Lmao, this book though. I should point out that I only read this book because SOMEONE harassed me into it. Not mentioning any names BUT THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE *stares accusingly*
Clockwork Princess begins with Jem and Tessa engaged and ready to be married, Will being very sad about it and that Mortmain guy still hovering around in the background as the ~obligatory antagonist~. Cecily, Will’s sister, is now one of the main characters (and incidentally one of the few I liked) and the mystery of who or what Tessa is is solved. At least I think it is. Still not sure I understood it tbh, not that I tried very hard. Obviously the love triangle is resolved, in an ~entirely unique~ way.
So the Mortmain aspect of the plot, with the actual ‘Infernal Devices (spoiler alert: they’re his robots. WHAT A REVELATION.)’ isn’t even really a thing until the last couple of chapters, and then is solved during a scene that reads like a rewrite of The Battle of Hogwarts Chapter in Deathly Hallows. I know I sound harsh but honestly the ‘meat’ of this book is barely there – the plot is a decoration because what we’re really concerned with is the love triangle. Oh, the joy. Jem and Tessa’s engagement, which all along was a clear obstacle to Will/Tessa, doesn’t last very long because Jem is physically removed from the triangle. I’m not actually opposed to this particular twist, mostly because it led to me reading the book in a totally different and entirely hilarious way, but I do think it was a very lazy way to replace one relationship with another.
Jem’s absence gives reason for the novel to delve into Will’s mind and the codependency present in his relationship with his parabatai – Will is almost crippled by the absence; these were the only passages in the novel that made me feel anything for the characters. Will and Jem actually come across as sub-textually homoerotic most of the time:
…but he would always side with Will. Kindly, but firmly, he put Will above everything else in the world.
“Magnus took a deep breath and spoke gently. “Will. You asked me for my wisdom, as someone who has lived many lifetimes and buried many loves. I can tell you that the end of a life is the sum of the love that was lived in it, that whatever you think you have sworn, being here at the end of Jem’s life is not what is important. It was being here for every other moment. Since you met him, you have never left him and never not loved him. That is what matters.”
“Will,” Jem said. “For all these years I have tried to give you what you could not give yourself.”
Will’s hands tightened on Jem’s, which were as thin as a bundle of twigs. “And what is that?”
“Faith,” said Jem. “That you were better than you thought you were. Forgiveness, that you need not always punish yourself. I always loved you, Will, whatever you did. And now I need you to do for me what I cannot do for myself. For you to be my eyes when I do not have them. For you to be my hands when I cannot use my own. For you to be my heart when mine is done with beating.”
Goodbye friends I am gone.
By contrast, Tessa’s relationships with both boys seem superficial and so generic. Tessa was never exactly a fully-fleshed out character but in this novel she’s basically the designated ‘damsel in distress’ – seriously, she spends a good part of the book locked up >.> And this is unacceptable for a main character, especially since she is the protagonist we spend most of our time with. It’s so lazy and if I hadn’t already had rock-bottom expectations I think my eyes would have rolled right out of my head.
Other things that really annoyed me:
– the bloody literary references that take up huge passages of the dialogue were not necessary, were awkward to read, and the ENDLESS COMPARISONS between Tessa/Will and the great couples of literature were the worst, the actual worst.
– the ‘wikipedia research’ rife in this book. Yes, your novel is set in Victorian London and yes, I appreciate that you took the time to actually try and include aspects of that but lawd, the inserts and references littered through the text were terrible – for example, there is a line in which Will mentions ‘Bedlam’ but without outside knowledge the reader would never know that Bedlam was a famous mental institution at the time, which then renders the line unnecessary and pointless.
Clockwork Princess wasn’t all bad, however. I enjoyed the developing relationships between Cecily/Gabriel and Gideon/Sophia, just because they felt so much more natural. Tessa’s necklace and what I am going to call her Final Evolution (because Pokemon) was actually pretty great. And dude, I did not see the twist with Jem coming AT ALL (Amber disagrees and says the twist was predicted by fans a long time ago but what does she know, amirite?). Also, the completely ridiculous epilogue had me howling with laughter, so.
I think this book, even for fans, is a mediocre addition to a trilogy that wasn’t all that great in the first place. I just…don’t read it, guys. Spend that money on books that are better written and far, far more enjoyable.