Author: Cassandra Clare
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, YA Literature
In-Series/Stand Alone: Trilogy (3 novels)
*The Infernal Devices is a series of novels by author Cassandra Clare, centering on a race called the Shadowhunters introduced in her The Mortal Instruments series. The series is a prequel series to the Mortal Instruments series, and contains some of the character’s ancestors. Clare has insisted that the series’ can be read in any order*
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters — including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them….
I personally read The Mortal Instruments before The Infernal Devices — as Clare has mentioned, it really doesn’t matter which series you read first — the choice is completely up to you! (See my review for TMI here: “The Mortal Instruments” by Cassandra Clare) At the time, the last book in the TMI series, City of Heavenly Fire, wasn’t out yet; so while I waited for its release, I decided to read the prequel that so many fans talked about -– The Infernal Devices. Now, I’m a HUGE fan of the TMI series, but TID completely blew me away.
I began Clockwork Angel, the first book in this trilogy, with fairly modest expectations; anticipating at the most, unique characters and humor abound. Never did I imagine that it would find its way into my list of all-time favorites, but very frankly, there it is. In Clockwork Angel there is evoked a sense of old-world glamour that was Victorian London, a place of creeping fog that obscures lamplight and horse-drawn carriages that clatter through the cobblestone streets in heavy silence punctuated by the heaving rhythm of the Thames. This was my perception of London that Clare evoked with her writing, and I thank her for it because it made my enjoyment of her world that much better.
Tessa Gray is the newcomer to the world of Shadowhunters, and her character does not disappoint. She is in almost every sense the proper lady of the 1800s: polite, courteous, respectful, and modest. I watched her transform into a stronger and braver person, one who was not afraid to defend her loved ones with her all and verbally spar with others in humor or defense of her beliefs. Will Herondale is the resident bad boy with the probable heart of gold. He’s handsome, tormented, sarcastic, and cold; yet occasionally we glimpse a softer and more passionate side to him. Not only is he extremely, EXTREMELY sexy; he has a witty sense of humor that reminded me so much of Jace (from TMI series). And then there is Jem Carstairs, who is walking, talking, living proof of a terrible cruelty, and yet despite this he is kind, and caring, and understanding. His wit rivals that of Will’s in hilarity, which makes for frequent scenes of comedic gold.
What I love about Cassandra Clare is that she never focuses on just one male lead and female lead in her books — you can tell clearly that all of her characters are special and matter to her, because they all have important roles. The world-building was great — even though I had past knowledge about it because of TMI; Cassandra Clare explained everything just as well, if not better, in this trilogy. It was a whirlwind of emotions from beginning to end — the love triangle between Jem, Tessa, and Will was unlike anything I’d ever read about before -– it was earth shatteringly real and beautiful and genuine and AMAZING — words really can’t sum it up. THIS is how a love triangle should be written, in a way that preserves the honor of everyone involved. There isn’t another series out there that has ever managed to handle one with such love and kindness and respect.
If you’re not a stand-alone book person, then I advise you to read this trilogy, and read The Mortal Instruments after, and read the upcoming series, The Dark Artifices, after that. Clare keeps on writing about this world, so you won’t ever feel like it’s ending.
Quote from Clockwork Princess: “You know that feeling,” she said, “when you are reading a book, and you know that it is going to be a tragedy; you can feel the cold and darkness coming, see the net drawing close around the characters who live and breathe on the pages. But you are tied to the story as if bring dragged behind a carriage, and you cannot let go or turn the course aside.” That basically sums up my feelings while I read this trilogy. My poor heart has never felt this way after finishing a series (okay that’s a lie, but still!!) I had no idea it was possible to feel such tempered happiness as well as such overwhelming grief for everyone involved. Many of the things I thought might happen, did — and yet it doesn’t change my fierce love and admiration for the way everything unfolded in the end.
*DISCLAIMER* If you have not read this book yet, I’d really recommend not going through the comments section in case there’s a spoiler. You can always come back here later to discuss after you’ve read the book! (Or contact me if you want to talk about it beforehand)