Release date: 6th December 2011
Publisher: Walker books
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.
Where to start with this one? It's no secret that I prefer the Clockwork Angel to the Mortal Instruments series (even though I ADORE that) so I was expecting big things from Clockwork Prince and I was not disappointed!
Reading this book, I feel as though I am looking at the back of a piece of embroidery, seeing all the threads woven together, knowing that if I turned it over, it would form a beautiful, complicated and detailed picture. I can almost feel how the picture is going to look, how-if I turned it over- I would let out a sigh and say "of course that's what it's a picture of!" but I can't quite see it, and I'm not allowed to turn the fabric over quite yet. Cassie Clare gives us a few tantalizing glimpses of the 'big picture' in this, the middle instalment of the Infernal Devices trilogy. I feel like I got to know Mortmain's past, plans and motives a little better in this book, even though the man himself never makes an appearance. Cassie gives you just enough to create that sense of satisfaction, yet withholds enough that you're left wondering what the heck is going on and how this whole thing is going to be resolved--which I feel is something of an art-form.
The character development in this book is astounding, I feel as though I know each character so much better as a result of this book, and they were never under-developed to begin with. Tessa is fast becoming one of my fave YA female protagonists. She's smart, brave, honourable and really easy to love. There's nothing I don't like about her, no choice I disagree with. We get some hints into her true nature,but not even this aspect of the plot is tied up yet. Will and Jem are equally fantastic, usually I find it SO easy to pick which male character I prefer, but in this case...I JUST DON'T KNOW. Will is so caustic in his humour, so utterly broken and subtly vulnerable. Jem is so sweet and kind and yet you see a fire in him that you didn't realise existed in Clockwork Prince. The love triangle development was perfect in my opinion; it was one of those moments where you know exactly what's going to happen and you're sat there, clutching the pages, quietly keening, whilst people stare at you on the bus and wonder what the FRICK you're reading. It was so suspenseful, so awful and yet so wonderful. In order to save myself from the inevitable heartbreak that will occur I am ESCHEWING both Jem AND Will and officially declaring myself to be TEAM MAGNUS. Ah Magnus. He's so melancholy here, moping over Camille, and yet he has wonderful moments, his interactions with Will are simultaneously insightful, hilarious and emotional. He's my favourite character out of both of the series. The scene with Woolsey Scott was one of my favourites in the book, and especially funny if you've read CoFA! Henry and Charlotte nearly stole the show with certain scenes. There was the usual bemused Henry and exasperated Charlotte dialogue, but you caught a glimpse into the true nature of their relationship and it was very moving.
The writing style is as perfect as ever; engaging and witty, well paced--promoting a sense of urgency when required and encouraging you to slow down and savour certain scenes. It felt absolutely on the money for a novel set in Victorian England, I didn't read a single word or expression that felt out of place in this period. I always get the impression with Cassie's writing that each sentence is deliberately formed, each word painstakingly chosen to deliver the intended effect and that's something I really appreciate. The banter was as hilarious as ever, something I've come to expect as default in a Cassie Clare novel.
Whilst I found a few minor plot points to be guessable, the majority of it took me completely by surprise, leaving me to feel I was being hit over the head by the book rather than reading it. In what is one of my favourite books of the year, Clockwork Prince absolutely does not suffer from the dreaded second book syndrome and has everything you could want; full of light and dark moments, romance, mystery, revelations and drama in a tale that is ultimately extremely bittersweet. A must-read for any Cassie Clare fan, I defy you to not enjoy this!