In June, I made it my mission to complete both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I finished all but City of Heavenly Fire, which I’m currently still reading. Therefore, I won’t be doing a June reading wrap-up, but rather a series review of TMI and a series review of TID.
I read these books in the publication order, which is the following:
City of Bones (TMI #1)
City of Ashes (TMI #2)
City of Glass (TMI #3)
Clockwork Angel (TID #1)
City of Fallen Angels (TMI #4)
Clockwork Prince (TID #2)
City of Lost Souls (TMI #5)
Clockwork Princess (TID #3)
City of Heavenly Fire (TMI #6)
It seems confusing, but really, when reading it like this (as it is suggested to by Cassandra Clare), it really makes both of the series make so much more sense, and you can see the connections in the series easier by reading in this format!
Because I’m currently reading City of Heavenly Fire, I’ve finished all three books of The Infernal Devices, and I’m here today to give you a series review of this fantastic series!
The Infernal Devices consist of (along with my rating):
Clockwork Angel (★★★★★)
Clockwork Prince (★★★★★)
Clockwork Princess (★★★★★) – Favorite in the trilogy
When I first started reading The Mortal Instruments, I was immediately hooked. After I finished the first three, I knew it was time to begin The Infernal Devices, and even though I was excited to begin the series that most people claimed was better than the original series that began it all, I was skeptical. I wondered how anything could be better than Jace and Clary and Simon and Isabelle and Alec and Magnus and the New York Institute and Valentine.
But it was better. So, so much better.
This trilogy occurs 130 years before the events in The Mortal Instruments occur. Tessa Gray is shipped to London after the death of her aunt, going after her brother who sent for her because he was already in London. However, once she arrives, she’s taken hostage by the Dark Sisters, where she finds out she has an unusual power—she’s a shapeshifter. While being in captivity, she fears for her life and her brother’s life and desperately wishes to be freed.
Then, along comes the Shadowhunters, including Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs. Will frees her from her prison, and Tessa ends up at the London Institute, where she bonds with Shadowhunters (Charlotte and Henry Branwell, heads of the Institute; Jem and Will, parabatai; and Jessamine Lovelace) and their servants (Sophie, Agatha, Thomas, and eventually Bridget and Cyril). Here, she learns of the Shadow World and all about the things that have been kept hidden from her for her entire life.
Tessa learns that Mortmain, an evil man, wants to capture her and use her power to defeat Shadowhunters along with his almost invincible clockwork army. She learns that she’s a Downworlder. She learns about the complexities of the Shadowhunter life. She learns of life and love and experiences things she never dreamt about or read about in novels.
Tessa steps into the Shadow World, and there’s no going back for her.
Cassandra Clare stepped up her game in this trilogy. The writing in TMI was amazing. TID’s writing was just phenomenal. Every word, every sentence, and every page had a purpose to the story.
The world building of TID is fantastic. Even though it’s still in the Shadowhunter realm, the world building is so different from the world building in TMI. By crafting this prequel series in London, I’ve gotten a different taste of London than I’ve gotten in any other novel that has been set in London. The historical sense of London was captured perfectly through the world building. Even using a clockwork army instead of a purely demonic army seemed to fit appropriately within the time frame (late 1800s) and the placement (London). I like how even though this series was meant to be read after getting a taste of TMI, it still felt new and fresh and completely unlike anything that I’d read previously about the Shadow World. I also enjoyed seeing how certain things in TMI came to be, beginning with the characters and the actions in this series. It just proved that Cassandra is a wonderful storyteller and is a Queen at her craft.
I’ve realized this after reading almost nine of her books, but Cassandra Clare is the best at descriptions. Every one of her books is filled with such detailed descriptions of places, people, feelings, emotions, and actions that reading these books are basically like playing a movie inside of my head. I can picture everything perfectly.
