I have always been a big fan of the Mortal Instruments books by Cassandra Clare, so when my friends suggested her second series, the Infernal Devices, I was eager to read them. These books, the first of which is called Clockwork Angel, are just as good as the Mortal Instruments books. All of Clare’s books are very exciting and quick reads. They are set in our world, but with the addition of people called Shadowhunters, who control the world’s vast population of magical and mythical creatures. I really enjoyed Clockwork Prince, the second book in the trilogy, and eagerly await the release of the third book, entitled Clockwork Princess.
The plot follows the Shadowhunters of the London institute in the late 1800s. The characters all came together in the first book, in which best friends and Shadowhunters Jem Carstairs and William Herondale meet the mysterious Tessa Gray, a shape changer whose origins are a mystery even to her. Several other Shadowhunters live at the institute, including the leaders of the group, Charlotte and Henry and the self-absorbed Jessamine. In the first book, Tessa is sought after by the mysterious and threatening Magister, who desires her as a wife for unknown reasons. Tessa escapes him narrowly with the help of her new friends and the second book follows the group as they try to find the Magister and keep control of the Institute as other Shadowhunters attempt to usurp power. All of this is combined with some troubling love stories, as both Will and Jem are in love with Tessa and each of them must attempt to sort out their feelings while also dealing with their own curses and dilemmas.
The characters of the story are very realistic and understandable. You can’t help but like certain characters and hate others. Clare writes well in that she can make characters make mistakes or behave rudely, and yet you still like them if she wants you to. Each character, no matter how small, has worries and strengths that they bring to light at important moments. I was very impressed with the character of Sophie, the maid, who is both timid and brave at the same time and trusts her own instincts. I was also impressed with the portrayal of love, because it is never simple and often confusing, as shown by not only Tessa and her feelings for both Jem and Will, but even by Charlotte, as she tries to cope with thoughts of whether or not her husband really loves her.
I also love Clare’s ability to write interesting action scenes that do not seem confusing or boring. I also love her description. I could never imagine how many different ways she could describe Will’s blue eyes, yet she never seems to repeat herself. She makes the characters very easy to visualize (helped by the pictures of Will and Jem on the first two books.
I am looking forward to the conclusion of this series, as well as the upcoming last two books of the Mortal Instruments series. Clare says on her website that she will be writing a new series as well, called the Dark Artifices set in LA. I excited that she will continue to write about this interesting world and its wonderful characters. I will give this book a 4/5 for my book review.