The Infernal Devices

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I first discovered Cassandra Clare when a friend of mine gave me one of the books in The Mortal Instruments series. I devoured this (at the time) trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed the world that Clare had created. It is a world that exists within our own, but demons and supernatural creatures, such as faeries, also exist in the shadows outside the knowledge of mundanes (normal humans). In this world there is a race of people called Shadowhunters who have been tasked with sending the demons back to hell.

Clare was able to give a fresh twist on the supernatural genre that has oversaturated the market recently, especially within the Young Adult (YA) genre. So when I happened upon a new series she has written, set in the same world, but back in the 1800’s, I was thrilled. So far there have been two books in The Infernal Devices series: Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince.

Tessa Gray leaves America to join her brother in England. When she arrives in England she is held captive by two women she knows as the Dark Sisters and she discovers that she has the ability to shapeshift into other people. Once Tessa seems to have mastered her new ability, the Dark Sisters tell Tessa that she is to marry a man known only as the Magister. Tessa attempts to escape and, with the aid of two young Shadowhunters, she is able to do so. It does not take long for them to realize that there is much more going on than they are aware of and that the Magister is behind it all.

This new series has a lot of similarities to its predecessor. The female lead finds herself suddenly thrust into the world of Shadowhunters and the supernatural; one of the male leads is a dark, brooding character with a mysterious past and a sarcastic tongue; there is another male character that has a softer personality than the dark one and begins a friendship with the female; a love triangle develops between the three….there are more, but these are the most glaringly obvious. In spite of the similarities, though, there are enough differences in character and plot that my interest was maintained.

One of the really neat things for people who have read Clare’s earlier series is that there are a few familiar faces. Many of the supernatural beings that exist in this world are immortal, so even though a couple hundred years separate the two series these characters are able to exist in both. It is a nice treat, an added bonus, but certainly not necessary to ones understanding, so people who have not read the other series miss out on nothing that is happening.

The Infernal Devices is a really fun, YA series to escape into. It is not overly complicated or literary (in otherwords, it’s an easy read), but sometimes that is exactly what you need. For me, Clockwork Prince was the perfect book to read between books 3 & 4 in George R.R. Martin’s incredibly complex A Song of Ice and Fire series. I really do care about the characters and want to know what is going to happen to them. There is much we have learned by the end of Clockwork Prince, but there is still so much more we do not yet know. I can’t wait to learn the answers to all of my questions. It is with eager anticipation that I await the next and, I believe, final installment.

Have you read either of the books in The Infernal Devices series? What about The Mortal Instruments? What do you like or dislike about them? Let me know in the comments.

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8 responses »

  1. i’ve read the mortal instruments series and really enjoyed them – the 4th book not so much as the first three – why mess with a perfect triology? – and i’m not liking where the 4th is taking things, but that may be because i think the characters have suffered enough i just see more heartache down the road. i haven’t read the infernal devices series yet because i’m a little leary of prequels. they never seem to turn out as well as i hope, although i may be tempted after your description.

    • Your statements on The Mortal Instruments echo mine exactly! It’s like you went in my head. I was so surprised when I heard there would be another book. Anyway, you should give The Infernal Devices a shot. They aren’t your typical prequel books. Because they take place so long before the other books there is no correlation between the stories other than they take place within the same universe. Even with the immortal characters, like Magnus, it doesn’t feel like a prequel (or it didn’t until I read Book 4 of Mortal Instruments and Camille mentioned Will to Magnus). They have all the same components that made the other series fun while still being their own story. Let me know if you try it out.

    • Yeah, I could see a comparison to Buffy. They are definitely fun escape books. There is a fair bit of teenage angst, but there is enough humor, action, and mystery to balance it that it doesn’t become overwhelming.

  2. I agree with Valerie on the Mortal Instruments books. But somehow I have a feeling I’ll end up reading the new one, even though I think she should have stopped with City of Glass. I tried the Infernal Devices and I really wanted to like them, but I couldn’t make it through the first book. I didn’t care one bit what happened to the characters and I felt like I was reading the same characters as the Mortal Instruments, just set back in time. Which was a bummer.

    • You are certainly right about them being pretty much the same characters. I don’t know, I guess because these books are just like fun, quick reads for me it didn’t bother me too much. But I can totally see how that could turn you off to this series. When I was reading Clockwork Angel I was actually surprised that it didn’t bother me. *shrugs* Thank you for commenting!

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