Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Clockwork Princess

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: March 2013

Number of Pages: 592

Rating: 4/5


A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy. [From Goodreads]


“No one can say that death found in me a willing comrade, or that I went easily.”


I was plagued the entire second semester of school by anticipation of this book. My friends were reading it and frantically whispering about it all the time. Now, having read it, I know why.

Clockwork Princess is the perfect ending to this incredibly fun series. It’s full of surprises, and therefore certain to disappoint some who hoped for a less bittersweet conclusion, but I thought the ending was quite appropriate. The Infernal Devices is not a cheery, uncomplicated series. Clockwork Princess reflects the conflict and struggles that the trilogy deals with, but it also testifies of the importance of love and family, a virtue that I believe is at the core of the entire story.

Perhaps that is why I loved the series so much. It isn’t “preachy” at all, but it, through the story and characters, testifies that the bonds of family are stronger than the force of any adversary, any darkness. It sounds corny, I know, but life is corny. Well, the good parts of it. So, at risk of being corny, I have to say that I appreciate the sentiment at the core of this trilogy and recommend that everyone read it. You get a fantastic message cloaked in action and Victorian-era London and steampunk awesomeness.

Plus, the awesomeness of the characters is mind-blowing. I love the cast of characters in this series, and it’s in this book that they have the opportunity to show their true colors. They rise above awful circumstances and fight to be honorable. The ending is so satisfying because there’s a sense that everyone has done all they can to be good people, they’ve risen above challenges, and they’ve held onto their loved ones. They’ve managed to remain optimistic in a dark world, and they’ve discovered the light in it.

Concerning the plot, this is the faster-paced of the last two books in the series. It’s insanity from the very start. Magic and betrayal and death all play a part. Naturally, those three “characters” mean surprise after surprise. I was listening to the audiobook in the car, and every time a disc finished, I had to pull over or have a passenger put the next in immediately because the suspense was just too much. All the relationships, all the mysteries, all the conflicts come to an exhilarating climax. Mortmain lives up to his frightening reputation, his character sick and menacing and strangely pitiful. The clockwork creatures become even more powerful and despicable. Meanwhile, Tessa is developing into the sort of heroine she reads about. As you can see, a lot happens in the 592 pages.

This series is fun. It’s full of humor and has a dash of silliness, but it is so much more. It has a deeper level and message, and that’s one of the things that allows it to surpass The Mortal Instruments in my esteem. There’s more spirit in these books.

If you’re interested in steampunk, this is a series for you. If you’re interested in a story about family, this is the series for you. Sure, it’s not perfect. It’s not a literary masterpiece. But it’s dynamic. Three-dimensional. Give it a read.

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