There’s something about Cassandra Clare’s writing that turns me into a colossal mess every time I turn to the last page. I can hardly function after finishing one of her books – especially the Infernal Devices series which literally handed my heart back to me in a jar of tears.
The Clockwork Princess took us on an emotional roller coaster, and like I expected, left me reeling by the time I finished the final book of the series. I made a mistake of finishing it right before work because I was literally left staring at my computer screen and moping about the bittersweet ending that Clare left us with.
While this book is very much focused on romance, my love for the Clockwork Princess actually comes from the beautiful relationship between two best friends. In the end, I found myself rooting for only one couple – and that was Will and Jem who both had such a heartbreakingly wonderful story to tell.
Clockwork Princess 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.
To start off, I want to point out that as much as I loved this series, Clockwork Princess would have received somewhere between a 3 or 4 if it was not for the very last fourth of the book. Why is this you say? Well for one, Clare pulled the usual and gave each and every one of her character a love interest by the end of the book – a little too much romance if you ask me. Truthfully, there are only two romance storylines I cared about and though I was content with the other side-stories, I was grimacing by the time Gabriel and Cecily started getting doe-eyed.
Furthermore, I felt Tessa’s character became to a little too helpless in the Clockwork Princess. Tessa was always a strong character in my opinion. But I felt like she aged 50 years since Clockwork Prince and couldn’t do anything for the storyline but wear pretty dresses and get captured by the bad guys. The only significant achievement she had was, of course, when they defeated Mortmain. And even that was pure luck.
But by the second half of the book, it wasn’t even about Tessa anymore. It was Will and Jem — their brotherhood, their loyalty and their love for one another. I was so so impressed with Clare’s ability to develop the relationship of Will and Jem into something so real and so beautiful. I seriously wanted to cry every time they shared a moment and how meaningful each moment shared between the two truly was. The bromance rocked this book to whole different universe. It’s so perfect and so earth-shattering…Will and Jem are true parabatai, true brothers — putting Jace and Alec’s flimsy little thing to shame. And their love for Tessa? Both beautiful and bittersweet — down to the very last kiss.
There’s this perfect scene that I just can’t seem to forget — when Will translates Jem’s words for Tessa after a battle with a certain Lightworm. That scene alone, though short, encompasses the meaning of the entire love triangle that is Will Herondale, Tessa Gray and Jem Carstairs. My heart went out to Will when he stood idly by as Tessa and Jem planned their wedding and pranced around lovingly. I felt for him and I respected Will as he did his best to keep his best friend happy while suffering as he watched the love of his life love another man. But deep down, as much as I loved Will, I knew the right choice for Tessa in the end would have to be Jem. If there was such a thing, Jem should win supporting character of the century. I was blown away at how understanding and amazing he was — despite his deteriorating health — and it would have been cruel if he didn’t get a happy ending.
This is where I digress from my review and let you know that at one point of Clockwork Princess, I literally stopped reading this book and threw it onto the floor in frustration — cursing Clare like no other. I then called up my best friend and literally cried and cried about how unfair life was until he was like, “What the hell are you talking about?” I only cried harder. Yes, this book definitely played a nasty trick on my heart. But the love, friendship and sacrifices that occurred between Will, Jem and Tessa were undeniably bittersweet. I knew what I was getting to when I picked up Clockwork Princess and it did not disappoint. Just make sure you have a box of tissues with you along the way.
As the last book of the series, many of our questions were answered, leaving me a little stun at how things unfolded. Mortmain wasn’t particularly a scary villain by book three…but he served his purpose. I definitely felt like it was a bit of stretch that he would make an effort to buy all of the Yin Fen when he so easily captured Tessa from the Institute. I also wished the final battle would have been a bit more epic. As I mentioned earlier, Tessa got lucky (after getting captured again). The infernal devices didn’t even get a chance to really wreak havoc – and they certainly would have seeing that the Shadowhunters were being owned left and right.
It was fun though, to see the little things that would eventually connect us to the future world of Shadowhunters as we see in The Mortal Instruments series. The portal, the cat, a warlock… silent brothers.
But it wasn’t until the last few pages that the Clockwork Princess really got to me. Now this is how a love triangle should be written. This is how the parting of best friends should be written. Where I can honestly respect all parties at the end of the book and walk away thoroughly satisfied and happy with who got who. It was sad and bittersweet and it made me love Will and Jem’s relationship even more. When Jem plays the violin chronicling Will’s life – I was blown away at how magnificent the writing was. The epilogue gave us the most nostalgic end to a beautiful story that finished in full circle as Clare says herself. And whether Tessa got Will or Tessa got Jem in the end…that’s not the point. The theme music I chose for this book is Yo Yo Ma’s rendition of Gabriel’s Oboe and The Falls from The Mission. I’d like to think that this is what Jem plays for Will at the end.
Music Theme: The Mission – Yo Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone