rude to everyone and appears to be unable to care for the people around him, he is always kind to Jem. The two of them understand each other perfectly and take care of one another. Will appears to like Tessa from the moment he rescues her, but for some reason keeps pushing her away by saying hurtful things. But maybe there is more to him…
Jem is also a young shadowhunter from the London Institute. He was young when his parents died and ended up being sent to London to live and learn. But Jem is sick and is likely to die at a very young age, being given only a couple more years to live. Will and the rest of his Institute family try to look after him, but he doesn’t care for their pity. Tessa and him meet and form a deep friendship. Tessa appreciates his kindness and ability to take whatever comes his way, despite how tough his life is.
Charlotte and Henry
When we meet Charlotte and Henry, they are a young married couple of shadowhunters who are in charge of the London Institute and all its inhabitants. They relationship seems strained as Charlotte is left to govern the Institute on her own as her husband is far more interested in his passion for building machines and devices. Henry loves his wife, but he is a dreamer to whom the politics of the shadowhunter world seem foreign. While the two seem a strange couple in the beginning, they prove how strong their bond is throughout the trilogy. Charlotte is a mother figure to Jem, Will, Tessa and Jessamine. She stands up for them, loves them and ensures they stay safe. Yet she is not soft and is a great leader.
Jessamine is a also a ward of the London Institute. But unlike the others, she doesn’t want to be a shadowhunter and instead, wants to distance herself from the shadow world and live a normal life. She craves a husband and children that can take her away from the darkness of the Institute and make sure that she lives in a nice house with no contact with the supernatural. She is rude to everyone around her, making sure they understand her resentment. Her character is truly shown further in the series.
Nate is Tessa’s brother, whom she attempts to find and rescue. He went to London first and left Tessa with their aunt. When the aunt passed away, he asked Tessa to come and join him, but was kidnapped. Tessa’s love for her brother is demonstrated with her constant anxiety over his well-being. When he is found and is safe in the Institute, Tessa discovers that there are many things she doesn’t know about Nate and also many things she never would have imagined possible.
Book I: Clockwork Angel
This book was so easy to read and flowed beautifully. The story takes place in London in the 19th century and is so intense and suspenseful. While Cassandra Clare once again focuses on creating beautiful characters, the action from this novel is not missing at all. While Will was basically like a more-troubled version of Jace, that did not stop me from loving him. In this book, he was a tool, but reading it, I could tell that he will change and there will be a reason for his behavior that would make us love him even more. Tessa was a better version of Clary. She was smarter in her decision-making, more decisive and also very surprising at times. And Jem was just perfection. Too mature for his age and beautiful inside and out. What’s not to love?
The story was great. We see downworlders, machines, violence, love, magic and so much more. While it was nice to see some familiar faces, it was also great to once again immerse myself in the shadowhunter universe. We didn’t find out what Tessa was exactly and it was so exciting. Maybe she was a downworlder, but she didn’t bear their marks. She wasn’t a shadowhunter either, so what was she? I found this storyline so intriguing. Also, the machines. What is their ultimate purpose and why does The Magister want Tessa for? I love how all the shadowhunters from the London Institute took it upon themselves to find out, while never doubting Tessa’s innocence.
The moment that Tessa and Will shared was so precious but also heartbreaking after. I was thinking “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU IDIOT!!!!”, but I also knew that he really felt bad about speaking to her that was afterwards. I just really wanted to know why. The thing is that Jem then became front-runner for being Tessa’s guy. And I loved Jem, but I just didn’t see Tessa loving him with the passion that she felt for Will.
The automatons were such an interesting twist to the idea of the shadowhunter world. Going into the past (in comparison to the TMI) and facing the threat of machines was not what I expected. And then there is Nate and his betrayal. I thought he was shady but I didn’t see that coming AT ALL. Yes, we thought that the vampire was the Magister and then we found out that it wasn’t him but Mortmain. That did not shock me half as much as Nate’s cruelty and cold heart. My own heart broke for Tessa, knowing how much she loved her brother. And after Mortain and his automaton’s take over the institute while all the shadowhunters are away, Tessa almost sacrifices her life in order to make sure that he can’t use her. When Will returns, she appears dead, but ultimately turns out to have been faking it and is fine. But The Magister has stolen a box, containing demon energy and we start to realize what his true plan is.
We see Tessa want to talk to Will, but he basically tells her she would only be his booty call. I literally wanted to slap him. So she leaves, embarrassed and ashamed and ends up being consoled by Jem, who is unaware of what happened between her and Will. And the last page consists of Will looking for Magnus Bane’s help. When I read this, I thought “Finally in the next book we will know what the hell his deal is!” The thing is that even though he appeared so cold, he was heartbroken to actually be rude to her. He pretends to not care about anyone, but you can actually see through it and realize he’s truly a very loving character.
Book II: Clockwork Prince
This is the only book in the trilogy that I gave a 4 star rating. And it was honestly due to the “middle book syndrome”. The book felt like a filler in some parts and like it didn’t really have a purpose. Clockwork Angel also focused on character development, but this book appeared to only to that, lacking a bit in the action department. That being said, so much is revealed in this book that it makes it worth reading.
The Clave threatens to remove Charlotte as the head of the London institute if she is unsuccessful at finding Mortmain in 2 weeks, so they get to work immediately. If Charlotte is gone, then Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the Magister. Through research into the past, it is discovered that Mortmain’s issue with shadowhunters is personal and roots itself in his adoptive parents (both wizards) being killed by the Clave. But every move that the characters make is already known by Mortmain who is one step ahead.
