Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare Actual rating: 4.5 starsA brief public service announcement before I get to the review ... For those of you who have the hardcover version of the book and have not read it yet, DO NOT look at the inside of the dust jacket unless you want to see a MAJOR SPOILER. For some reason, the publisher decided it was a grand idea to print a family tree on the inside of the dust jacket that reveals a major plot point on it. Why they would do that is beyond me.However, if it's too late and you saw the spoiler already (but you haven't finished the book yet), I can assure you that there are things about the ending that will probably still surprise you, even if you know one major thing that happens. Happy reading!On to the review!Oh man, I have been slacking off on reviews so much lately. I think it's been more than a month since I finished reading this. Oops.Well, now I'm on summer vacation which means I'll have nothing to do but read books and write reviews for them. (Is it bad that I tingle with excitement over all the books I can read and review now? Ah haha.) So, I apologize for being lazy lately. … And also that I had so much else to do because it was the end of the year and I had to do final projects and whatnot, so that was taking up colossal chunks of my time. But anyway! Time to review!Hopefully I can remember everything I was going to say about this book, especially after it's been so long since I read it. And on top of that, it was a lot to absorb.So, this was the final installment in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy––the prequel to the Mortal Instruments series. But don't despair … apparently Cassandra Clare has officially announced that she is going to do three more Shadowhunters series. … Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I do like Mortal Instruments (well, at least the first three books) and the Infernal Devices, and the Dark Artifices sounds like it will be a pretty cool series too. But still, it's excessive. The Shadowhunter world is really interesting of course, but I mean … there's only so much Clare can do with the idea before it starts to run dry. So, I'm getting a bit nervous and I kind of just wish she would try something new. But, oh well. Guess I'll just read Shadowhunter books until I'm 30 or whatever.As for Clockwork Princess itself, I really enjoyed it. Like all of Clare's other books, I thought it was exciting and had some great world-building. The Victorian setting is well-executed without it beating the reader over the head with information (which is hard to accomplish when writing historical fiction). There are demons galore, and on top of that, a lot of drama.Over all, the plot is intriguing and kept me hooked. There were some slow patches and I think it could have been cut down a bit … it felt a little too long, in my opinion. But for the most part, the story was fast-paced and I found it very difficult to put down.The characters continued to be very likable. I liked the addition of Cecily; I'm not sure if she was entirely necessary to the plot, but I did really like her as a character … I found it interesting how she came to the Institute to make Will come back home, and then she herself gets so addicted to Shadowhunting––very ironic. I barely remembered Gideon and Gabriel from the previous book, but they became much more interesting characters … I still sometimes had trouble telling them apart (I think just because their names are so similar) but by the end I felt they were distinct from each other. Charlotte and Henry continued to be adorable, and Magnus Bane continued to be a total badass. Tessa … hmm. By the end of the trilogy, I still had fairly mixed feelings about her. She at least became tougher as the story progressed, and it was apparent that she changed as a person. I just never felt much of a strong connection to her. She was cool, just not very unique or memorable.But then we get to my favorites … Jem and Will. AAHHHH. MY BABIES.Jem and Will were definitely my favorite part of the book (and the whole series, really). Honestly, I cared more about their friendship than about the whole love triangle and all that shit. Out of all the Cassandra Clare books I've read, I feel that their relationship is the strongest character relationship she's written, and the one that has evoked the most emotion from me. Throughout this book especially, I could really feel their attachment to each other. It's so heartbreaking to see Will slowly watching Jem die, and knowing that parting with him is inevitable––the person he cares about most in the world. It's just … UGGGHH. When Will thought Jem was dead (and I mean, he was dead … sort of … ish … I know, it's complicated) gahhh that was just so sad. It was like, nothing mattered to him anymore and it was so painful. But I'd say the scene at the end where they said goodbye to each other was even more agonizing. It was almost worse than Jem just dying, I think. It was just tragic for Jem to still be kind of "alive" but not the same person and not really able to communicate with Will much anymore. Aggh.As for the love triangle, it didn't really play out the way I thought it would. But before I get to that … I'll just say, I thought it was one of the most well-executed love triangles I've seen. Typically love triangles just annoy me to no end, and I always find it fairly obvious how they're going to play out. But, this one was interesting. I think what I liked most about it was that Jem and Will care so much about each other, so much even that Tessa is kind of a secondary thing. In most love triangle scenarios, the two guys tend to hate each other or be kind of ambivalent towards each other. In this case, it was intriguing that the two guys were not only best friends, but best friends who were attached to each other on such a deep and powerful level. And this conflict with Tessa wouldn't tear them apart … it was more like, she could only be with one of them and the other would have to be happy for his best friend but also sad so … I just can't even explain it. But I thought it was original and done really well. I feel like it could have become really dumb and clichéd