The Infernal Devices takes place in the shadowhunter world created by author Cassandra Clare and is a prequel to The Mortal Instruments series, featuring some of the Mortal Instruments characters ancestors. The world itself is centred around downworlders (warewolfs, vampires, warlocks and demons) and nelphilim (the part angel, part human offspring) as each group struggles for power, acceptance and survival.
Although the series comprises of three separate novels, Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess, I will be reviewing the series as a whole. My reasoning for this is that when readers begin a new series, they usually do so knowing that it is unlikely that they will be able to read just one book, having things wrapped up nicely at the end. This is more true of this series than most. Reading more like one super novel, each subsequent book picks ups almost right where the previous left. You must read them all to come around in a full circle and have all questions answered. But that’s ok, because 1) they’re all out, so there’s not need to wait! and 2) once you start reading you’ll probably find you can’t stop as there’s a burning desire in you that must know what happens next.
The series centres around London in the 1800’s (1878 to be exact) in which a sixteen year old girl, Tessa Grey, finds herself pulled into a world she did not know existed. As she is taken in by a group of shadowhunters, (nelphilim warriors) she begins to understand herself and her new found powers, questioning where she stands in this strange world. Though she develops lasting friendships, slowly learning that not all those in the shadowhunter world wish her well, she struggles to understand the deeper beatings of her own heart.
“Pointless, needless suffering and pain? I don’t suppose it would help if I told you that was the way life is. The good suffer, the evil flourish, and all that is mortal passes away.” – Cassandra Clare
So I haven’t gone into too much detail of the plot itself, as you can easily find that on the blurb, but I will talk about what I liked and disliked about the series.
I found Tessa could at times be a bit fickle and inconsistent – but then I know what it’s like to be sixteen and confused about love and friendship and your general place in the world, not to mention to feel like you’re stuck in a rut. There were also a few parts, lines here and there that seemed a bit out of place for what was happening at the time, but you can move past that fairly easily.
What I really liked about it was, the world that was built around Tessa. As the series advances, you get more and more of a look into the lives of those around her and they are the ones that really make the story. I actually liked learning more about them than I did about Tessa. From the ever sweet, yet mighty Charlotte, to Henry and his inventions, to the every a gentlemen, Jem and the quick mouthed Will and the ungracious, yet lady like Jessamine, you really come to care for them all and the author does a good job of capturing their inner voices.
You get a sense of what it’s like to live in their world (a world you will probably want to jump right into). Even though it’s a fantasy, you share and can relate to their uncertainties, their heartbreaks and their happiness. It also touches on some important social issues of the time, such as the status of women, and the proper way to behave in society. Then there’s all the twists and turns! There’s so much happening, so much to keep you guessing! It’s a great rollercoaster of ups and downs, seriousness and facing down death, intertwined with humour and energy that keeps your eyes glued to the page . Plus for those of you that are a fan of the classics, there are a lot of references woven in this series, with Tessa her self being a self proclaimed bookworm.
“Some of these books are dangerous,” he said. “It’s wise to be careful.”“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” – Cassandra Clare
Now, in terms of the ending, I won’t give it away, however I will say that depending on your view of life and love, you will either find it eternally sweet or bitterly frustrating. However if you like a bit of fantasy and old fashioned chivalry then I would recommend you have a read.
In addition, if you have not read anything from Cassandra Clare before, it does not matter whether the Mortal Instruments or Infernal Devices series is read first.
If you’ve read the series, I would love to know what you thought of it, so let me know in the comments below!
“I choose the war.” – Cassandra Clare