Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
This novel concludes the Infernal Devices trilogy, prequel series for the Mortal Instruments series. The first of that series, City of Bones, is being made into a movie this summer, so I’m hoping to read that book before the movie comes out too. I’m looking forward to finding the connections between that series and this one. The Infernal Devices trilogy is set in 1800s London and has a bit of a steam punk aesthetic. Some of the best scenes of action and horror are about battles between Shadowhunters and automatons (robots, in this case, evil ones animated by demons).
Romance is definitely the main focus of this series. There are several flowery declarations and even a steamy sex scene–ample fuel for many an adolescent fantasy. Three love stories are told here, one a love triangle. This triangle had pretty much the happiest possible ending any love triangle could possibly have, but the characters had to go through some pretty delicious angst to earn that ending. In addition to the romance, the plot included betrayal, political power plays, a sick and twisted villain, and a nice climactic surprise. I enjoyed the book quite a bit, but I would have enjoyed it even more if I were fifteen.
Clare’s writing puts her above most writers in the YA romance and paranormal/fantasy categories. Her sentences are strong and descriptive and rarely use cliches. I appreciated the way Will and Tessa talked about classic literature constantly and referred to it to make sense of their lives. Each chapter begins with a few lines from a Romantic-era poem. In this way I thought these novels could even do their part to turn young readers on to Dickens and other classic authors.