and annoying, but it was handled carefully and didn't become totally stupid like it very well could have. There were a few things about the romance aspect that bothered me (under the spoiler), but over all I liked it.A quick note about the romance in the book in general (not just the main characters') … One little thing that annoyed me was how matchy-matchy everything was. (And I think I complained about this happening in the most recent Mortal Instruments book as well.) It was kind of like, everyone was paired up with someone and it felt a little forced at times. But, oh well.Back to the main love triangle. I just wanted to rant about its conclusion, which I'll put under the following spoiler tag. For those of you who haven't read the book yet … I'll just say that I had kind of mixed feelings about how the love triangle was resolved. I've thought about it for a while, and I guess I ultimately liked it. I don't think it's the best ending there could have been; and I'll share what I thought would have been a better ending in the spoiler. But at least the ending was not what I expected. I mean, I put the book down and I was like:So that's good, I suppose. Anyway, long rant about the ending:As I just said, I had some mixed feelings with this ending. I've seen a lot of people complain about how they felt it was a cheap way for Cassandra Clare to please people on both "teams" and for Tessa to end up with both Will and Jem. At first that's kind of how I felt about it, but after giving it some thought I don't think I really agree with that sentiment. Was it a way to just please the whole fanbase? Maybe, and that does bother me a bit … but I definitely disagree about it being "too happy." I mean, there's the obvious reason why it's not too happy … Will dies. And this might make me sound like a horrible person, but it made me kind of glad that that happened. I've read a bunch of paranormal romance books where there was this whole "Oh no, one of us is immortal and the other person isn't!" problem. And usually, there's some sort of bullshit ending where either the mortal person becomes immortal to be with their significant other, or I guess the immortal person becomes mortal (although I can't think of many examples of that). I don't think I've ever read an ending to a paranormal romance series in which one person remained immortal and the other remained mortal … and that they stayed together even when one of them stayed young while the other had to grow old. I also really appreciated the irony of the ending. One ending I expected might happen was that Tessa would marry Jem, then Jem would die and Tessa would end up with Will. And that would have really pissed me off … but of course, it was made pretty clear throughout this book that Will didn't want to do that because he would feel bad about it.… Although, he did have sex with Tessa after they thought Jem had died. So. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It kind of pissed me off. It was like, "Oh, I wouldn't marry Tessa after Jem dies because that would feel wrong … but I would have sex with her in a cave."Dafuq, you guys?!I guess I understand them having sex because a) they were grieving and confused, and b) they thought they were going to die the next day. But even so, it seemed like kind of bad and insensitive timing, so it made me a little uncomfortable.But back to the irony … I thought it was ironic that the whole "Tessa waits for Jem to die and then ends up with Will" ending was pretty expected, but it actually ended up being "Tessa waits for Will to die and then ends up with Jem." It was like … oh. Okay. Didn't expect that. And in some ways, I was happy about it––not just because it wasn't what I predicted, but because both guys actually got some kind of ending. I've read a lot of series involving love triangles, where the girl ends up with one guy, and the other guy just like totally disappears and mopes off on his own. And the girl's just like, "Where'd that other guy go, lol. Oh well I don't give a fuck." So, it was cool that Tessa actually kept in contact with Jem, and then also ended up with him in the end.But like I said, I don't think it was some kind of cop-out happy ending. I mean, Will had died. Will meant a lot to both of them. And also, Jem and Will were kind of a single being in a way––two halves making up a whole. So it didn't really feel to me like Tessa was just ditching Will for Jem, but that she was searching for Will's other half after she'd lost the first half … if that makes any sense. Maybe I just sound crazy. Oh well. The point is, I didn't think it was a perfect ending, but I much preferred it over a lot of other things that could have happened and it wasn't what I expected, so that was cool.As for the one more preferable ending I can think of (and maybe everyone will want to kill me for this): I kind of hoped that both Jem and Will would die. I know, I know. You're probably all like:But, hear me out. Yes, I love Jem and Will. They're my babies and I adore them. But for the sake of the story, I think it would have been better if they had both died––if Jem had just died from his disease thing, and Will had … died some other way. I just felt like, throughout the story it was obvious that their friendship was more important than the love triangle. And I feel like, if that was really the case, they both should have died and ended up together in some magical Shadowhunter afterlife or whatever. Maybe I'm doing a shitty job at explaining this … but basically, this idea occurred to me about halfway through the book and then I kind of kept hoping it would happen. I just think it would have been a lot more original and meaningful. But, oh well. Feel free to discuss/argue about it with me in the comments. Although obviously, please use spoiler tags.Oh yeah, one more thing about the ending in general (not the romance part):YAY I CAN JUST TRANSFORM INTO AN ANGEL AND MELT PEOPLE WITH MY ANGEL POWERS. Yeah ... that was kind of a huge cop-out and I thought it was pretty dumb. Oh well.But anyway ... in conclusion: I thought this was a good and bittersweet end to the series. I'll miss these books and their characters a lot. *Hugs books tightly*