Title: Clockwork Prince
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Tessa Gray’s world was turned upside down when she was kidnapped by the Dark Sisters. They uncovered an unknown power of Tessa’s: the ability to Change into anyone else. Now, free from the Dark Sisters and their sinister master, the Magister, Tessa is living with the Shadowhunters, a group of warriors dedicated to keeping the peace between the Downworlders and Mundanes. But the Magister is still after Tessa. Not only that, the Shadowhunters face problems from within, as Charlotte’s position as the head of the institute is threatened.
Tessa joins forces with the handsome but cruel Will and kind and gentle Jem to investigate the Magister’s past. Along the way, personal secrets are uncovered and Tessa finds herself drawn more and more to Jem, despite her stubborn attraction to Will. When one of their own betrays them, the Shadowhunters and Tessa must find a way to band together before it’s too late.
Although this book wasn’t as exciting as Clockwork Angel and I feel not as much action happened, the characters went through a lot emotionally and the overarching plot was moved along, setting the pieces up for the last book. I really enjoyed it a lot. I like politics and intrigue, and this book dove into that with the political maneuverings of the Lightwood family and their attempts to get Charlotte discredited and take over the Institute.
Mostly, though, I liked the character development. In the last book, I felt that Will was a contradiction and not really well formed. There was something about him that didn’t quite feel real. This book revealed that there was a reason for that and that Will was purposely playing a part and had been for years. My heart heart broke for him when it was revealed why he acted the way he did, and then it broke again later when something else was revealed. It really was very well done and he felt much more real and fully formed this time. Now, he wasn’t a series of cliches; he is a man playing a role that he’s ill suited to play and, while he does it well, his heart isn’t in it.
I also liked the further development of Tessa. She’s gaining confidence in herself and her abilities. I like her connections to other people, and I love her relationship with Sophie, her maid. Where I’m less sold is her relationship with Jem. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Jem and I love Tessa, and I don’t mind them together, but I’m not invested in them. They don’t read like they’re endgame to me and their attraction to one another isn’t as visceral as Tessa and Will’s. I honestly don’t care who she ends up with, but as it’s written now, I don’t believe she’ll end up with Jem, so I’m having a hard time believing the romance. I think this is partly due to the fact we’re not really getting Jem’s side of it. Tessa loves Jem, but she doesn’t seem to be in love with him. I’m sure Jem is in love with Tessa, but I’m not getting his POV (that I remember) and so it feels less real.
What I do like about the triangle, though, is how much the characters love and honor one another. No one wants to hurt the others, and they’re doing what they can to protect them. It’s all very sweet and tragic.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was heavy on interpersonal development and character, and a little lighter on plot and action, but I think it served the story very well. I greatly look forward to the last.