“You are a Shadowhunter. You serve a greater cause. Your life is not yours to throw away.”
Friends, this is the highest four star rating. Like, I almost want to give this book five stars because I enjoyed the last 25% so damn much. This is easily my favorite Cassie Clare book yet, and I truly had such a wonderful time reading.
This is the second installment in this history prequel series that stars a young girl named Tessa, who has traveled to London from America, who was trying to find her brother in Clockwork Angel! Well, she found him, and this book is dealing with the ramifications of what she found out. Yet, this book is also about Tessa trying to carve out a place for herself in a world that is unfamiliar to her in so many ways, while also trying to learn about her true past and who she wants to be in the future.
Okay, my review is going to touch on a couple key things that happened in this book and things that have happened in previous books, so please use caution reading the rest of this review if you have not read this book and its predecessors! And as always, I’m going to do a little mini character breakdown on my thoughts and feelings on all the main characters in this book.
➽ Tessa Gray – Poor Tessa got so many big puzzle pieces about her life handed to her in this book. And she is truly believing that her father was a demon, which could completely be true and really intrigues me. I mean, I would personally be upset that he wasn’t from fae lineage, but what can you do?
“I was born into this world to love you, and I will love you in the next life, and the one after that.”
➽ Jem Carstairs – Jem is my favorite character in this series. He’s biracial, Chinese and British, living with a terminal illness, and just the sweetest character in all of literature! And I know without question he would be the one that I pick, even if he’s not the one that I’d pick for Tessa. Also, I’ve dated enough rude and brooding boys to last me (and Tessa) a lifetime.
“I have wanted to do this,” he said, “every moment of every hour of every day that I have been with you since the day I met you. But you know that. You must know. Don’t you?”
➽ Will Herondale – Even though Jem is on the cover of this book, I feel like this was Will’s book. We learned so much about him and we finally get to see what happened to him five years ago. Honestly, I love Will, and even though I won’t completely excuse the gross things he said at the end of Clockwork Angel, I understand him and appreciate him. (If only I could feel the same about Jace! Lord, help me!)
➽ Charlotte Branwell – So happy for her! I honestly love how determined she is for herself, but also how proud and supportive she is of her found family. I love this house mom, forever.
➽ Henry Branwell – So happy for him! He’s alright, but I like him because Charlotte loves him!
➽ Sophie Collins – Again, Sophie is an MVP for me in this book too. I really loved her in Clockwork Angel, and that love only grew in this one. I really hope she keeps remembering her worth, regardless of what happens with boys in higher stations. And I really hope she gets to become a Shadowhunter or something, because she’s just lovely, and brave, and I feel so much joy every time I read a scene with her!
➽ Benedict Lightwood – Please don’t be a dick, don’t be a dick, don’t be a dick.
➽ Magnus Bane – Magnus, my Asian and bi baby, legit had me rereading paragraphs from laughing in this book. Seriously, such a fantastic character. And such a caring character, who just makes this world so much brighter. I’m looking so very forward to his novellas.
➽ Camille Belcourt – So thankful that I read City of Fallen Angels, only because it made me appreciate everything that happened between Magnus and Will that made Camille tell Alec the things she believes. Like, friends, I was laughing out loud.
➽ Jessamine Lovelace – This bitch. You all, I knew she was trouble, I just didn’t know how much. But I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if she gets a redemption arc.
➽ Nate Gray – Like, what a lame and pointless character. Seriously. But like, now I want to know everything about Tessa’s necklace.
➽ Axel Mortmain – Where the fuck is this man? For real?
Like I said above, this is my favorite Cassie Clare to date! I just feel like this book took on a much darker and more mature theme, while also blending in some amazing adventure and all that good angst! I truly feel like the romance in this is one of my all-time favorites, and that’s really saying something. I just never wanted to put this book down, and I was always smiling (or crying) while reading it. This was nothing short of a treat to read.
The romance in this book was actually incredible. I kept complaining on bookstagram at 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, that this isn’t a love triangle and that its so obvious that Tessa only feels platonically for Jem. Then after that 40% mark, my world completely shifted. Friends, this is one of my favorite love triangles of all time.
I will say that I can completely understand how people can see issue with Tessa maybe feeling obligated to start something with Jem because he is dying. And obviously that’s a really terrible position to be in and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but I truly believed by the end of this book that Tessa does have genuine feelings for Jem. Even if I also believe with my entire heart that those feelings are stronger for Will.
“When she closed her eyes, she saw Jem’s face, and then Will’s, his hand to his bloody mouth. Thoughts of the two of them swirled together in her head until she fell asleep finally, not sure if she was dreaming of kissing one of them, or the other.”
You all are going to read this paragraph and you’re all going to be like “it’s not that deep, Melanie!” But I really do think that Clockwork Prince is a love letter to all the different types of love that we will have in our lives. From just friendships and wanting to support and love them unconditionally, and how magical it is when we find our own found family. To romantic love, which is that gut wrenching, pure bliss, that we don’t even have words to express, but how we don’t feel truly whole without those people/that person. And to all that messy love in-between. Even though I don’t feel the romantic love between Tess and Jem as much as I do between Tessa and Will, that doesn’t make the love lesser and it definitely doesn’t make it any less real.
“Could you really love two different people at once? Could you split your heart in half?”
And I believe with my whole heart that these three main characters should start a polyamorous relationship. These three individuals love each other so much that it just feels right, maybe even obvious, that they should be a triad or a vee. Because being in a polyamorous relationship doesn’t mean it has to be about sex. I mean, it could be, but it also means being there emotionally for your two partners, too. And even though I do believe that they should all be in a relationship with each other, they could also just both be in a relationship with Tessa and it would still be valid and pure and everything I’ve ever wanted. Cassie Clare, hear my prayers.
“I cannot explain love,” he said. “I could not tell you if I loved you the first moment I saw you, or if it was the second or third or fourth. But I remember the first moment I looked at you walking toward me and realized that somehow the rest of the world seemed to vanish when I was with you. That you were the center of everything I did and felt and thought.”
Okay, so something else I want to talk about is Tessa being a warlock! Like, Magnus is immortal, and we are seeing him constantly throughout The Mortal Instruments, but I’d just like to point out that I haven’t seen Tessa. So, friends, I’m scared. I’m real scared. I also know everyone talks about how heartbreaking the final book is, but I think it’s going to be even more heartbreaking than I’m anticipating.
Overall, I loved this book. Easily my favorite Cassie Clare book, yet! Again, I just want to say a big thank you to all for motivating me to pick this up, and for not spoiling me for anything. I can’t believe I’ve made it this long without being spoiled to anything, but it’s truly making my reading experience so much greater! And I can’t wait until I finally uncover every secret and can gush with you all forever over this world! I can’t wait to read Clockwork Princess, I just wish I didn’t have to read City of Lost Souls first!
Content and trigger warnings for death, murder, loss of a loved one, talk of past torture, abandonment, talk of chronic illness, grey area consent of a kiss, grey area cheating, drug use, talk of suicide, and self-harm.