Friday, January 27, 2012

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon and Schuster)
Pages: 504
Series or Stand Alone: Book Two in the Infernal Devices trilogy
SummaryThe special Collector’s First Edition will include a never-before-seen letter from Will to his family!
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, though 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.

The second installment in the Infernal Devices trilogy topped my very short Christmas list this year, for obvious reasons. After a quick reread of Clockwork Angel, I made short work of Clockwork Prince.
Everything's going to hell at the London Institute. Now that the occupants know who the Magister is, they have to stop his plan--but before they can do anything they have to find out what his plan is. If that wasn't enough, Benedict Lightwood is attempting to gain control of the London Institute. Charlotte has a fortnight to track down the Magister using only the help of those immediately around her or she forfeits her leadership. Will is disappearing to Magnus Bane's to track down the demon that wrecked his life. While Will is off attempting to rectify his life, Jem and Tessa are getting closer--as in, a lot closer (I also don't apologize for any Roswell references I make). As if all of THIS weren't enough, a traitor is discovered in their midst--and Tessa's jerkwad of a brother pops up again. Lord. Cassandra Clare doesn't mess around. She did say that the point of a second book in a trilogy is to tear everything apart...
Clare continued to expand on the excellence that was Will, Jem, and the friendship/parabatai-ship between the two. More was revealed about Will's past and his tendency to push everyone that could be close to him away. Clare expertly demonstrates the emotional depth to his character through writing from Magnus Bane's perspective. The most important thing is that his new vulnerability does not negate his snarky humor.
Jem, on the other hand, demonstrates emotions that I wouldn't have thought characteristic of Jem--namely, anger and lust. Clare's best scenes for this surround a moment in which Jem loses his temper with Will and punches him, something completely out of the ordinary for even-tempered Jem. The character development for the two of them is awesome.
And Jessamine. Poor, spoiled Jessamine (again). When Jessamine's character was introduced in Clockwork Angel, I thought she was going to be a snobby, off-to-the-side character whose sole purpose was to make judgmental comments. I was wrong and found that I really liked her character for going against the normal Shadowhunter mentality. In Clockwork Prince, Jessamine goes above and beyond what I thought she would. It's interesting to see how the others react to her actions.
The only characterization that I couldn't get on board with with Tessa's. In the first Infernal Devices book, Tessa demonstrates a lot of courage and a wit to match Will's. While Tessa does retain some of her previous characterization, I felt that she melted a tiny bit into the "Oh god, two boys are in love with me." (If this were Friends, "My wallet's too small for my fifties, and my diamond shoes are too tight.")I did not like that she spent so much time thinking about how she shouldn't have feelings for Will when she so clearly did. It kind of felt like one of my friends was talking this out with me, trying to convince herself of something by telling me over and over and over. This happens to be one of my least favorite things. Tessa, don't turn into a crazy girl! I can only deal with so many of those. Also, girl, check yourself before you wreck yourself. Some of the things you're doing ain't right. I hope Tessa gathers her senses about her and goes back to her more awesome self in the third installment, Clockwork Princess.
Even though I had some issues with Tessa's character, Clockwork Prince entirely lived up to its predecessor. Clare makes insanely readable books that feature characters a reader can get easily attached to, and Clockwork Prince was no exception.

Rating: 5 - once again, fantastic. Shelf of favorites status for the win.

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