Review will come... Lovely read, maybe too elaborate for the rather small plot but like the first instalment a great world with great characters to re...moreReview will come... Lovely read, maybe too elaborate for the rather small plot but like the first instalment a great world with great characters to reside in. No disappointing sequel at all!(less)
Ever since finishing the last page from ‘Clockwork Angel’, I have been yearning for ‘Clockwork Prince’ to be published! The Victorian world, the realistic characters, the elaborate story-telling, the witty dialogues, the thickly woven plot, the subtle romance… they wouldn’t let me go! A few weeks after the book was delivered, I finally had the time to get reacquainted with my old friend(s) again. Oh… how I love the Institute, Tessa’s quest to find herself, Wills sarcasm, Jem’s gentleness, Henry’s absentmindedness, Charlottes stubborn care, even Jessie’s shallowness. There were a couple of times I had forgotten what happened to whom and why in the previous book, but those questions were answered quickly and it was like I never left.
My only small point of critique, or rather a fact I noticed (maybe because it’s been pointed out in several other reviews already) is the abundance of book referrals. Yes, Tessa loves to read. Yes, Cassandra Clare knows her classics. Big deal. Perhaps it’s plastered on a little too thickly. Yes, I recognize some of these books/passages, but not all. Mind you, I’m not English. I’m Dutch. Still there are times I wonder whether I should be ashamed for not knowing these books, not having reads the classics, not comprehending the referrals. Should I?
Like these well-placed literary interludes, every single word in this book is in the right place. Everything happens for a reason, is part of the grand scheme which unfolds while eagerly turning page after page. Wheels are clicking into place, sometimes unravelling surprising information, making room for heart breaking scenes at other times. Every detail about the Victorian Steampunk-pimped era adds to the feel and atmosphere of the book, whereas every detail of the world of Shadowhunters seems to be based on real facts and truly existing ‘cultures’, not a poorly thought-through imaginative world.
Though Tessa’s quest for finding out who or what she is, is sort of the central theme of the book, the reader gets more: a grand tour of the world of Shadowhunters, and all its participants. The switching narratives give the reader a great insight in all characters, remaining true to each and everyone’s voice the entire time. Finally we learn WHY Will treats Tessa (and the rest of the world) the way he does… Oh my… Poor Will… Which, in turn, makes the natural way the friendship between Tessa and Jem develops into something more meaningful -no matter how sweet, realistic and understandable- even more bitter.
Even more so than the previous book, this book contains the perfect mix of action, character depth and surprising character growth/ change, unexpected plot twists, mysterious developments, very sensual and subtle romance, a gorgeous and realistic setting, laughter and tears. CC’s writing style never seizes to amaze or bore me, it’s all done extremely well, elaborate and in a style suiting the setting. Even the dialogues are written accordingly to the era. The awkwardness of discussing matters of one’s own heart are handled correctly, distant and in an appropriate manner. A bit like the politics of nowadays, where big sentences tell an enormous story, hardly expressing an opinion or stealthily avoiding the subject at hand.
The eye-candy that is the gorgeous cover of this book, continues on the inside as well. There’s no judging this book wrongly due to its cover. No shallow inside. For example, many beautiful poetic prose lines keep grabbing the reader’s attention, such as:
‘“No,” Tessa said. “I haven’t broken his heart at all.” Just torn my own in two.’
‘Pulling away from her had been like pulling his own skin off.’
It is very hard for me to express the ‘why’ of the deep love I harbour for ‘The Infernal Devices’ world and its characters. It’s just there. Most characters have earned a place in my heart, thanks to all the little details about them that bring them to life, as well as their big issues. Though I understand that certain choices had to be made the way they were made, I am curious how CC is gonna mend my shredded heart in ‘Clockwork Princess’. Let alone Tessa's torn heart... A huge sacrifice has to be made either way... I cannot believe I’ll have to wait an entire year before finding out what will happen to these characters I have come to love so dearly. I do not wish to leave my friends behind, yet. I am not ready for such a long goodbye.
This series has swiftly become one of my favourite series ever. If you haven’t read any of these books yet, I’ll forgive you for not knowing, but strongly suggest you pick it up as soon as possible. You have no reason to postpone this any longer. Do yourself that favour…
Parting is such sweet sorrow…
P.S. I apologize sincerely that various efforts on my behalf to keep the repulsive, obsessive fan-girl inside me caged and silent did not pay off entirely. Ever since the Masked Ball scene she has been going at it without any sort of dignity. I can hear her screams bouncing off the walls of my head, pulsating in my brain… Her fists pounding at my insides, her hands grabbing hold of my intestines, rattling my entire being, begging to be set free… I fear for my sanity if I do not admit her to speak freely, even if only for one time... After which we shall forget all about this outburst and I shall gladly stow her away into eternal oblivion once more, where a proper lady is supposed to reside... Let’s have it out then, shall we, fangirl?
Kady Cross herself meant her book as a cross-over between ‘X-men Teens’ and ‘Th...moreThe Girl In The Steel Corset 4,5 stars
What a page-turner!
