Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Summary from Goodreads:
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
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 liked the Clockwork Angel, the first installment in this particular series. But I know the first book is hardly ever the judge of how good a series might go, for me, at least. Case in point, The Mortal Instruments Series by the same author. By the time the fourth book rolled in, finishing the series became a bit of a strain and a drag. So I actually filled this series away, into the 'will-read-if-someone-lent-me-a-copy" category. And my friend, R, did send me her copy because she says Clockwork Princess is to come out this year. So off I went into the second book of The Infernal Devices series.
The good stuff;
1. The setting is still the major reason why I like this book. I think the author did not fail to deliver yet again, as in the first installment, a good picture of The Old Victorian London with it's dimly lit streets of mystery, the horse-drawn carriages. the petticoats and parasols, the masquerades, the formal and conservative way the people dress and conduct themselves. It's a nice contrast to the somewhat hardcore activity of demon hunting.
2. The minor characters were memorable, in fact, I liked them more than the main characters. Charlotte and Henry, a favorite of mine in the first book, was shown in a much deeper light. Back stories were given as to how they came to be married and run Institute. The development of their relationship was a treat to read. Sophie, another favorite, was thrust into a romantic subplot. I also thought the addition of the Irish Cook singing, somewhat, macabre songs of premonition, increased the overall creepy atmosphere. The Lightwood boys were also another welcome addition, two more handsome dudes to shake things up. Jessamine's role too was quite unexpected and I loved it.
3. The entirety of the plot was okay. One can catch on it pretty quick. It's pretty straightforward. The Shadowhunters are now faced with the threat from an enemy called, Mortmain. The Clave are currently skittish about this and are thrown into a bit of a political upheaval. As a result, they gang up on our protagonists and are faced with the possibility of the Institute being taken away from Charlotte's leadership. Unless, they find Mortmain. So of they go, trying to uproot his past, dig through his present, and unravel his future ploys. But along the way, they actually discover much about their very own past, some were welcome information that made them become a better version of themselves, some they wish they hadn't known.
The bad stuff:
1. Recycled romantic plot. Boy loves girl and girl kinda likes him too. But boy is baaad for girl, fatal even. So he does his best to be despicable to girl, and push her away. In secret, boy painfully pines for girl. Girl also gives him longing, confused glances. But here comes, a kind and equally gorgeous blood brother. Girl become even more torn! Followed by a whole lot of description of gorgeousness and desire. Sounds familiar? Sometimes, I kind of fell to old and worn out for this particular type of romance. So technically, it's not really the books, it's just me. I've just become too ancient to appreciate it.
2. The curse (which I'd rather not elaborate, so as to avoid spoilers). I thought it did not make sense for Will to believe the curse to be true because it is just absurdly impossible. I think there has already been years of proof of it's ineffectivity, right before his eyes. All those years of agonizing over it, I think, was just a tad ludicrous.
I was actually fearful of this book becoming too dramatic for my taste, while in a way, that came true, but I don't think it was off-putting enough for me to warrant dropping the third installment. But this series won't be top priority as of the moment.