I hope you enjoyed my post on Wednesday. I still can’t quite believe that I’m actually sticking to a schedule for once! Today’s post is, as promised, on Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series. There may be spoilers my friends, so proceed with caution…
Before I get properly started on reviewing these books, I suggest you watch my video below as an introduction to the series. Please head on over to YouTube and give it a like. You can subscribe to my channel while you’re there 😉
So, now that you’ve seen that, we can get on with the full review!
The first book in the series, as I said, is Clockwork Angel. Now, the thing about Cassandra Clare is that while it may come across as a typical Young Adult novel, her books never are. There are complex emotional ties between her characters, and as someone who becomes very quickly entangled in the lives of book characters, I tap into these connections as well. Clare is an expert at creating well-developed characters and clear relationships between them. Will and Jem are parabatai (like brothers but much, much closer), and Tessa is a mystery. There are more characters, obviously, but these are the main three.
Once Will saves Tessa from the Downworlders who kidnapped her in the first chapter of the book, she becomes involved in the Shadowhunter world, learning more about herself and special powers that she has – she can Change into anyone as long as she has touched something belonging to them. She feels a strong and immediate connection to Will, he did save her life after all, but he is in the habit of pushing everyone away and so Tessa doesn’t really know where she stands.
In the meantime, a mysterious figure called The Magister is working on a devious invention – his Infernal Devices, scary, scary automatons – an invention designed to destroy Shadowhunters once and for all. The first book carries a lot of subterfuge, sneaking into parties, changing into vampires, steamy balcony kisses, and a surprising night-time encounter with the dashing – and unfortunately terminally ill 😦 – Jem Carstairs (cue cheeky eyebrow wiggle).
There is a big thing with Tessa’s brother, the whole reason she came to London in the first, in the course of which we get the discovery of the Magister’s true identity. While not a total surprise when you get to it, it is perhaps slightly unexpected. Although I will say, with a name like his, it kind of makes sense.
The first book gives you an introduction to the whole series, although of course there’s a lot more exposition in the Mortal Instruments series, which is understandable given that that was her first series. The Clockwork Angel sets up all the drama, ending with the first of many heart-wrenching moments in this series as Will pushes Tessa away completely.
The second book, The Clockwork Prince gives us a lot of the story behind the Magister’s motivation for doing what he does. He is, in fact, the Clockwork Prince himself. The automatons become more advanced as the Magister works towards his endgame – linking the automatons with demon spirits stolen from the Institute (I know this is all very confusing, but it makes much more sense in the book – trust me). There is more Will drama, which is a bit sad, but still awesome, and we learn more about Will’s motivation for being a general arse. At the same time, the relationship between Jem and Tessa is growing and getting stronger, and we learn more about Tessa’s past.
Of the three books, this one is possibly my favourite. Although it’s definitely a toss-up between this and The Clockwork Princess, and they’re all fantastic. There’s just something about this one. The love-triangle, because that’s essentially what it is, is totally different from any other rendering of that most irritating of YA tropes. It’s more like an intertwined knot of friendship and love. Even though Jem and Will don’t have a homoerotic relationship at all, there are necessarily brought closer by their parabatai bond, although I will say that there’s something much more to it than that. Jim is deeply in love with Tessa. So, as we discover, is Will. And Tessa loves both of them with all her heart. There is one quote in this series that really summed it up for me – “Most people are lucky to have even one great love in their life. You have found two.” This said by Woolsey Scott, the Praetor Lupis in this series (that’s leader of the werewolf pack to those of you not in the know 😉 ) and it just says everything. This isn’t a case of Tessa loving either Jem or Will more than the other. She loves them both equally. And as she says herself, “I could not have loved Will so much if I had not loved [Jem] as well. And I could not love you as I do if I had not loved Will as I did.” The three of them are so closely connected in a way I have never encountered before. Clare has wrought these three characters so beautifully from the fabric of her world. I can’t tell you how much I truly adore them. There is only one group of friends that I have read about so far that surpass these three for me, and that is Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and they only really go past Jem, Will, and Tessa because I grew up with the Golden Trio.
That was a very long paragraph…
And it also said quite a bit about The Clockwork Princess. I won’t go into vast detail, because I want you all to go and read these books and love them, because I do. Even though I am likely never, ever, going to read them again. Maybe in ten years when I’ve forgotten how much this last one made me cry. That’s really all I’m going to say about the last book in this trilogy. It made my heart hurt.
So with that very vague and probably dissatisfying assessment of The Infernal Devices, I urge you to tell me what you thought of the books if you’ve read them, or go and read them yourselves right now if you haven’t. I do ask that you don’t throw sharp objects in my general direction once you’ve finished 😉
Obviously, there will be a normal post from me next Wednesday and then look out for another video post next Friday about my trip to Abergavenny with the beautiful Poppy. (Check out her blog here, and her own video of the trip here.)
’til next time, readers!