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{Review} Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare

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.


Review
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).


Overall
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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