Double Review: ‘Clockwork Angel’ and ‘Clockwork Prince’ (Books 1-2 of the Infernal Devices Trilogy) by Cassandra Clare

‘Clockwork Angel: The Infernal Devices: Book 1’

Blurb from GoodReads:

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

Review:

There is just so damn much to recommend this book. In fact, this whole series. I think it reads stronger and more sophisticated than Clare’s ‘The Mortal Instruments’, even though I absolutely LOVE that series. For example, for me it is more atmospheric, more Gothic in tone, with original and interesting characters (um, HELLO, JEM!) I absolutely love the Victorian London setting- so different from The Mortal Instruments’ hip, buzzing New York- and yet so effectively rendered you actually feel as though you are in the London Institute with Tessa, who is an engaging, quick-witted character. I also loved a lot of the more minor characters too- yes, Will Herondale dominates a looooot of the plot, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing as he is gorgeous, clever and pretty magnetic- but I also loved feisty servant, Sophie, the bold, loyal Charlotte Branwell (head of the Institute,) and her daydreaming inventor of a husband, Henry. However, this novel isn’t without its flaws- I felt the plot dragged quite a lot with Will interminably quoting poetry and ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ to Tessa- not quite sure it’s the romantic novel that Clare thinks it is. The chapter titles and quotes at the beginning of the section also felt a bit wearing. However, this is without doubt an amazing beginning to the series. I also think the references to steampunk, automatons were clever and engrossing, and a wonderful scene where Tessa is trapped in the house of two demonic sisters was probably one of my favourite things to read EVER.

‘Clockwork Prince: The Infernal Devices: Book 2’

Blurb from GoodReads:

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart…

Review:

With this book, I felt as though ‘The Infernal Devices’ series really began to expand and grow. Yes, Jessamine the ever-reluctant Shadowhunter is ever-annoying, yes, Will keeps on quoting poetry, but we also get to see a LOT more of Magnus Bane (yes, MAGNUS!!) his wonderfully gay lover, the werewolf Woolsey Scott (a dandy if there ever was one- I loved him!) and a burgeoning relationship between Tessa and Jem, Will’s best friend and friend and fellow Shadowhunter. Sensitive, quiet, loving, doomed Jem has got to be one of the BEST characters I’ve ever read, and the chemistry between him and Tessa (especially in the chapter ‘Fierce Midnight’) really hits the roof in this novel. Ay caramba. I also thought the depiction of poor Jem’s addiction to the magical drug which is keeping him alive, but also slowly killing him, incredibly moving. We also get more mystery surrounding Tessa’s magical abilities, and heaps upon heaps of humour and ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’ references and in-jokes to the ‘Mortal Instruments’ series. All in all, this could well turn out to be one of my favourite YA series EVER. Once again- all hail, Queen Clare!

Overall rating for both books: 10 out of 10!

Read if you enjoyed: ‘The Dark Days Club’ by Alison Goodman (read my review here.)

These books in four words: Romantic. Yearning. Engrossing. Thrilling.

All images are via life-in-a-fantasy, cassandraclare and williamherondale on Tumblr

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