Kady Cross herself meant her book as a cross-over between ‘X-men Teens’ and ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’. She’s right; it’s a book set in that wonderful, ‘steampunkian’, Victorian era, telling about young adults with special powers. Though I haven’t actually read any of the gothic classics, this book seems like sort of an ode to them as well. We all know the movies about Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, etc. Those themes are explored further here, used as an inspiration. Even the descriptive, elaborate writing style adds to the feel of the book.
As opposed to the prequel ‘The Strange Case of Finley Jayne’, this book develops at a slower pace. Although that may be not the right terminology to use here, because the book almost immediately starts in the middle of a violent scene. Whereas ‘prequel-Finley’ seemed to be mostly good with a righteous heart, only partly taken over by her ‘Dark Side’ or ‘Other Self’, *this* Finley seems eager for blood. Admittedly, when faced with the situation she finds herself faced with, it’s understandable she wants to defend herself, or even hurt her opponent.
When Finley literally runs into Griffins velocycle -a sort of motor-bicycle powered by a special kind of energy (‘Ore’: something Griffs parents found while taking their journey to the centre of the earth. This energy powers almost entire London and is in the hands of Griffin), she finds herself awakening at Griff’s mansion. Griffin turns out to be the Duke of Greythorne. Because she feels imprisoned, ‘Dark’ Finley attacks anyone in her proximity. (Already, it gets kinda old...) Luckily Griff and his friends, Sam and Emily, aren’t normal either. Griff, for example, has a special connection to the Aether and recognizes Finley’s ‘abnormality’ instantly, without judging. He manages to settle her down with his power.
Details about the characters and environment create the right atmosphere. Griff has a nifty velocycle, retro-futuristic cell phones also exist, in the form of personal telegraph machines. Griffs ‘Aether’ machine could be compared to the internet, only broader. It allows him to make contact with those who have passed away, as well as find any information about people/things that is ‘out there’. Of course it doesn’t look anything like our computers, everything is made of metal, brass, wood etc. So-called ‘Automatons’ have taken over many jobs, though lately several of them have gone against their programs, attacking people, amongst them Sam.
Slowly the story evolves, but not so slow you’re losing interest. It’s nice for a change to read a story that goes a little deeper, tackles issues and mysteries before it gets snowed under by heaps of action. Kady Cross takes her time to give the reader more background info on the characters. She does this also by changing the points of view from which the story is told. We see things from not only Finleys view, but also Griff, Sam and Emily.
We learn where Griff got his wealth (actually, his parents did, and since they died in an accident a few years back, that makes him the duke and heir to the estate)and get to know Emily’s brilliance when it comes to fixing both people (sometimes with the help of ‘Organites’) and machines. Sam has been so brutally attacked by an automaton gone wild, he couldn’t have survived without the metal alterations Emily made to his body. He’s struggling to find a way to get over his fear for automatons and accept his new self. He’s coping even more with his feelings for both Emily and Griff, he knows they acted out of love yet at the same time he hates them for practically turning him into the same thing that almost caused him to die in the first place.
Emily’s research on the same automaton that attacked Sam showed nothing out of the ordinary. Its power source is still the same: ‘Ore’. Gradually this strange group of youngsters learn more about the way ‘Organites’ work. They enhance the powers they already possess, which is why Finley can’t control her dark side ever since she’s been treated with the ‘Organites’. Thankfully Griff gradually helps Finley merge her ‘two broken halves’ into one whole.
When Griffs Aunt Cordelia returns home (wearing a nose piercing and ear piercing which are connected by 6 iron chains, 1 for each year her husband has gone missing) we learn that Griffs and Finleys existences are coincidentally connected, their parents journeyed to the centre of the earth together in a group. After a talk with Finleys mom, Finley finally finds out why she is who/what she is. (view spoiler)[Her father was a brilliant scientist who used himself as a test subject often. With the help of Griffs father, he barely manages to return to his usual self after a sort of Jekyll and Hyde experiment gone wrong. For both men the test results were a cause for celebration; for Finley who was conceived after these experiments, they meant something similar happens inside of her. (hide spoiler)]
At night this ‘bad side’ of Finley mostly comes to live. It’s then she seeks out Jack Dandy, presuming her former employer (the one who came on to her but she fought off) is one of his followers. She feels Jack Dandy to be an equal to her ‘dark’ self, immediately drawn to his physique and dangerous vibe. Still, she can’t help compare him to Griff who’s been kind enough to provide her with shelter and new clothing, and wants nothing but her trust in return. At first. Also, he asked her to fight along their sides against the evil that makes London an unsafe place.
