Monday, December 12, 2011

The Infernal Devices Book Two: Clockwork Prince (Cassandra Clare)

Ever since I read Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, I've been eagerly awaiting its sequel. Clockwork Prince still has a lot of the elements that I enjoyed from the first book, especially the melding of Victorian romance and fantasy -- a true guilty pleasure read for me. But I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by the absence of a pronounced challenge posed by the Magister's automatons, despite a grand battle with one of them at the book's climax. However, it just felt that it was missing the fear of the unknown that had sparked the incidents of the first book: the Clave didn't know who or what they were up against, and I thought that effectively highlighted each character's way of reacting to and coping with conflict. Since in this sequel they already know who they're dealing with, it didn't feel as exciting to me as the first book had been.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Clockwork Prince is meant to be a transition book: the Institute, led by (my favorite characters in the series) the young Charlotte Branwell and her absent-minded husband Henry, is on the trail of the Magister. Their investigations reveal that he is driven by revenge, not greed, and despite his absence he has left others to do his work. Readers also find out more about Will and Jem, the Institute's teenage Shadowhunters, and Tessa finally makes a choice between them.

I'm not too sold on the conflict/resolution introduced here about Will's behavior towards people. He was already a bit Jace 2.0 (from her Mortal Instruments trilogy) but it was something I overlooked in the beginning because I had faith that he would have a different story. But with the latest development, I think he just grew more into his Jace skin. Jem also does something here that I question given his condition, and I'm not inclined to dismiss this easily knowing that he had refused to be Will's parabatai before. It makes me feel that I'm re-learning their characters all over again. It still makes for an interesting read when you realize that there is more to the characters that you didn't consider before, but it runs the risk of them coming out as uneven and inconsistent. Despite not being as enjoyable as Clockwork Angel had been, I still look forward to reading more of the London Institute. There is enough action and promise here to anticipate a highly-charged conclusion.


Cj said...

I agree with you that there was no climactic action scene in the end. But i liked this one better since there was a more push and pull action within the love triangle :)

dementedchris said...

Yeah, the romance angle grew in leaps and bounds here. Did you expect Jem's actions? I certainly didn't!