Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)
by Cassandra Clare
Summary: Tessa Gray should be happy—aren't all brides happy? Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.
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Source: I purchased a hardcover.
Clockwork Princess was a thrilling conclusion to The Infernal Devices trilogy. The Mortmain plot came to an end, the characters grew, and the connections between the characters were made (if they weren’t before) or better understood. In all ways, things had a conclusion in this novel.
I loved getting to know character aside from Will, Jem, and Tessa in the finale. Cecily, Will’s sister, was a much bigger character, as well as the two Lightwood brothers. Sophie stepped outside of her servant role a bit more and I enjoyed every bit of that. I finally saw Charlotte and Henry work together, and I even better understood Magnus. As far as character growth went, Clockwork Princess rocked.
The most important conclusion in this novel was the plot involving Mortmain and Tessa. We didn’t know who Tessa was and what he wanted with her. I wondered how the whole thing would go. I admit, I didn’t see it coming when all was revealed, I didn’t know how the characters would survive the infernal devices, and the added mystery of the Clave and Consul threw a wrench into the plan. I loved being on the edge of my seat for all of that.
The entire novel surprised me and I loved the way the author got herself in and out of sticky situations. It certainly made things unpredictable. I was quite sure I’d give this novel 5 stars up until the last few pages.
My biggest gripe was the ending. I had tears in my eyes through half of the epilogue, loving every bit of it. It was sad, bittersweet, but I love to have my emotions manipulated. I LOVED the beginning of the end. I could see the snippets of my future review, full of glowing praise. And then, it all came crashing down.
Here’s the thing: I promise, it does not matter what Team of a love triangle I am on, I will never be okay with novels that take the easy way out. Love triangles can be tough. And when you make a character fall in love, if they choose someone else, that whole evolution has to be done well and be believable. If they can’t choose, fate must force their hand. If they do choose, the loser has to face some sort of consequence. You can’t create an impossible love triangle without some level of consequence.
None of this is really a spoiler, as I mention no names, but I am ranting about the ending, so I suppose you should proceed with caution:
When it comes to conflict, impossible decisions, and even love triangles, if you are going to kill someone, do it. If you are going to force someone to make tough choices, do it. But if you are going to create a conflict, do not make it so EVERYBODY WINS. It is unrealistic and somewhat of a waste of my time. And, even though I can appreciate the bridge scene, the fact that it was the easy way out and the everybody wins solution just ruined it for me. I’m not saying you have to kill characters off or be tragic all of the time, but when you do something with the fate of a character, we cry and scream, but we do eventually accept it. Not all conflict ends well and that’s okay. And when you change that up, change their fate, bring characters back from the dead, not only is it wrong, but now we don’t really understand what their consequence was. If death or a life of servitude or permanent decision is in fact a permanent thing, making it not permanent anymore strips it of the original meaning. Conflict should be tough and having a simple solutions just ruins everything.
I would have rather seen Tessa make a decision and hurt someone else’s feelings. At least when characters choose, I can attempt to see where they are coming from.
So many couples were made in Clockwork Princess, too. The good guys win, everyone falls and finds love, and all right in the world. I don’t know that all of the happy ending everybody wins stuff would have bugged me that much if it didn’t all happen in one book. It was too much for me and the last few pages were the last straw for me.
Other than the Everybody Wins theme, Clockwork Princess was awesome. It never would have drawn an ounce of criticism from me had it not ended the way it did. The small things that I am now bothered by probably would have escaped my notice otherwise. After all, I did imagine this review would be glowing and awesome up until there were like 5 pages left.
I do know many readers love romance and love happy endings and love conflicts where everybody wins. Those readers who don’t want see hearts break will have nothing but praise for this series. It speaks to the romantics, lovers of historical fiction, lovers of books, and lovers of poetry. I do recommend it and I don’t regret reading it, however irritated I am now by the end.
UPDATE: Now that it has been a few days, I realize that I did enjoy the novel and the series, especially if I just disregard the last few pages. It really is a great book and a great series. I'm still bothered by the ending, but I suppose I understand why the author chose to end it that way. I originally gave this 3 stars, but I've just bumped it up to 4.
Labels: Review, YA