Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Review #14: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (Book Two of The Infernal Devices)

“I promise to charm the dickens out of him,' said Will, sitting up and readjusting his crushed hat. "I shall charm him with such force that when I am done, he will be left lying limply on the ground, trying to remember his own name." 
"The man's eighty-nine", muttered Jem. "He may well have the problem anyway.”

It is because I'm so typative when it comes to my reviews, I have to keep the first book separate from this one.

I cannot tell you much about the second book, for I may risk spoiling the plot for you. However, what I can say is that after the utter disaster towards the end of the first book, the characters are left to clean up after the storm; only to be hit with another one.

I think Clare fell into the trap of making the second book like your stereotypical slow-moving second book in any series. If you think about it, particularly in trilogies, the second one is almost always the stepping stone for the third installment. I have the feeling that Clare is saving the best of the action sequences for the next book. Don't get me wrong, there were suspense and action, but... it's like you're hoping for a bucket of popcorn, only to realise that there's no caramel in it. You still like the popcorn, but not as much.

Lack of gripping scenes aside, Clare made up for it with a copious amount of character development. Previously, I didn't feel any of the tension a love triangle would have. Granted, tension is the wrong word, because Will and Jem are parabatai (sworn Shadowhunter brothers) and they can never hate each other.

Tessa's relationship with Will was the stronger one in the first book. I was like: oh man, this is too obvious, she's going to end up with Will! But this installment pummeled that assumption, we see a lot of growth between Tessa and Jem. We also get to see that Jem isn't always that "nice" boy-next-door (he can be unrealistically sweet, though).

I think it's a good twist towards the end; the fact that Clare gives us a nice exposé on Will's character, his "curse" -- why he is as morally questionable as he is. I know that Will is talkative enough but Will, please speak more! He is like a snowball of wittiness and non-irritating hilarious sarcasm.

I think the author caught the news on the grapevine about how tiresome love triangles are so she was determined to challenge our assumptions because the development towards the end was... frighteningly unexpected. Very well done in that department.

One thing: I think that heroines caught in love triangles are always, for lack of a better word, stupid. You cannot go around flinging yourself between two guys and taking them for granted, not knowing exactly what and why you're doing it. If I had a bird's pea brain, I would've still known.

It's not that it wasn't good, it was but it wasn't great. It lacked so much of the excitement and engagement that you'd find in the first one. All in all, this slightly lacklustre second installment serves to propel me to anticipate the third one even more. I'd still recommend the TID series to first timers! (496 pages) 

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