First, let me say that I have (likely illegally) received my copy of Clockwork Princess a bit early. So I am typing this up at 7:30 AM on Saturday morning.
Because I sat down and read the entire book after not getting home from work until midnight. A. I planned this. B. I mean, I binge slept the night before and ate a fairly sizable dinner. C. I really need to take a shower. D. I am emotional and sleep deprived.
Anyway.... SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!
I don't generally hesitate to tell people that I like The Infernal Devices better than The Mortal Instruments. I do love them both but something about Infernal just sticks with me more. I think it's the relationships. They're all so heartbreaking in one way or another.
So, let's start there. The triangle. It's an actual triangle...that never happens! But, yes, legitimate triangle. I listened to the audiobooks of the previous two recently, as in I finished Clockwork Prince yesterday. And I was struck by how, yes, I loved how entangled all three of them were the most interesting relationship is by far that of Jem and Will.
Sure, I have my favorite (JEM!) but I think the scenes between the two of them have the most strength and the most raw emotion. They balance each other perfectly and it shows, it's beautiful. And it was heartbreaking to watch them struggle in Princess with the idea of figuring out how to exist without the other and how much they were willing to give up to keep the other happy. That ripped me up inside more than anything else. Their scenes have so much more of an impact.The flashback scenes with them were wonderful. Seeing Jem snark at Will and teach him how to throw knives was awesome. To see Jem as the fighter.... *sigh*
In terms of how the triangle ended. I am a lover of Jem. All the way, love him. And I had already pretty much thought that Tessa was going to end up with Will. And I think the way this book plays off, she does. So much of the end is the two of them together and their grand passion. It was the way that Tessa finding out about Jem's death that made me realize that I didn't think that Tessa was good enough for Jem, and I use the word 'good' in terms of the fact that Jem is a good person. I think I more wanted them together because Jem wanted it and, Gods damned it! Jem deserves to be happy!
I don't know if that's what Clare was trying to do and it wasn't just that she and Will had sex right after. But losing Jem was never really described in the same kind of words losing Will was. Then when she read Will's note in A Tale of Two Cities and said no one had ever written anything so beautiful for her I was all outraged because of Jem's song. As I said, a lot of Jem love.
Jem's loss was always mostly described in terms of how it would hurt Will and less so in what he was giving up. I was so hurt by his choice to become a silent brother, not because I wanted him to die, I definitely didn't want that, but because he never wanted that. He was so content to die, waiting for it, so tired of struggling. He wanted to be reincarnated and when Tessa asks him he says he does it because he didn't want to abandon them. Jem was easily the most heartbreaking character in this novel. I felt like he didn't get the page time that he deserved.
I'm a little bit bitter we don't get to see Tessa and Jem together after getting the history of Tessa and Will. I don't really want to watch Jem die...again but I wanted something. Maybe later? I think it could be really interesting to see them at the same time as the Mortal Instruments characters (though we know that scene on the bridge takes place after).
There's a part of me that thinks that Tessa needed to go through her relationship with Will before she could be with Jem. I don't want to say that she hadn't experienced loss yet, because she had, but there was always a gravity to Jem that I don't think Tessa could really understand until she had outgrown some things.
All of that is not to say that I don't like Will or Tessa. They're both awesome characters as well, they just get a little eclipsed by my Jem love. I just think it's stressed a little too much how Will supposedly seems to feel everything so much stronger than everyone else! But that all comes back to loud passion versus quiet but fierce passion. Or, you know, Will versus Jem.
I absolutely loved that this book really felt like reading a period novel. The pacing and the descriptions were right on for feeling like I was reading Dickens. It was amazing.
There were so many excellent little scenes here. The interactions between Henry and Magnus made me laugh so hard. And Gabriel and Cecily were amusing. Sophie and Gideon are sweet. Gideon is just so frank about his feelings. And the SCONES! I loved it so much.
The whole Benedict is a worm thing completely threw me off. It was such an excellent vehicle for the events of the book and relationships and Gabriel's joining the institute but at the same time...what? Benedict Lightwood became a worm and ate his son-in-law. It was the strange mix of completely and totally absurd and incredibly tragic.
The pacing on the fight scenes was very well done. They read so quickly and kept me interested and going. And I was glad to see Jem really fight in this book because he so often gets shoved behind Will in action scenes.
I wanted to see a little more sinister build up. The relationships are some of my favorite parts but I wanted a little more build up to Mortmain. The clockwork creatures were so important earlier in the series that I feel like they took a major backseat this time around. Once Mortmain got the spell to bind the demons into them we never had too much of a chance to really dread what was going to happen.
The Consul stuff did a good job of singling the institute out and showing the impact they had in charging into it alone. It showed Charlotte's strength and everyone's willingness to stand behind her. Their faith in one another and their bond and growth. But at first the letters came out of nowhere and I was convinced that the consul had somehow been taken over by some sort of shape-shifter, demon, or automaton or something. I would have liked to see a little more build up to this as well.
Jessamine's ghost struck me as random.It wasn't bad but didn't seem to do much, just have one last scene with her there.
I cried when I thought that she'd killed both Jem and Henry. A lot. I could see either of them being a casualty and I was not happy about it.
One thing that really sort of irked me was Tessa saying that she walked away from her family because it was too hard watching them grow up. I see where that would be the case but at the same time she fought so hard when it was Nate. He was evil but it didn't matter she wanted him around. And to just walk away felt nonsensical.
I think this one is my favorite over all of the three. It comes together brilliantly, even if the end dragged a little bit, the whole Christmas party scene was a bit long (and rather Downton Abbey esque), and I did get mad of Tessa for consciously getting over Jem so quickly (and then suddenly not being over it when she's struck with the fever). There was just something about this one. I think it might have been the stresses on the relationship between Jem and Will that I found so interesting and engrossing.
Regardless, overall I give Clockwork Princess and unsurprising rating of: Beyond Epic.
So, I am still reading The Lost Sun. I read like twenty pages before I started this one. So, it's happening. I would also like to reread Princess soon, I think.