There were certain things I wanted to have happen in this book:
- The central romance to develop properly
- To learn more about Jem
- For Will’s character to become more than the stock character presented in Clockwork Angel
- For Tessa to grow and learn more about herself
- For Henry to do something to prove he was actually in love with Charlotte
…and it all happened!
This book made me see why everyone likes Will. I mean, his compositions give off so much of his real character:
For Tessa Gray, on the occasion of being given a copy of Vathek to read:
Caliph Vathek and his dark horde
Are bound for Hell, you won’t be bored!
Your faith in me will be restored—
Unless this token you find untoward
And my poor gift you have ignored.
“Demon pox, oh, demon pox, Just how is it acquired?
One must go down to the bad part of town
Until one is very tired.
Demon pox, oh, demon pox I had it all along—
No, not the pox, you foolish blocks,
I mean this very song—
For I was right, and you were wrong!”
I’ll admit it, I was grinning from ear to ear as I read the demon pox scene, and I had to hold myself back from laughing out loud as I pictured Will dancing around in utter and complete glee.
Tessa’s character also becomes much stronger in this book. She’s more determined, more sure of herself. For goodness sakes, she comes up with one of the best threats ever:
“If you do not help me,” Tessa said to Jem, “I swear, I will Change into you, and I will lift him myself. And then everyone here will see what you look like in a dress.”
But my favourite character is still Jem, with good reason. Clare developed his character so well in this book. He’s not this perfect little angel, and Clare explores the darkness that the drug has put in Jem’s life:
She had assumed his kindness was so natural and so innate, she had never asked herself whether it cost him any effort. Any effort to stand between Will and the world, protecting each of them from the other. Any effort to accept the loss of his family with equanimity. Any effort to remain cheerful and calm in the face of his own dying.
But the real star of the novel? Clare knows how to write dramatic romance. Just read it:
“I—I would have wanted to—to court you first. To take you driving, with a chaperon.”
“A chaperon?” Tessa laughed despite herself.
He went on determinedly. “To tell you of my feelings first, before I showed them. To write poetry for you—”
“You don’t even like poetry,” Tessa said, her voice catching on a half laugh of relief.
“No. But you make me want to write it. Does that not count for anything?”
“I had always thought one could not be truly lost if one knew one’s own heart. But I fear I may be lost without knowing yours.”
“I can offer you my life, but it is a short life; I can offer you my heart, though I have no idea how many more beats it shall sustain. But I love you enough to hope that you will not care that I am being selfish in trying to make the rest of my life—whatever its length–happy, by spending it with you.”
“Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colours and textures and sounds, I felt—I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamed. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted—and then I realized that truly I just wanted you. The girl behind the scrawled letters. I loved you from the moment I read them.”
The best of these moments is definitely Henry and Charlotte. (Please excuse me while I squeal.) They are just too cute to read about, despite how limited their scenes are:
“You are not plain,” Henry said, his face still blazing. “You are beautiful. And I didn’t ask your father if I could marry you out of duty; I did it because I loved you. I’ve always loved you. I’m your husband.”
“I thought you might come to love me, in time.”
“That’s what I thought about you,” she said wonderingly. “Could we really both have been so stupid?”
“Well, I’m not surprised about me ,” said Henry. “But honestly, Charlotte, you ought to have known better.”
But my favourite quote has to be this one:
She had never imagined she had the power to make someone else so happy. And not a magical power either—a purely human one.
I forgot to mention this last time, but I really should mention the intertexuality of the novel. Clare prefaces each chapter with a quote from English literature, all of which I love, but won’t mention since they aren’t her work.
She even references Donne…my favourite metaphysical poet!