Hi everyone! This review is spoiler free…
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, in the words of Charles Dickens, in the Victorian Setting of the Infernal Devices. Cassandra Clare writes a world set in London during the 1800’s, centred around her world famous shadowhunters. As a prequel to her popular ‘The Mortal Instruments’ series, it poses a much deeper, darker and tragically beautiful alternative for those looking to fully immerse themselves into a new world.
When Tessa Gray arrives at the docks in Southampton after leaving her life in New York behind, she expects to find her brother Nathaniel. However, she soon discovers he’s been captured by an anonymous villain, and finds herself in untold amounts of danger. When she is rescued by a strange boy named Will Herondale, she is invited into a new realm of magic, madness and adventure. With powers of her own, she joins the half angel- half human shadowhunter warriors in the fight to save her brother’s life
The first thing that drew me in was undoubtedly the name of the first book in the
Infernal Devices trilogy: Clockwork Angel. It perfectly represents the Victorian setting of the novel, and some of the mysteries within it, only to be fully explained at the end of the trilogy. Plus, what’s not to love about Clockwork and angels?
In regards to the setting, it’s a fascinating mix of realistic grittiness of the time, and the magical beauty to the popular era. Clare managed to include the tiniest details about the time, clearly having done her research, which enables the reader to fully immerse themselves in the novel.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this book trilogy contains the most beautiful quotes that I’ve ever read in a fiction book. It wouldn’t surprise me if I found these books in the poetry section of a bookstore, because the raw emotion poured into every word written is both heart wrenching and thought provoking. They are so unique and spectacular that I can still remember half the things that each of the characters said: it’s simply unforgettable.
Of course, there has to be one element that really sets the book miles apart from the rest. For the Infernal Devices, there’s nothing more impressive than the characters. To begin with, Tessa Gray is everything a reader could wish for in a female protagonist: she’s smart; brave; funny; and headstrong. Nowadays, especially in YA books, the female protagonist fits a certain stereotype, and readers end up hearing about the same old box-type characters. It’s certain that this is not a problem here. She’s almost shy in the beginning, and grows more confident over the three books, always passionate about her love of books and unapologetically curious. Another interesting element is that she’s a woman in the Victorian Era, so she knows she must act a certain way to fit into her society; despite the fact that her life quickly becomes anything but typical.
Another main character is the infamous Will Herondale. He’s a shadow hunter who originally sets out on a mission to rescue Tessa, and ends up bringing her back to the Institute, where all the other shadowhunters live. Whilst he’s described as insanely attractive, smart and witty, he’s also rude, malicious and careless. Hated by all at first, over the trilogy the reader gets to follow him along his journey. In the second book in the trilogy, Clockwork Prince, we learn more about his upbringing and the reasons behind his character through Tessa; who bonds with him over their shared love of literature. Undoubtedly, Will Herondale was one of the most complex characters that I’ve read about, and also my very favourite too.
Will’s parabatai, a brother bonded to him by a shadow hunter ritual, is named Jem Carstairs. He’s kind and wise and can play the violin, each of these things making him a desirable companion for anyone who knows him. However, Jem is dying. Throughout the trilogy we learn more about him and his illness, and, most importantly, the wonderful friendship between him and the unlovable Will.
With even more complex and intriguing characters, the book is already set up for it’s exciting plot line. And, let me tell you, the plot doesn’t disappoint. Without spoiling too much, they must team up to embark on a dangerous mission against an enemy they know nothing about (what could go wrong?).
All in all, I adored this trilogy. From Cassandra Clare’s writing to the plot to the characters, it was all amazing. I’d rate all three books 5/5 stars each. Words can’t even explain my love for them. (Two of my book boyfriends are from this book). Let me know if you’ve read these books, and what you thought.