REVIEW + DISCUSSION: clockwork prince by cassandra clare

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Published by: Simon & Schuster on December 6th, 2011

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 498

Format: Hardcover

Series: The Infernal Devices Book 2

Amazon // Goodreads


In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.



Wow. That was the only thing I was thinking after I closed Clockwork Prince. Before reading this book, I knew that Cassandra Clare was a great writer. I’ve read the first 3 books in the Mortal Instruments series, as well as Clockwork Angel, and her writing was impressive there, although I found it to be a lot better in the latter. But this….this was a whole other level. Her words read like magic off the page, and even if I was slightly confused or bored, I was always, always enchanted by her words.

This book took me longer to read than most do, and I think that was because I found it to be a little slow in the beginning. I liked Tessa and Jem enough, and I liked Will too, although I found him to be a bit of a jerk. But when I was around 200 pages in, that’s when it started to get good. So much happened, but at the same time I kind of feel like a lot more happened in the first book. Or maybe it didn’t, because I read Clockwork Angel over two months ago.

where did we leave off?

Clockwork Prince takes place shortly after the events of Clockwork Angel, and Charlotte is still being pressured to give up her position as head of the London Institute. Finally, she is given an ultimatum, one that almost seems impossible: she either has to find the Magister, or at least figure out where he is and who he’s working with and whatnot. If she fails to do so within two weeks, she loses her position and she has to give it up to the Lightwoods. It is safe to say that I loved Charlotte. She faced so much pressure and many hardships from her fellow Shadowhunters simply for being a woman in charge, but she always pushed through and fought like a leader. And I absolutely loved her and Henry, they were so cute in this novel.

I feel like we got to get to know so much more about the side characters this time around, because another character I fell in love with in Clockwork Prince was Sophie. She went from quiet and afraid to brave and resilient, even going as far as knocking Jessamine out with a mirror. I was, like, GO GIRL. Speaking of Jessamine: she ends up betraying all of them for her “love” with Nate, and I found her storyline to be a little disappointing. I felt like it was handled pretty weakly. Basically, they tried to get out information about the Magister from her, but they discovered there was a block in her mind. After they sent her to the City of Bones (ha) to get rid of it, there wasn’t really any mention of her afterwards. I kept on waiting for her to make some epic turnaround, and become some badass, but it didn’t really happen, so I’m hoping for some redemption in the next novel.

will + tessa + jem

Of course, our main characters, though, are Tessa, Will, and Jem. Let’s start with Jem. He is still sick in this novel, but Cassandra Clare has foreshadowed more and more to his death, which I’m assuming will come in the next novel. I really don’t want him to die, though, because Jem is so sweet!!! He is so kind and cares about Tessa so much, and I love his friendship with Will. Also, in this book, we learned a lot more about Jem’s addiction struggles with the drug yin fen, and how he is not the only one. The drug played a much bigger role in this book than it did in the last one, and I’m expecting it to be discussed even further in Clockwork Princess, and how it connects back to everything.

Then, we have Tessa. I really like Tessa. She’s witty, she’s kind, and she’s obsessed with books and literature. She’s always referencing her favorite books, and it gave me so many feels to see her and Will bond over them. She doesn’t have as much spunk as I’d like, but I’m thinking that’s probably because of the time period, but I also think we’re going to see a lot more of that in Clockwork Princess when everything comes to head.

“I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. 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.”

Speaking of coming to head, the love triangle did just that in this book. I usually despise love triangles, but this is the best one I have ever read. I love both Will and Jem, but I need Will with Tessa. Mainly because I am a MAJOR Will Herondale fangirl. In the last book, I said how Will was just too much of an asshole for me, but I retract that now. I’m a sucker for a tragic backstory, and Will definitely has a tragic backstory. Turns out, he was cursed by a demon when he was twelve years old so that anyone he ever loved would die, and the next day, his older sister died. Will was essentially forced to leave his family, and push away anyone he’s ever cared about, i.e. Tessa. But then he found out later in the book with Magnus (whom I LOVE) that he’s never been cursed after all.

The moments after Will finds out he’s not cursed are the moments I feel would translate so well to the screen, and that’s one of the reasons why I so desperately need this series to be made into either a movie or a TV show. He’s going to run to Tessa and tell her how he feels, but then JEM FREAKING PROPOSES!!!! Guys, I actually died. I dropped my book and I literally almost screamed, and I don’t usually do that. For me, that was the most exciting part of the entire book.

Tessa ends up turning Will down for Jem, and he begs her to never tell Jem about his love for her. She keeps her promise (for now), but you can tell that Tessa truly loves Will, in a way that she will never love Jem. But she can’t break off the engagement, because he’s DYING. Oh God. This love triangle is literally going to kill me.

“If no one cares for you at all, do you even really exist?”

plot twists and cliffhangers

But enough about the romance, because even though that’s basically all I’ve talked about, that was not the only thing that happened in this book. Once Tessa, Will, and Sophie figured out that Jessamine was betraying them, Tessa transforms into her and goes to the ball to figure out more from Nathaniel. At first, he falls for it, and he feeds her the information. This is when we truly see how much of a monster is, and Tessa recurringly says throughout the rest of the book how something is not right with his heart, that he does not know how to love. I wonder if there is something more there, or if Cassandra Clare just said that fleetingly.

Once Nathaniel died, though, and Tessa told him she forgave him, that was when I really began to have questions. He told her that he doesn’t deserve her forgiveness, because what he has done is unforgivable. So what I really want to know is….WHAT HAS HE DONE? Like, what is worse than what he has already done to his freaking sister? I am really curious to know.

And my final point of curiosity stems from that little cliffhanger at the end, when Cecily shows up at the door and asks to be trained. We got little details about Will’s family scattered throughout the course of the book, and we learned that Cecily is his little sister he abandoned, along with the rest of his family, five years ago because of his curse. I wonder how Will is going to react to Cecily being there, and how Cecily is going to react to what she clearly must see as a betrayal.

in conclusion

All in all, Clockwork Prince was an amazing read, one that was brought to life by amazing, well developed characters and Cassandra Clare’s beautiful writing. I feel like those two things engaged me more than the plot did, because while it was still entertaining, the pacing was a little bit slow at times. I am looking forward to picking up Clockwork Princess very soon, though, and I will hopefully have a review up for that when I finish it.

So that’s it for this review! Have you read Clockwork Prince? If so, what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll see you next time!



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