I was so happy when Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare was released on March 19th on our 25th wedding anniversary. :D But I must say that I approached reading the book with much fear and loathing as I knew that there was no way it could end happily. After all, Cassie said that the series is a loose retelling of A Tale of Two Cities, and everyone remembers how that book ended for Sidney Carton. Because I love most of the characters in the Infernal Devices series, especially Will and Jem, I didn't want a sad ending for anyone. What a conundrum this series has become for me and millions of readers worldwide!
Let me give you a brief synopsis of the series so far. Tessa Gray has left New York for Victorian London to find her brother who's been working for the evil Mortmain. Mortmain is building an army of advanced automatons to destroy the Shadowhunters. Shadowhunters are Nephilim, or children of the angel. They have superhuman abilities that protect normal people, or Mundanes, from Downworlders (fairies, vampires, werewolves, and warlocks) and demons. Mostly they hunt and kill demons before they harm Mundanes. The question is why does Mortmain hate Shadowhunters so much, and why does he need Tessa Gray to bring about their destruction?
Early in the first book Clockwork Angel, Will rescues Tessa from Mortmain's clutches, and the London Institute doesn't know what to do with Tessa. She has abilities like a warlock, but she is unmarked. What exactly is she? Will's best friend and parabatai Jem becomes infatuated with Tessa, and Tessa has feelings for both Will and Jem. Jem is dying from a demon attack, and the only thing that's keeping him alive is a drug that will also kill him eventually. Will is cruel to everyone except Jem, and he pushes everyone away because he's harboring a devastating secret. Although the love triangle between Tessa, Will, and Jem is a big part of the series, don't be fooled into thinking that the series is only about them. Magnus Bane plays a huge role in the story, and some of the minor plots are intriguing, too.
So the big question is: Who will Tessa choose if she is even given the choice? The second big question: What exactly is Tessa? Let me just say that Cassie is a literary genius. Although I cried the entire second half of the book, Entertainment Weekly was correct in saying that Clockwork Princess does have a satisfying ending....if you can make it to the Epilogue, of course! ;P But please make sure you have plenty of tissues on hand and chocolate. You'll need it!
As much as I love TMI (The Mortal instruments), I think I like this series a wee bit better. Cassandra Clare makes Victorian London come alive, and I like the Steampunk vibe of the series. Clare also includes literary quotes at the beginning of each chapter that relate to the chapters' content. I truly enjoyed the quotes in this installment because she quoted one of my favorite poets Gerard Manley Hopkins several times. Clare's books make me want to channel Grigg from The Jane Austen Book Club. He read every book referenced in his assigned book, Northanger Abbey. I would love to slowly read through the Infernal Devices series and do the same. Does that make me a nerd? ;P
I have stated before that I think Cassandra Clare is by far the best young adult writer, and she just keeps improving with each and every book she writes. She is starting a new series based in present-day Los Angeles called The Dark Artifices with Emma Carstairs as the heroine. *squee*