Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (a Simon & Schuster imprint)
Release Date: December 6, 2011
Number of Pages: 502
Source of Book: ARC requested from publisher at NCTE Convention
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, 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.I have to be honest. After reading THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS trilogy and loving it so much, I was a little bit underwhelmed by CLOCKWORK ANGEL (the first book in this prequel steampunk series). I still really wanted to read CLOCKWORK PRINCE, but wasn't sure that I would love it, but...I did - way more than I expected to. I think this one was right back up to the quality that I like in Cassandra Clare's writing and storytelling and characters. This second book was much better than the first in my opinion. I think that might be partly because I'm not the biggest steampunk fan, and perhaps the first one had a little bit more of the automatons than this second one did, so I felt like it was back to the heart of the storytelling I love.
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 London to 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.
Once again, I was swept up into the world of the Shadowhunters and all of the excitement and emotion and suspense and action they have in their world. I like Tessa quite a bit as a character and I enjoy reading things from her perspective. And then there's the whole Will and Jem triangle that Tessa has to contend with and figure out, but she does it in her own way and with her own strength of character and integrity. There is a lot of emotional depth to the characters' interactions, and I truly appreciate how the Shadowhunters at the Academy take in outsiders and orphans and really become family for each other. It's what adds heart to these stories which has worlds of demons, but I do have to say, it was heart-breaking to me as well (but I won't give away why!). Once again, Magnus was my favorite character in the book - and I'm so glad he is who he is because then he gets to be in this series and the present-day Mortal Instruments series. But Will steals the show in this story, and the depth at which we get to know him as his backstory is revealed, was the highlight of this book for me.
These characters kick butt and the pacing of these books is masterful as it makes me want to keep reading to find out what twist will come next. I'm as completely hooked on this series now as I am on The Mortal Instruments, and of course, in true Cassie Clare fashion, was left completely hanging at the end of the book and am now desperately waiting the next one, CLOCKWORK PRINCESS, on November 1st.