THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
- Imprint: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Date Published: March 19th 2013
Format: Hard Cover (Collector’s First Edition)
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy
Tessa Gray should be happy – aren’t all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her.
Number of Days It Took to Read: 1 and 1/2
Such a stunning cover. It quite literally shines on the shelf amongst the other books. 🙂
The Writing Score: 3 out of 5
Recommendation: Casual Perusal
Memorable or Forgettable: Forgettable
Rating: 2 out of 5
This is the last book in The Infernal Devices series which is a spin-off/prequel to The Mortal Instruments. I started reading City of Bones in Grade 10 (6 years I’ve been with this world) and the conclusion of TID only reminded me that the end of TMI is afoot which stirred up all kinds of emotions (despite the fact that I still believe books 4-6 of TMI shouldn’t have existed in the first place). It’s hard to see a series you’ve grown up with go but that’s life, right? Things end and other (COMPLETELY NEW) things (should) begin.
I bring up beginnings and endings because they play a role in reviews. How much does being sentimental play into reviews of a series coming to an end? At first, I gave this book 4 stars. Mostly because it was right after I had finished it and all of the pent up emotions I carried throughout the first two books came pouring out. The ending felt clean and everything that I wanted happened (not really but kind of). I should be happy with that, right? Yet something nagged at me and the more I thought about the more I realized how unsatisfied I was with this book.
First off, the book is 568 pages long. After page 300 0r so, I really felt the length of the book and had to put it down a couple of times throughout the day. What kept me going was the intense need to find out how it all ended which left the journey of it on the back burner (and Henry’s humor. And being able to read the family tree on the back of the cover). This could have easily been 300 pages long since I felt that majority of the character development already happened in the first two books which should lead more time for plot related emphasis.
The writing wasn’t fresh or new and there has been a few times when the description of a character’s eyes or hair color is repeated again and again despite having been already described. After building up the threat of Mortmain for two books and making him out to be the biggest threat to Shadowhunters, he was pretty easy to off and no real battle ensued where sacrifices or even people I liked died. I’m not a sadist (at least I hope I’m not) but in a battle this big and a villain this nefarious, you’d think someone would die but the only people who died were the ones I didn’t give a crap about (I’m looking at you, Jessamine) because the reality of it is that people will die including those you care about in a story like this. Henry did get paralyzed from the waist down but given that he didn’t care about Shadowhunting anyways, I doubt that was a great hinderance (he gets to design a wheelchair).
Nothing was surprising in this book. Jem becomes a Silent Brother (saw that a mile away), Gideon got with Sophie (their story was probably one of the more intriguing aspects of the story) and I’m sure there’s more but the fact that I can’t remember what was predictable re-enforces that it was predictable (that how it works, right?). I really hated the Cecily and Gabriel match up because it was obvious and easy. It appears the plan was to matched up everyone in the book who was matchable and if they couldn’t be matched up they died or became a Silent Brother.
Now my biggest pet peeve: the outcome of the love triangle. I loved the approach that Cassandra Clare took to this love triangle in the first book because it wasn’t your typical love triangle. From her writing in the last two books, Tessa loved Will and he was the endgame but many factors prevented it from happening like the fact that he was an asshole and that she already said yes to the proposal of a dying but sweet Jem. Tessa got with Will. Yay. Yet, I was pissed when the epilogue happened decades later after a long dead Will and, apparently after the events of the City of Heavenly Fire, where Jem is now back to being himself (thanks to Tessa’s yearly visits that kept him human enough for whatever to happen in CoHF). What happens? Obviously, Tessa and Jem get together because he’s alive (thank you to the longevity of the Silent Brothers) and Tessa is still alive which means she gets to be with both of them in the end.
Well that was clean and convenient. I was annoyed. Tessa did not love these two boys equally. She didn’t. She loved Will so much more and that’s the narrative of the first two books. It doesn’t count if YOU want to be with Jem. YOU wanting to be with Jem is fine but, in the story itself, Tessa loves Will so dearly and intensely and Jem was just a really shitty turn of events (He’s not shitty but shitty in the sense that he’s getting in the way of Will). Did she and Jem have a physical attraction to each other? Duh but that doesn’t mean you love someone because of that (I think Hugh Dancy is a fox but I’m not in love with him). I felt like the epilogue cheapened the story and that the Tessa/Jem match up became a match of convenience (for each other as well as the story’s plot) and not love. You can argue that she loved the boys in different ways but you can say the same for a girl regarding her boyfriend and her brother. People can love other people in various of ways and Tessa loved Will in a “I want to make small humans with you” way whereas Jem was more in a “you’re super sweet so let’s go for a stroll and talk about our feelings” way. Will was still the dude she loved MORE.
Overall, this was a book handed to fans on a silver platter. It gave them everything they wanted which was the problem. It tied up everything in a happily every after bow when what we wanted was a story that made us think or really changed something profoundly in us (or at the very least surprise us). This final book of the TID series didn’t do any of this.
I still liked Henry though so that was a plus.
A. A. Omer
The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.