THIS REVIEW IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY READ THE BOOK. IT IS NOT SPOILER-FREE. THERE ARE TONS OF SPOILERS AND ALL SORTS OF IRRELEVANT COMMENTS. PLEASE DO NOT MOVE AHEAD IF YOU EVER PLAN TO READ THE INFERNAL DEVICES.
(Also, sorry if this review is really long- it’s for three books together, and one of the most interesting series I’ve read. I got carried away.)
THE INFERNAL DEVICES SERIES BY CASSANDRA CLARE.
If you’re one of those readers who’s very in with the most popular books, who’s an active bookstagrammer (if you don’t know what that is…you can still be saved.), you have to have read this book. Out of instagram-peer pressure, if nothing. Honestly, dystopia is the new Young Adult. Then again, since all dystopian-themed books are pretty much Young Adult, it just means every teenager who loves reading has either read, or at least bought this book. I feel like The Hunger Games and Divergent have had their fifteen minutes of fame, and now it your turn, The Infernal Devices.
Let’s get right into it: the first book starts with a beautiful, smart, lonely, courageous girl- Tessa Gray- getting rescued by a shockingly handsome, strong, brooding boy- William Herondale. Who wouldn’t fall in love with the book? I did. All I really knew at this point was that we had skirts and swords, and maybe, just maybe, fighting with swords in a skirt! That was enough to make me abandon all civilization, lock the door to my bedroom and read while making inappropriate observations about Will out loud. Such as his wit. Truly, I have laughed out loud, reading Will’s comments in the first two books. I think Will’s personality, even though it DOES change later on, had a major impact in my liking of this series. Because trust me when I say that there were TONS of things that made me feel like hurling the book across the bedroom. This series is based in the 1800s- and I am no judge of time and age- but I feel like if we must go by this book to judge teenagers of the yesteryear, not much has truly changed since then. Tessa is a lonely girl who loves reading and words- which is a lot like present- age emo teenagers loving tumblr. Somewhat. She is quite dramatic too, and simply annoying at times! But I have to say this, I’m glad of her little faults. If Tessa was a completely rational and emotionally stable person on top of being divinely beautiful and having the literary knowledge of Dickens, it would have been unrealistic. Because of course, the story of warlocks, shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves and magic is completely realistic. But a perfect female character? NO WAY.
Since this review is for readers only, I need not outline the plot for you, need I? Unless you have forgotten what the actual plot is because you’re too distracted by Jem’s silver hair or Will’s blue, blue eyes. See, I’m all for descriptions. They’re really important for the reader as well as the writer since it makes it easier for both of them to know the characters well. Vivid, clear descriptions of characters when introducing them helps us form an image of them in our mind, and it strengthens the story. But Clare might possibly think her readers have somewhat of a dim memory, because she feels inclined to remind us of the characters’ feature now and again and now and again and now and again. If I had a dollar for each time Clare mentioned Jem’s silver hair and pale face or Will’s blue eyes, I would buy some hair dye and give it to Jem. The plotline of the Infernal Devices is impressively complex- it has the right twists and turns and the right emphasis on the right characters. I must say I found the story amazing, it really roped me into the book in a way many books don’t. But I’m not a big fan of the writing. While Clare’s writing is polished, refined and knowledgeable, I feel like at some points she got carried away a bit. For example, at one point there was a war of some sort in force, but between all the swords (no skirts- Tessa fought in gear. Sigh.) and dagger throwing and automatons whirring, Clare though it useful to describe the surroundings. The smell of the air, the view to the mountains, the sound of the village, that sort of thing. No matter, of course, because these surroundings are beautiful and important…but I feel like they could wait until after a few people are dead and the odd fighter is kidnapped. Imagine if this really happened. Right in between war, the soldiers fighting, the sound of gunshots, and between all of that one of them points out the mountains in the distance. Everyone stops for a moment, admiring the expanse of nature, before they go “Okay, then. Where were we?”. As entertaining as that would be, the revered sceneries would only lead to more severed heads. The descriptions were vivid, but a little unnecessary and redundant at some points. It is entirely possible that you wouldn’t have an issue with this, but in a fast-paced series like this one, excessive descriptions just slow the action down. It’s somewhat of a turn-off for me.
The first book is all good- I loved it, more or less, because it did justice to the characters and Clare really told the story well. Obviously Tessa loves Will, but she doesn’t realize it. It bothers me that despite being so smart, she ceases to realize this small detail- that she LOVES Will, and continues to believe she hates him. She kisses him in the attic, she mentions his blue eyes only every single time she lays eyes upon his person, her heart starts beating faster when she’s near him, she yearns his touch, et al. Tessa, the reader of hundreds of romance novels and poems, fails to realize all of this happens possibly because she loves Will. What did she think, though? If not symptoms of love, these are some strange bodily functions taking place. I wonder why she never thought of that. And OBVIOUSLY Will loves Tessa (actually, it is not as obvious, but then Will’s extremely blue eyes sparkle dangerously every time he sees her. Unless he has a worrying case of cataract, it can mean but one thing.). But our Will, a tad more sensible than our Tessa, realizes this and tries to suppress it as best as he can, so as to ensure Tessa doesn’t get hurt. Didn’t all our hearts break a little at this? When Will basically declares Tessa to be a prostitute on that balcony, didn’t we all die just a little, just then?
I think this is why Clare’s writing is so powerful. Her characters are powerful, their words are just as powerful. The second book is somewhat of a filler for me, really. Until the very end when we all come to know of Will’s curse (and do a little dance in our heads), I was just reading it to get to the final book, where all the fun starts. Some huge secrets let loose in this book, but everything is clearly leading into the events of the last book!
Clockwork Princess: ah, this book. I have probably never read such a fat book so fast. I finished it within 48 hours. Except for the slight slumps in between, this book was all I ever wanted from this series. It revived all my Will and Tessa feels from the first book and lessened my Jem and Tessa repulsion (I really hated those two together). The way Tessa defeated Mortmain was so badass, I was actually upset it was over so quickly. This last book made me like Gabriel and Gideon Lockhart even more. I liked how Clare thought everyone should be paired up, and left no one alone. Except poor Cyril. Well, he had his horses. But the romance between all the respective characters was very well established and not at all sudden or strange.
The ending of the series was something I did NOT love. I loved how Tessa ended up with Will and they grew old together, but how very convenient that after Will dies and after Tessa sets out on her own, Jem becomes immortal and they end up together. She can’t have it both ways! The ending was a bummer for all the Will and Tessa shippers, but Jem and Tessa shippers must finally be satisfied. All I can say is (after 3 pages of ranting, of course) that Cassandra Clare knows how to make her readers happy. Because this reader is quite happy.