I am still really sick, so this review is a bit out of sorts BUT it’s really important to me because I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. I didn’t like the romantic plot line I thought was coming, but the emotional weight of the entire family dynamic made it a love and must read for me!
Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!
Author: Cassandra Clare
Goodreads Description: In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…
Why it’s worth it: First off, Cassandra Clare is a wonderfully amazing author. I am incapable of letting people ask “What should I read next?” without screaming HAVE YOU READ CASSANDRA CLARE? That said, most people are familiar with her The Mortal Instruments series, which I also love a lot. However, I honestly think that this series is more strongly written than the TMI books–and also is a tighter, more thoroughly planned trilogy.
The Infernal Devices series has all the elements that I love in the first series, while being set in a more Steampunk setting. The characters are a bit more complex and the plot line deals with more issues than just magic/action/thrills. That said, they read REALLY fast and are good for plenty of heart-pounding and emotions and laughter.
ALSO THE ROMANCE. I have never been more on the fence with who I wanted the main character to pick in a love triangle. Yes, love triangle. BUT A GOOD ONE. Cassandra Clare basically only wrote this love triangle because Holly Black told her that no one could ever write a good love triangle. Clare succeeded big time.
…just talking about them now makes me wish they were here at school with me so I could read them again and again and again.
Anyways, if you were looking for a gateway into Cassandra Clare’s world, LOOK NO FURTHER. There is definitely some debate on how best to read the series (since they interlock in weird ways, given the order in which they were published), but starting here will show you all the best that Clare has to offer, which will get you through some of the not as strong showings in TMI.
Read it if you’re looking for: steampunk, magic, fantasy, kickass heroines, romance, good love triangles, action, adventure, humor
Tessa Gray should be happy – aren’t all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her.
4 ½ stars
So this is it. And so soon after the end of Shadows in the Silence, too. I literally may die. I can’t handle this. Even if Cassie is going to be writing like a bajillion more Shadowhunter books.
This book starts out much like you might expect: Tessa is trying out a wedding dress, Jem’s in love, Will’s moody because all the women in his life seem to do is vex him and Benedict Lightwood has transformed into a giant bug thing because of demon pox.
Oh wait. No, I wasn’t expecting that last bit there.
The inciting incident of this novel is, in fact, that Benedict Lightwood has becoming a giant bug demon and that he ate his son in law. Gabriel Lightwood has nowhere to go but the London Institute for help. Charlotte is of course going to give it to him, without telling the Clave because of the shame it would cause the Lightwood family. Let the games begin!
Interestingly enough, these events are also interspersed with correspondence between the Clave and the Consul, telling the Consul that they are considering Charlotte as the new Consul. The characters have no idea this is going on, but we get a sense that the Consul has bad plans for Charlotte to keep her from getting his job. Throughout the book, these letters will keep cropping up to advise us of where the Clave is in their plans and just exactly what the Consul is thinking without making him a major POV character. It was a really interesting device, and I think it worked really well.
If you were expecting all the feels with this book, though, you’d be right. There is not one character mentioned who doesn’t rip at your heart strings. (I know the cliché is tug at your heart strings. This is way too tame for this book.) Even Gabriel Lightwood realizes he has a soul. The relationship between Will, Jem and Tessa continues to build, to the point where I almost couldn’t stand the idea that she would pick one over the other. But more on that later.
The plot was pretty good in this one, if a little over laden with dialogue sometimes. The most gorgeous moments in this book do occur through dialogue, but even I wished sometimes that somebody would just kill something. At the same time, the amount of character development was striking and I would have hated to not have had a moment of it. But just don’t expect all that much action.
So I know the big thing here is: who does she end up with? Well, I’m not going to tell you, obviously. I WILL tell you that if you want to be surprised by the ending, don’t get curious as to why the inside of your hard cover book jacket sparkles. There’s a family tree in there that tells you all you need to know and I looked at it way too soon.
This is mostly for my folks who’ve already read the ending and want to know what I think, but without spoilers so those of you who haven’t can try to puzzle it out. I thought the ending was heartbreakingly perfect—until the epilogue. I’ve read Cassie’s explanation for why she added the epilogue, but I’m still not sure I like it. On the one hand, the romantic in me finds it absolutely perfect. On the other hand, the reasoning that led Tessa to make her original decision just broke my heart in all the right places. It said so much about the beauty of their whole relationship. I may have died inside when she made the choice, but I probably could have come to grips with it a lot faster than this whole epilogue thing.
This review has already gone on way too long, but I had to make this a perfect send off. I will always love The Mortal Instruments, but the level of writing in The Infernal Devices is just off the charts. I love the characters in TMI, but the TID characters just break my heart, and I can’t stand to see them go. Thank you for a breathtakingly beautiful story, Cassie. I have to go cry again now.