By: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: December 6, 2011
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.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
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. (from goodreads.com)
So first the tiny issue I had with Clockwork Prince and then I will commence with as non-spoilery a review as I can muster. If you don't want to know ANYTHING about CP then I suggest you stop reading now though. No promising I won't say something that you might view as a spoiler even though I don't. You've been warned.
My issue (prepare to eye roll). A few times in the story Tessa holds hands with a boy (I'm not saying who). It's said that her skirts are able to cover the hand holding so that no one else sees it. I cringed a teeny tiny bit when I read it. Have you ever worn victorian garb? I have. I've made a few dresses in that style, one being my wedding dress... and, well, the skirts are not that voluminous. In fact, besides the bustle, they are rather form fitting. No massive layers, no hoops, not a whole lot of extra fabric. I had trouble with the idea that the entwined fingers of our girl and her beau were able to be hidden from the people sitting directly around them. Is this a big issue? No. Is it one that bothered me due to years and years of creating historically accurate costumes being ingrained in my mind? Yup. So there you have it. My one issue. A matter of skirt volume. Moving on now.
The rest of the book. Wow. Loved it. How to best share my thoughts without giving it all away? Well, if you are a fan of Cassie's books then you know that life for our Shadowhunters and the girls at the heart of the stories are never simple. There are miscommunications, moments when you want to shake the characters and broken hearts. You are able to see the mistakes they are making as they are happening and you know that they probably won't realize it until it's too late. It's draining really, but the fact that it's paired with great action and humor makes it all balance out. It makes it all worth it.
For me this book was all about finding out more about the characters.
Why is Will the way he is? I was shocked by the story that we got here, but then it all started to make sense. The way he pushes people away, the sarcasm and hurtful words. The fact that he lets Jem in anyways. It revealed so much about Will that it seemed totally obvious and unexpected at the same time.
We also get a window into the relationship between Charlotte and Henry and why their relationship has played out the way it has. In a sense I see Charlotte and Henry as being a bit of a lesson to Tessa and Will (and everyone else for that matter). They waited so long to clear the air and make their real feelings known that they might have missed out on so many moments together.
I'm trying very hard to not give anything away here, but it seems like timing and honesty are big themes here. We see so many things left unsaid, or held in for just a moment too long. We see people not trusting themselves and others with these huge secrets that, if people had shared, might have changed everything. We see our characters making decisions based on wanting to make someone else happy without really considering the ramifications. Sometimes without even considering whether it's what they want. There were a lot of times I wanted to yell "Just say it already!!" at the book. The fact that I'm so invested in the decisions these people make is a testament to how well Clare writes. I want them all to figure it out and be happy.
You'll notice that I haven't really talked about the actual plot of the book. I can't figure out a way to do it without giving it all away. So I'll just say this.... the Magister is still deliciously evil and bent on getting Tessa and ridding the world of Shadowhunters. Automatons are still being creepy and working at the Magister's bidding. We get to see what really happened to Will's family and how they might factor in his future. There is an unlikely spy within their midst and an even more unlikely ally that steps forward. So basically, evil villian, creepy henchmen, mystery and new alliances. And of course lot's of action and romance. Pretty much a perfect book.
Oh yeah... and there's a Masquerade Ball. No good ever comes of those things.