It’s unsurprising that Cassandra Clare’s name has become synonymous with the YA fantasy genre. Her first series, The Mortal Instruments, is wildly popular, and a movie based on its first book, City of Bones, hits theaters this August. The Infernal Devices, a prequel series, hasn’t had the same buzz, but it’s as addictive as — and dare we say better than? — Clare’s original franchise. Set in Victorian England, Devices centers on Tessa Gray, a teenager who gets sucked into the world of Shadowhunters, a secret society of demon chasers, at their safe house, the London Institute.
In Clockwork Princess, the third and final installment, Tessa leads the fight against Mortmain (a.k.a. the Magister) and his army of clockwork automatons that threaten to wipe out the Shadowhunter race. Oh, and the automatons are fully functional because they’ve been reanimated with demon souls. We’ll pause so you can roll your eyes at the admittedly far-fetched premise. But if you’re willing to suspend disbelief, you can focus on the real heart of the story: Tessa’s tangled relationships with her fiancé, Jem Carstairs, who has a terminal demon-related illness, and Jem’s blood brother, Will Herondale, who’s also in love with her. No part of their triangle can be split without heartbreak.
Princess is laced with nods to The Mortal Instruments, providing answers to questions you didn’t even know you had (as well as fodder for endless message-board arguments). Fans will appreciate Clare’s attention to detail, for it’s the details that make Princess so compelling and believable, clockwork automatons and all. And it won’t matter whether you’re Team Will or Team Jem. Princess offers a payoff so satisfying that, by the Angel, it may be Clare’s best undertaking to date. A-
”The Infernal Devices are without pity. The Infernal Devices are without regret. The Infernal Devices are without number. The Infernal Devices will never stop coming.”