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Book Review: The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Henry lurched to his feet, his gingery hair matted with blood and ichor. His gear was torn at the shoulder, scarlet fluid leaking from the would. “Tessa,” he exclaimed, and then he was beside her, helping her to her feet. “By the Angel, we’re a pair,” he said in his rueful Henry way, looking at her worriedly. 

“You’re not hurt, are you?”

She glanced down at herself and saw what he meant: Her dress was soaked with a spray of ichor, and there was an ugly cut on her forearm where she had fallen on the broken glass. It didn’t hurt much, yet, but there was blood. “I am quite all right,” she said. “What happened, Henry? What was that thing and why was it in here?”

A guardian demon. I was searching Benedict’s desk, and I must have moved or touched something that awoke it. A black smoke poured from the drawer, and become that. It lunged at me-“

“And clawed you,” Tessa said in concern. “You’re bleeding-“
“No, I did that myself. Fell on my dagger,” Henry said sheepishly, drawing a stele from his belt. “Don’t tell Charlotte.”

Tessa almost smiled; then, remembering, she dashed across the room and tugged open the curtains across one of the tall windows. She could see out across the gardens, but not, frustratingly, the Italian garden; they were on the wrong side of the house for that. Green box hedges and flat grass, beginning to brown with winter, stretched out before her. “I must go,” she said. “Will and Jem and Cecily- they were battling the creature. It has killed Tatiana Blackthorn’s husband. I had to convey her back to the carriage as she was near fainting.”

There was a silence. Then: “Tessa,” Henry said in an odd voice, and she turned to see him, arrested in the act of applying an iratze to his inner arm. He was staring at the wall across from him- the wall Tessa had thought earlier was oddly mottled and splotched with stains. She saw now that they were no accidental mess. Letters a foot tall each stretched across the wallpaper, written in what looked like dried black blood.

And there, beneath the scrawls, a last sentence, barely readable, as if whoever had written it had been losing the use of his hands. She pictured Benedict locked in this room, going slowly mad as he transformed, smearing the words on the wall with his own ichor-ridden blood.

Mortmain is tightening his plan around the Shadowhunters, and while he lurks in the shadows, his intent is clearer than ever: he wants Tessa.  Will and Jem, along with the rest of the London Institute, are determined not to let him have her, especially as it’s clear that she’s at least part Shadowhunter. However, when she’s taken from them, Tessa realizes that she must be the one to rescue herself- but how, even with a clockwork angel protecting her?

The Clockwork Princess, the third and final book in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, is a wonderful finish to the series. Mortmain is plotting to be rid of the Shadowhunters once and for all, and to do that he needs what he’s wanted since the beginning:  Tessa Gray.  Part Shadowhunter, part something else, her abilities are crucial to his plot destroy everything Tessa has learned to care for, including Will and Jem. Yet Mortmain is not the only one with plots in place against Charlotte and her allies- the Consul is moving against her as well. Risking everything, they must defeat all of their enemies or perish.  The characters really grow within this series, and readers come to love them as their own; the heartbreak and anguish that they go through in this final book is rewarded only by the ending chapter.  Definitely give this series to those who are reading Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series (if only so they can trace where characters such as Magnus come from), or tie in with Kady Cross’ Steampunk Chronicles series or Fisher’s Incarceron duet. 4.5 out of 5 stars.  As of April 9, 2013, Goodreads has Clockwork Princess as 4.64 stars.

OMG, such a wonderful book.  I did NOT want it to end, and even when it did, I wanted more.  The whole love triangle between Tessa and Will and Jem is so poignant and agonizing, especially when you have to know that Jem’s time is limited, even more so with what happened in The Clockwork Prince (Mortmain buying up the drug, etc.). I was floored with what actually happened to Jem, and then with the final chapter I was gone, and my heart soared.  SOOOO wonderful, and with what is a perfect ending to a love story.

The developing love stories between the Lightwood boys and Sophie and Cecily are hysterical and completely spot-on.  I am now having to re-read The Mortal Instruments because I am trying to figure out who are the ancestors of Alec and Isabella in The City of Bones, because right now it could be either brother (I am leaning towards Gabriel, however- if you know, don’t tell me, because I can’t remember, and I’m waiting on the second book to come back). I could cheat and just go to the bookstore and look at the cover (my library covered it, so it’s sealed, so no genealogy chart for me) but I’d much rather try and figure it out for myself. And the relationship between Charlotte and Henry is so touching and real it just wants to break your heart.

There’s just enough of the mechanical and fantastical to keep readers of that genre interested- not near as much as the Steampunk Chronicles, or even The Clockwork Angel but then that’s to be expected in the final book.

I could totally live in this world if not for the stays and dresses. I’d be running around in pants.


  1. I am so excited! Can't wait to read it too!

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