Thursday, 5 January 2012

Book Review - Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Although Cassandra Clare is one of my favourite writers, I wasn't as keen on her steampunk series Infernal Devices as I was of her The Mortal Instrument saga. So did Cassie work her magic on me the second time around?

Still reeling from her terrifying confrontation with the Magister and her brother's betrayal, Tessa Gray is drawn ever deeper into the Shadowhunter's dark underworld of demons and danger. In a desperate attempt to help her friends, Tessa tries to uncover the truth about the Magister and learns that he blames the Shadowhunters for the murder of his parents nearly a half century ago. Determined to unravel the secrets of his past, Tessa, Will and Jem journey to mist-shrouded Yorkshire, only to encounter corrupt Shadowhunters more intent on burying the past than finding the Magister - a past that holds the key not only to the enemy's motivations and weakness, but to the secret of what Tessa really is and what she was born to do. Meanwhile, Tessa's feelings for Jem and Will are growing more complicated, and soon she is forced to acknowledge that any choice she makes will either save the Shadowhunters of London or end them forever. 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. 

I have never been a fan of period drama or steampunk. Maybe it was narrow mind-ness, maybe it was just that I'm not familiar with the period and needed to know a little more, or maybe it is just that it didn't use to rock my boat. 

Clockwork Angel, the first book in this series, was full of action and really well written - after all, it's Cassandra Clare! - but I just didn't get into it as much as I thought I would and it took me watching one of Clare's interviews to understand certain aspects. 

On Clockwork Prince, however, I was completely and utterly hooked. Cassie was very good at explaining the mindset of the times in baby steps so even people like me - with a cultural and conceptual lack of understanding and knowledge of Victorian times (sorry, we don't really study British history in Brazil) - could get the hang of it.

There is something else this book has done for me. It made realise that in period drama the romance is a lot more dramatic and intense because back on those days it wasn't acceptable to show desire or affection to someone, especially in public. That kind of uptight-ness usually explodes into really good scenes and it almost makes me wish we weren't so liberal today so that we could appreciate the little signs, touches, of affection we are able to enjoy as part of today's relationship code of conduct. But that is the magic of books for you! I'm sure the reality back them wasn't just a rosy sea of intense eat-you-from-the-inside-out romances either.

Either way, if you are a paranormal romance or YA fantasy fan, you will want to read this book. Romance, mystery, betrayal, action... It's all in there. And I tell what else... I am a big fan of drop dead gorgeous bad-boy-with-a-good-heart (call it cliché if you must, but I still like them), herewith represented by Will, and I always side with them in any series. However, on Clockwork Prince, and for the first time ever, I caught myself cheering for the other team: the equally drop dead gorgeous take-him-home-to-mother-good-boy, a.k.a. James (Jem). Who would have thought! I almost feel I'm betraying myself!

While this is the second book of the trilogy and you should be getting somewhere with solving the puzzle, by the time you finish it, you will get the feeling that you are anything but close and things will just be a lot more complicated. Oh heck! I am now biting my nails for Clockwork Princess, the third and final book of the Infernal Devices series due for release in December this year.

Book Rating: *****
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