Clockwork Princess is the long awaited final book to the Infernal Devices trilogy, the prequel trilogy to the Mortal Instruments series (the first of which, City of Bones, has a movie adaptation out in August).
Clare has created an exquisite world, set within the confines of our world and history but populated with a complex world (and underworld) of demons, vampires, werewolves, Shadowhunters (the people defending the world and the order of the demons) and mundanes (humans).
Clockwork Princess continues the story of Tessa Gray, who has made a home with the Shadowhunters at their London Institute (the local area head office). She has a complex relationship with the inhabitants due to her half-known origins (the Shadowhunters are a closed, religious bunch), but not half as complex as the romantic tangle she is in by being in love with two best friends.
This 570-page book finishes Tessa’s journey. Unravelling the mystery to her origins, facing the evil Mortmain (who plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters), realising the potential within herself and settling the love triangle once and for all.
The appeal of this series (and a great many other Young Adult novels) is that, despite the protagonists being just shy of 18 years old, their age is not over reinforced. The story is suitably complex and multifaceted, there are a great number of older characters (of equal importance, not just token adults) and the writing is outstanding. Though, the magic of this series is that it is set in the late 1800s, so the concerns of these young people are much the same as those at current times in their twenties.
Where the Young Adult genre tends to appeal to me (when the writing is not juvenile and the characters are suitably mature) is that fantasy is more acceptable for characters of that age and that the characters – who often feel more like they could be my age – are not solely concerned with careers, getting married and having babies (it’s not that I am not interested in these things, I just don’t want to read a book about a protagonist solely focused on these). I find this is the biggest barrier keeping me from reading chick lit. It is also thoroughly acceptable and often encouraged, to follow their passions and go on a journey of self-discovery. Things that shouldn’t stop just because you turn 18.
Clockwork Princess hinges upon Tessa learning that she is capable of saving herself – and the world. A thrilling journey of self-discovery, family, love and loss that will keep you guessing until the end.
Without giving anything away, I don’t think I’ve ever been so satisfied with an ending of a book. It is a beautiful conclusion to an amazing, epic, heart-wrenching story.