by Cassandra Clare
Published by Simon & Schuster on March 19, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Goodreads • Amazon •
So I’m afraid I’m about to have a very unpopular opinion … but I didn’t love the final entry in Cassandra Clare’s sweeping period fantasy Clockwork Princess. I did love the first of the series, and I really enjoyed the second. But this last installment ran hot and cold, dragging in some parts while wonderfully immersive in others.
Let’s start with the good. As in every book in The Infernal Devices series, the story excels in pulling us into a lush, fully realized Victorian England. The quiet moments can be beautiful and touching, if perhaps a bit too touching. Clare is never one to shy away from melodrama, and she certainly doesn’t show restraint here. There are tearful proposals, breast-beating misery. Her characters don’t just feel something, they FEEL something.
Though I found myself groaning a bit at how overwrought everything can be—someone doesn’t “bleed,” they leak “scarlet fluid”—the love story at the heart of this series is quite beautifully written. Like with the fantastic setting and atmosphere, I was enthralled and intrigued whenever we followed the epic love triangle that is Tessa, Jem, and Will. Where the story fell flat for me were the action scenes. They were jarring and seemed out of place in a book that, at its heart, is a period romance. The action dragged to me, making up for lack of impact with length. I was always itching to get back to the real story, not the diversion.
And then there’s the ending. Clare ties up every single loose end in Clockwork Princess with a satin ribbon. No one is left unhappy—and unhappy in her world seems to equal single—no one gets anything other than their perfect ending. That isn’t to say I didn’t tear up during a certain scene near the end, but it all left me feeling a bit less than satisfied.
Overall, I’m glad I finished The Infernal Devices series, and it remains my favorite thing Clare has written, but I think it may be time for me to say goodbye to the world of the Shadowhunters.