One of the strongest parts of these three books is the dialogue. Cassandra writes such witty and sarcastic dialogue, and at the same time, it’s smart. I don’t think I’ve ever read dialogue that was one, more fitting to the plot and the setting and the time period, and two, incredibly funny! I looked forward to pages where a lot of dialogue was written because I knew some type of emotion would be brought forth. That’s one of the things I enjoyed most about this trilogy: the dialogue of certain characters could make me cry one page, then literally laugh out loud the next.
Yes, the writing in The Infernal Devices is brilliant.
There are many characters I could talk about that were important to the story, but instead, I’m going to talk about the main three: the ones who captured my heart, ripped it out of my chest, then put it back together again—Tessa Gray, Will Herondale, and Jem Carstairs.
As many bookish people may already know, TID consists of a love triangle between these three characters, and while I’ve always despised love triangles, this is the best one I’ve ever read. I genuinely loved Tessa with both Will and Jem, and I think the series ended perfectly in a way that both Wessa shippers and Jessa shippers could be at peace. The love triangle was well planned and executed, and as a reader, I really loved both of the male protagonists. My love for Will is stronger than my love for Jem, but still, I love both men.
I really enjoyed Tessa – more than Clary, I think. As a girl in the 1800s and having to abandon all propriety and the social rules of women that had been instilled in her since birth to adapt to the Shadow World, I think Tessa handled it well. She, over the course of the three books, became a warrior and a savior. She was brave and fought valiantly for those she loved, and even for those she didn’t love. With all her strength and grace, Tessa is the perfect main female character, and I love how she loved so strongly and passionately. It’s obvious that she truly cares what happens to others. I think one of my favorite things about her is her love for literature and how she lived her life in books, as well.
Jem is more of the quiet, kind, thoughtful character. He and Will are parabatai, and of the two boys, he’s the voice of reason, the steady character, the one with a plan. He’s incredibly loving and gentle, and he’s a romantic at heart. He’s half Chinese and half British, and he translates his emotions through his violin. My heart truly ached for him due to his illness – he needs the yin fen to cure his disease, but the yin fen also kills him as well. It’s heartbreaking to read about his declining health, but the pure moments of the sweetness that is Jem makes reading about his sickness worth it. I loved Jem for his kind heart and his willingness to do anything for Will and Tessa.
And then there’s Will. My Will, my Will. Will is my favorite male character of all time. He’s broody and sarcastic and had a sharp tongue. He’s impulsive and wild and acts like he doesn’t have a care in the world. But really, he has the gentlest and most loving heart. Like Jem, he’s a true romantic at heart, though he has problems showing it. Will shows his passion through fighting and through the words of literature, poetry, jokes, and his own made-up phrases. His devotion to those he truly loves, though he has problems with vocalizing it, shows through his actions. And when he loves, he loves with his entire heart and nothing less.
I loved the relationship between these three, but I think my favorite relationship was between Jem and Will. They are parabatai, and their bond is so strong. They’re more than brothers—they practically share the same soul. And in the end, I got extremely emotional over these two. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read these books, but certain scenes between these two left me in tears.
Basically, the relationship between Tessa and Jem, Tessa and Will, and Jem and Will made me a complete mess. The characters completely made this trilogy.
Plot points I enjoyed:
-The Clockwork Army
-The love triangle
-Charlotte being a twenty-something and being basically a mother to a bunch of teenagers.
-Tessa’s background and having an odd parentage
-Jem’s struggles, even though it was terribly sad
-The parabatai relationship
-Sophie the servant and her relationship with Gideon Lightwood, a well-known member in Shadowhunter society.
-The presence of literature
-How everything in this book tied into TMI and how this trilogy gave so much background information
For me, the overall plot of this trilogy captivated me more than The Mortal Instruments. Don’t get me wrong: I adore all the books in TMI, but for some reason, I connected more to the actually story. It was amazing. Everything was amazing.
I’ve rambled on and on, but if you haven’t read this series already, I strongly recommend that you do so immediately! It’s worth all the laughter, tears, and the endless pages of drama!
Five stars for each book, and five stars for the series as a whole!
Soon, a series review for The Mortal Instruments will be posted. Stay tuned!