{Review} Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare

05 Jun

As read for the Once Upon a Time Challenge

Ever since Professor Elemental introduced me to the steampunk sub-genre, I’ve been rather interested in the concept.

A friend who has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of modern day Science Fiction and Fantasy (and who is scarily good at choosing books for people) gave me the first book in the series for my birthday last year. I loved it and was thrilled to find a used copy of Clockwork Prince in a book store last month.
Blurb (From Goodreads)
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 Londonto 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.

Second novels in trilogies sometimes remind me of the recoil on big guns, especially when they’re preceded by fast-paced first novels.

The first few hundred pages were Clockwork Prince’s ‘recoil’. Things happened, but they did so at a far slower pace than at any point in Clockwork Angel. In some ways that was a relief as it allowed for a good bit of character development, which in turn added to the love-triangle tension.

Although, I think that there was too much emphasis on the love triangle in this novel. Maybe I’m getting old and cynical, but I do feel that this particular love triangle detracts from the main plots at times.

Especially as Jem and Will are so similar to Jace and Simon from Clare’s Mortal Instruments hexalogy.

Again, in the first few hundred pages of Clockwork Prince, I felt that the claustrophobic elements from the first novel, such as the Magister’s Moriarty-like omniscience and use of strange mechanical beings took on a secondary role. This was rather saddening for me because I do like an odious main villain.

Of course, this novel did have some rather good twists in the ‘villain’ department. Clare managed to create one who was a paler shade of grey, as it were, which made for quite a nice change to the usual villain pile.

The element that really cheesed me off was the American vocabulary and grammar used by the English characters. I have no idea if other people feel the same, but to me, language helps in the creation of characters. Making a well-educated, typically upper-middle class group of English people use elements of grammar that are (at best) seen as ‘not used since Shakespeare’ undermines their characters.

 /startgrumble It’s the equivalent of writing a play involving a chav version of Her Majesty the Queen. Without the irony. /endgrumble

I understand that Clare’s American, but editors/ proof-readers exist for that sort of thing. (I had the same gripe with sections of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, when the sentence structure sounded oddly English. Although, to her credit, she did use bits of American grammar).

Whilst Clockwork Prince introduced some interesting twists and set the stage for book three, I felt that the story pootled along for the first eleven chapters. Then suddenly bolted like a spooked horse until the end. The ending made up for the slow start and has me feeling psyched up to read Clockwork Princess.

WNI’s Verdict? Wavering…


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8 responses to “{Review} Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare

  1. TBM

    June 6, 2012 at 12:58

    I have Clockwork Angel sitting on my shelf. Maybe I should dig into this series.

    • wildnightin

      June 7, 2012 at 13:11

      It’s a good series. Are you reading anything at the moment (bookwise, I mean)?

      • TBM

        June 7, 2012 at 13:23

        🙂 Wild Swans and I just finished A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

  2. lynnsbooks

    June 8, 2012 at 18:41

    I found this one a bit of a let down. I really enjoyed the first instalment. Like you, I liked the villain of the piece, the steampunk feel, the fast pace and the London setting. This one felt slow and a bit unnecessary – like it didn’t bring anything to the plot and seemed to rely solely on the love triangle to keep the reader’s attention. Which, frankly, it didn’t. I suppose I have to allow that this is meant for a younger audience and maybe they enjoy the constant friction of this triangle but it frankly just got on my nerves. I will read the next one because I want to see how it all ends.
    Lynn 😀

    • wildnightin

      June 12, 2012 at 11:29

      I agree with you about the pace and the love triangle. You’re right, the latter element was probably aimed at a younger audience. I still feel that quite a few recent YA publications put too much emphasis on the love triangle. I really want to know how it ends. 🙂 I’m afraid that she’ll try to make the trilogy into a 6 book series, as she’s doing with the Mortal Instrumentss series.
      Do you have any steampunk recommendations? I think I like the genre. 😀

      • lynnsbooks

        June 12, 2012 at 21:25

        I’m keen to read more steam punk myself. Not read lots to be honest. The first steampunk I read was Gail Carriger’s parasol protectorate series. Have you read those? I think they’re really good. Set in a very strange alternative Victorian Britain with vamps and werewolves, dirigibles and almost 007(ish) parasols!
        Good fun and very witty.
        Lynn 😀

      • wildnightin

        June 13, 2012 at 22:00

        I will go and read the parasol protectorate series. 🙂 The Cassandra Clare series is the only steam-punk themed one I’ve read so far, so I’m really keen to find other books.
        Thank you for the recommendation. 🙂

      • lynnsbooks

        June 13, 2012 at 22:12

        I think you’ll like them, you’ll probably start reading and think ‘mmm, what the hell has she recommended’ – which is what I also thought. Gail Carriger has a very eccentric and quirky way of writing but it very quickly grows on you. The first book is great. I’d love to know what you think and when you find a good steampunk you can let me know because I’m also keen to read more.
        Lynn 😀


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