I loved the reversed roles in the scene where Griffs aunt Cordelia tries to enter Finleys mind to find out whether or not she is guilty of something. (Because whenever Finleys dark side takes over lately, she can’t seem to remember anything she did.) (view spoiler)[Finleys dark side fights Cordelia off, Cordelia’s nose starts bleeding from the strain, while Griff tries to disconnect their minds through the Aether. He succeeds but has to let his guard down, all ghosts lingering in the Aether overtaking him, almost causing his brain to explode because of the overwhelming pressure. To find refuge he manages to throw himself into the pool, the pressure escaping him in the form of steam. Finley comes to his rescue, disregarding her pounding headache, the burns the steam cause and scoops Griff up into her arms, carrying him back into the house. For a few steps that is, until Griffins male pride takes over and gently asks her to put him down. When Aunt Cordelia learns Finley is innocent and sees the way she cares for Griff, she is finally able to trust her. (hide spoiler)]
The scene in which Finley receives an exotic gift from an admirer, along with an invitation to a masked ball in Piccadilly Circus, is one of my favourites. I love the way Jack woos Finley.
Another lovely scene is the one where Griff comes to get Finley back, after she’s fled the mansion to stay at Jack’s. (view spoiler)[Sam challenges Finley to a fight, hoping to provoke her evil side to make his friends see she’s dangerous after all. When Sam nearly kills her, Finley almost kills him by molesting his artificial heart. Emily, Finley and Griff manage to rescue him but Finley decides to run. As soon as Griff finds out Finley is missing he reckons she must be at Jack Dandy’s and goes over there. He threatens to throw her over his shoulder if he must. Jack retorts in his charming cockney accent ‘that even he ‘as goose bumps.’ Griff *does* walk out of there with Finley over his shoulder. (hide spoiler)]
I liked every character, though it took me a while to like Sam. I got his hatred, but still didn’t take a liking to him. I found Finleys two sides fascinating, even more so once they were ‘fighting’ for their place at the same time. Her shyness opposed to her boldness, her fear opposed to her anger, etc. Griffin was likeable and cool in a careless way, but a bit distant. Still witty in his own way. Jack Dandy was great, claiming to be a bad guy when it was clear his heart was in the right place, especially when it came to Finley. Emily’s obvious heritage in the form of her accent, red hair and freckles softened her brilliance which was intimidatingly so. Her power to ‘speak’ to machines was one really tailormade. Renn was likeable too, the only thing that left me in the dark is the way he disappeared from the book...
The plot wasn’t huge or epic, but the story had enough action the entire time. Actually the plot was very meager, compared to the length of the story. I expected something bigger. However, I was curious to find out what ‘The Machinist’ was planning and why he needed a tunnel that ended right in one of Queen Victoria’s rooms. (view spoiler)[’Twas a very humorous moment in the book, when the team appeared through a hole in the floor of Queen Victoria’s room (after a claustrophobic tunnel trip in the place where Sam got attacked by the automaton), her majesty staring right at them. Just as it was funny Queen Victoria’s wax statue was stolen from Madame Tussaud’s and delivered at Jack Dandy’s doorstep, dressed in nothing but her undergarments! (hide spoiler)]
I can’t say I disliked ANYTHING in the book. Not a single chapter, paragraph or word even. I kept turning pages, wanting to know. I felt giddy and at awe the whole time, this is my new favorite book and author. Maybe for the sequel she could do with a better, more epic plot. Because of that and the fact that the story was maybe a little too elaborate compared to it, I give it 4,5 stars instead of 5.
My last point of critique is the absence of that one kiss I know all readers must have been waiting for. There was plenty of romance in the book, moments I wished I could experience myself, but I missed that kiss. Desperately. Because sense, sensibility and social classes can’t and mustn’t rule over true love. Right? ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Wow... Cassandra Clare is an excellent writer who takes her readers seriously, for a change. Despite the more challenging use of words, the book is st...moreWow... Cassandra Clare is an excellent writer who takes her readers seriously, for a change. Despite the more challenging use of words, the book is still an 'easy' read. Meaning: it captures you. It captures you inside a beautifully created world, a very thought-through fantasy-world. A world I would love to love in. (Victorian England) It's obvious she's done her research, getting many details right. Details that make the story more realistic and alive. About the way people from different classes (not) were supposed to 'socialize', for example. The characters are great, I like the way you get more information about them while you're reading. I like the mysterie that surrounds some characters, still. I like it in a painful way even, now I'm left to hang here waiting for the sequel 'Clockwork Prince', extremely curious about someone's intentions at the end of the book. I am DYING to know what's gonna happen next. I love most of the characters, I've begun to know them like friends and I wanna stay in their world. I'm desperate to find out the real deal about Tessa.I really lived inside Tessa's world, seeing what she saw, feeling what she felt. I regret leaving now. I really do.
The book was action-packed, everything described very well so you felt like you were participating in the action. (I for one would love to see this translated to the big screen, it truely deserves a movie!) The story was well-written and well told, the plot had some nice twists, the characters developed throughout the story and were easy to sympathize with. I loved the variations in supernatural beings residing in Tessa's world and the original ideas regarding some of those upernatural 'things'. (Unlike some authors who stray from the 'original' fantasy in a ridiculous, unbelievable manner...) Don't read this if you don't want to be left behind yearning to find out the truth, the lies, the past and the future. Just don't.(less)