Clockwork Prince is the second installment in The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. Written as a prequel to Clare’s popular and continuing YA (Young Adult) series- The Mortal Instruments , Clockwork Prince once again takes place in Victorian England, following closely, on the heals of Clockwork Angel. Tessa Gray, Jem Carstairs and Will Herondale return to heat up their relationship triangle, as well as the introduction of a few new characters.
16 year old Tessa’s ongoing presence at the Institute has placed Charlotte and the other Shadowhunters in a precarious position. Benedict Lightwood, aiming to replace Charlotte as head of the Institute issues an ultimatum- they have 2 weeks to find the notorious Mortmain (aka Magister) or face eviction. Not willing to fall victim to the Magister’s attempts at kidnapping Tessa, she volunteers to help Will and Jem locate the mysterious Ravenscar Manor, the last know address for Mortmain. But Tessa’s abilities as a shifter are not the only thing that drives the Magister. He blames the Shadowhunters for a tragedy that all but destroyed his life.
Upon arrival at Ravenscar, Will’s life takes an abrupt turn, when he spies his younger sister entering the Manor-his sister, long thought dead. To complicate matters, the trio is attacked by an automaton, who warns Will and the others, not to proceed further with their search for the Magister, or fear repercussions against Will’s family. Upon their return to London, Will makes a quick exit followed by a drug induced foray into the world of self-pity and humiliation, only to be rescued by his best friend and addict Jem.
Meanwhile, Tessa and Sophie must be tutored in the fighting ways of the Shadowhunter, so Benedict Lightwood volunteers his sons Gideon and Gabriel. Realizing the young men are probably spies for their father, Tessa soon discovers that Gabriel’s attitude towards her, is in direct response to his hatred for Will and a long-ago encounter between the two, and Gideon’s handling of Sophie soon develops into something more than friendship.
Over a period of several nights, Tessa spies Jessamine Lovelace leaving and returning to the Institute, disguised as a young boy. Tessa’s warning to the others regarding Jessie’s behavior and the discovery of an invitation, from Tessa’s estranged brother Nathaniel to Jessie, finds Tessa ‘shifting’ into the persona of Jessamine, to attend a masquerade affair. Dancing with his sister, Nate reveals to Tessa (Jessie) his alliance with the Magister, but not before Will and Tessa witness Benedict Lightwood and his sons in attendance. Back at the Institute, Jessamine is handed the “Sword of Truth” and confesses to her relationship with Nate and her betrayal of the Shadowhunters. She is taken into custody by the Silent Brothers.
A message from Nate to Jessie, soon has the Shadowhunters, on a mission. Jessie is to meet Nathaniel at a pre-determined destination to discuss their relationship, but Tessa will be the one to meet her brother. The Shadowhunters agree to trail Tessa on her mission to the warehouse, only to find out it was a trap. Nathaniel had known that is was Tessa all along, and not Jessamine, who attended the ball. The Shadowhunters are stalled by a werewolf in the throws of an overdose, but are soon overpowered by a rather large prototype automaton. Will and Tessa are seriously injured, but not before Nathaniel reveals a startling truth and succumbs to his own injuries.
Following a lengthy period of healing and adjustment for both Tessa and Will, Jem surprises Tessa with his own declaration of love, asking for her hand in marriage. But her heart is torn between her love for Jem and the love she has for Will. But Will has a few secrets himself, that he reveals to Tessa, including his reasons for so often pushing her away. But it may be too late for everyone.
When Benedict declares that the Shadowhunters have not honored their end of the bargain to find Mortmain, the Clave calls a hearing to determine whether Charlotte should remain in the position as head of the Shadowhunter Institute. But a surprise visit, by the Shadowhunters to Benedict, results in his ‘renouncing’ his claims of poor leadership against Charlotte, and the Clave finds for the defendant. Charlotte will maintain her position at the Institute, but only so long as they continue to search for the elusive Magister.
Clockwork Prince is a very detailed storyline. We are introduced to Woolsey Scott (werewolf) and Ragnor Fell, as well as Gideon and Gabriel Lightwood. Magnus Bane is not without his usual comedic retorts and many of the Shadowhunter surnames are recognizable from The Mortal Instruments series.
The love triangle between Tessa, Jem and Will passes smoldering into blatant declarations of love from both young men, but in the end, only one will win the girl. Jem’s declining health due to addiction only fuels the fires of love or guilt (whichever you choose to believe), and Tessa must chose to which man her heart belongs. She loves both men equally, but differently. And in the end, only Cassandra Clare knows in which direction her heart will follow.
The fight to keep the Institute out of the hands of Benedict Lightwood, will continue into Clockwork Princess. And there appears to be a developing storyline between Sophie and Gideon Lightwood. It is hoped that whatever happened between Will and Gabriel, all those years ago, will finally be revealed in the next book.
As for the Young Adult Storyline…I am not a big fan of the teen angst drama. I found myself anxious and not extremely pleased with the many directions of the love triangle between the 3 young characters, knowing where Tessa’s heart really belonged. But all YA storylines follow a particular outline, and Clockwork Prince did not fail. I look forward to Clockwork Princess. I created a fan, in my niece, who is a regular on Cassandra’s website. I leant her my books, and she has been addicted ever since. Christmas, brought with it, a new set of the Mortal Instrument series, to replace her dog-eared set, that I had previously purchased, along with a copy of Clockwork Prince and City of Fallen Angels. And it was refreshing, to be able to carry on a conversation with a 13 year old girl, knowing, I understood, exactly what she was talking about.
Review by Sandy