Throughout all this, Tessa finds herself more and more drawn to Jem, but her heart still longs for Will. Her and Jem share an intimate moment that makes their relationship evolve as he declares his feelings. Meanwhile, Will tells the story of how he was cursed by a demon as a child to have everyone that loves him die. The next day his sister died and he has kept everyone away ever since. That is why he has pushed Tessa away as well. That almost broke my heart, I swear. I knew it was coming, but I did’t know what it was. So I just kept thinking “Maybe you and Jem should talk about Tessa or someone’s gonna get hurt!” But they never do.
We also meet the Lightwood brothers who appear to be foreign intruders, but I actually quite like them. They help train Tessa and Sophia and are kind to them most of the time. They seemed to become part of the dysfunctional family and I loved them. Meanwhile we know that Jessamine is going somewhere, dressed as a man and later, it is revealed that she was meeting Nate and she was giving them information. I couldn’t believe it. I thought she was cold due to her bitterness, but that she actually loved them all. I was so disappointed when I read that part. So she is taken into the Silent City and left there.
But the most shocking moments of the book were when Will had gotten rid of his curse (that was never real) and looks for Tessa to tell her how he really feels, only it is too late. She has agreed to marry Jem and Will has missed his shot. The love letter he wrote her spoke to my soul and I was half-tempted to want Tessa to break it off with Jem. But he is so good that I couldn’t bear to have him hurt. And then Charlotte announces that she is pregnant and I was so happy but also worried about what would happen in the last book. And bonus points? Will’s sister comes to the Institute to become a shadowhunter.
While Clockwork Prince wasn’t full of action, it was definitely full of revelations and character development, which wasn’t always a bad thing. I fell in love with all the characters even more and I couldn’t wait to know how their story would finish!
Book III: Clockwork Princess
For me, this was the best book in the trilogy by far! It was action-packed, heart-breaking and beyond exciting. I think it was the perfect conclusion to the story and fitting for a Cassandra Clare novel.
The book begins with a little history. We see Aloysius Starkweather, the Shadowhunter head of the York Institute, overseeing the marks being put on his granddaughter. The girl ends up burning from them and dying, but no one knew why she couldn’t handle being Made into a shadowhunter. Then we are transported to Jem’s arrival at the Institute as a child and how he did not cave before Will’s rudeness. He tells Will that he is dying without any fear and Will accepts him and befriends him. That is the start of their epic friendship. The story of Will and Jem was so touching, showing us a little boy that was afraid of being loved and him finding
After the two stories, we are transported back to the main story-line and Tessa is preparing for her wedding to Jem. She is in her wedding dress and I thought that she would have backed out by now, but she seems determined to marry him. I thought that she only felt a certain type of love for him that is reserved for friends and brothers, but it appears that she is in fact in love with both Jem and Will equally, while loving them differently at the same time. Her love for will burns fast and bright, and the one for Jem is slower and steady. Both of them love her as well, making this one of the best ever love triangles in YA.
Tessa is then kidnapped in the midst of a battle in front of the institute and taken to the Magister. It turns out that Jem has been taking more of his “medicine” in order to have a full life with Tessa, but he is burnt out and there is no more of the drugs anywhere. In a heartbreaking scene, Will and Jem talk and Will tells him about his feelings for Tessa and Jem asks him to go after her and find her. He leaves and halfway there, his parabatai rune starts to bleed and he feels his connection to Jem snap. Then we find out that Jem has died and I’ve never cried harder. This was definitely one of the most impactful scenes of the entire trilogy as we saw their relationship throughout the books.
In the meantime Will’s sister and one of the Lightwood brothers also form a bond, symmetrically to that of Sophie and the other Lightwood brother. Henry and Charlotte are more in-love than ever and they are so eager about their child coming soon. Will eventually finds Tessa and confesses to her that Jem is dead and that he loves her more than she will ever understand and then the two proceed to consummate their relationship then and there, demonstrating how fiery their relationship is. At that point I knew that my intuition was right as I was always a Will and Tessa shipper.
Charlotte, Henry and other shadowhunters, along with Magnus go to save them from Mortmain, but it was actually the essence of the angel that was in Tessa’s clockwork angel. The scene was so powerful and I thought that it was the most epic fight scene in the entire trilogy. Naturally, that is fitting for the last book, but still… But what we find out after was even cooler. Jem isn’t dead. He’s become a Silent Brother. What? WHAT? WHAAAAT? I was shook, because he had said that it was impossible for him. But he was. And him giving his blessing to Tessa and Will was so noble that it made me love him even more. It was a bit like we lost him but not completely, which was such a relief.
Tessa and Will spend their life together and have children and grandchildren, making for an epic love story. It was a perfect conclusion. Their Institute family remains intact throughout the years and you can feel the love. Then reading about Will passing away and Tessa having to live with his loss forever was once again heartbreaking. This book was all about give and take and it was perfect. So balanced that it was almost too much. Then ending was perfect in my opinion. Jem and Tessa meet every year on the bridge on the same day and in present day, he shows up as the Jem that we knew. Shadowhunter Jem is back and I had completely forgotten about that part of the Mortal Instruments. I was so immersed in the story and taken with the emotions that I FORGOT about it. So it shook me all over again. Perfect. Tessa loved Will for a lifetime and now she will love Jem just as much.