Due to the events in Clockwork Angel, Charlotte is now in danger of losing her position as head of the London Institute. Tessa, Will, Jem, Charlotte and Henry have two weeks to prove that Charlotte is worthy. The test she has to pass? She has to find Mortmain. If not, Benedict Lightwood will take over.
Not only is this nearly impossible since Mortmain has disappeared, but the team is also rather emotionally unstable. Jem’s illness has seemed to take a darker turn, and Will is hiding a secret that involves him working with Magnus Bane. It’s tearing at Tessa that her brother has betrayed her, and she’s still unsure of who she is.
And to top it all off, her heart seems to be torn in two as well…
The plot of Clockwork Prince has two major flaws: (1) it’s a soap opera disguised as supernatural fantasy and (2) the part that is action oriented is rather predictable. This may sound odd considering how I started this review, but hear me out. The first is forgivable, the second isn’t.
It took me a while to realize that The Infernal Devices isn’t about this grand adventure story. Yes, there’s magic and demons and supernatural beings, but the real pull is the character interactions. The supernatural setting allows for connections like the parabatai, restrictions like demons and shadowhunters—which in turn fuel the romantic tensions and the character interactions. Once my perspective was changed, I easily fell in love with the story.
The problem is that it is framed by this supernatural action story, and, let’s face it, it’s predictable. I guessed the results of Will’s curse long before the reveal, and Jessamine was obvious. And Jessamine’s actions are never fully addressed.
I mean, has anyone removed the Book of the White from Tessa’s room? I feel like the supernatural frame could be removed, and we’d still have a really good book.
I have to give Clare credit for the great character development in this book. Because it is outstanding.
Tessa is so much more sure of herself in this book. She’s getting accustomed to her powers, her strength as a person, her independence.
Jem became so smooth in this book. Need a cover story for Tessa? She can be his fiance! But there’s no ring—nevermind, he has one! Want him to say something in Chinese? He’ll tell you your hair needs fixing, and then he’ll fix it. Good grief. As if Will wasn’t enough.
Speaking of Mr. Herondale, I have to apologize for my writing him off as a copy of Jace in my last review. I came to love him by the end of this book. I should have listened to Jem when he said that Will is better than he seems. Because he’s become the best character—and it doesn’t seem forced at all. After certain spoilerific events happen, his true personality shines through—loud and playful and exuberant.
As in the last book, I still like all of the other characters, including the new additions Gideon and Cyril. I wish I knew more about the latter though. Nate took an interesting turn in this book, thought Mortmain still remains a mystery to me.
This is the perfect second book for a trilogy. Perfect.
It builds on what happened in the first book, while setting up for a great finale. There’s the right amount of tension. The right amount of answers and unanswered questions.
The problem is the supernatural frame. It isn’t necessary. Or if it is, it needs to be fleshed out more. Clare is very detailed when it comes to the character interactions, but sparing when it comes to the overarching action. There were several times when I felt the mission to help Charlotte was just an excuse to put Tessa into various situations with Will and Jem, to mess with their relationships even more. It actually made me uncomfortable, with lengthy paragraphs about people making out, juxtaposed with (dare I call it) infodumping about the overarching search. For a novel called “Clockwork Prince” there is remarkably small focus on the Clockwork Prince. This could have easily been a period romance. Easily.
This is what wins the book huge points for me. The identity crisis that Tessa experiences in the first book is shown in each of the characters over the course of Clockwork Prince.
The characters struggle with what others have used to define their lives. For Tessa, it’s her origins; Jem, his addiction; Will, his curse; Sophie, her inferiority; Charlotte, her femininity; Henry, his tinkering. Nate, Jessamine, Gideon—everyone is struggling with breaking out from these definitions that have been imposed on them.
It’s just so entertaining to read them breaking these boundaries, seeing their true personalities come out without filters. I just know Clockwork Princess is going to tackle what happens now that they’ve been shattered, and I’m ready for it!
Clockwork Prince is highly entertaining and just a roller coaster of emotions. I can’t wait to read Clockwork Princess!
Recommendation: Buy. Do it. Read it. (Correction: make your way through Clockwork Angel and then read this because it is worth it.)