Young Adult and Trilogies goes together like peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs…the sky and the sta- you get the point. There are way too many trilogies out there to list but that doesn’t matter! Who doesn’t enjoy a … Continue reading
9. “Pointless, needless suffering and pain? I don’t suppose it would help if I told you that was the way life is. The good suffer, the evil flourish, and all that is mortal passes away.”
– Clockwork Princess
8. “She wasn’t very pleasant the last time I saw her. Of course, that could be because I’ve got an eighteen year-old boyfriend with a stamina rune and she doesn’t.”
– City of Lost Souls
7. “Let me say to you what I said once, in an entirely different context to Catherine the Great,” Magnus declared. “My dear lady, you cannot afford me, and also, please leave that horse alone. Good night.”
– The Midnight Heir
6. “Raziel’s sixty feet tall?”
“Actually, he’s only fifty-nine feet tall, but he likes to exaggerate,” said Magnus.
Isabelle clicked her tongue in annoyance. “Valentine raised an angel in his cellar. I don’t see why you need all this space—”
“Because Valentine is just WAY MORE AWESOME than me.”
– City of Lost Souls
5. “Every teenager in the world feels like that, feels broken or out of place, different somehow, royalty mistakenly born into a family of peasants. The difference in your case is that it’s true.”
– City of Bones
4. “Nerd love. It’s a beautiful thing, while also being an object of mockery and hilarity for those of us who are more sophisticated.”
– City of Lost Souls
3. “It is always better to live the truth than to live a lie. And that lie would have kept him alone forever. He may have had nearly nothing for 5 years, but now he can have everything. A boy who looks like that…”
– Clockwork Prince
2. “One can give up many things for love, but one should not give up oneself.”
– Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale
1. “How can you not care?”
“Practice,” Magnus said, looking back to his book and turning the page.
– Rise of the Hotel Dumort
Two weeks ago I managed to finagle a movie date out of a very good friend who I knew had also read Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series and would therefore take watching its film adaptation seriously – seriously in that she, like myself, would be prepared to point out all the unnecessary incongruities within the adaptation. I say this because if I’m being honest it’s generally the small, seemingly pointless changes that are often made in book – to –film adaptations that 1. Drive me insane, and 2. Make me loathe the film version.
That being said I always try to go into any film – regardless of how familiar the story may be – with an open mind.
Simply – I liked the movie. It was entertaining, sleek and dark, the acting was decent and overall it was enjoyable. That being said in my humble opinion the film and the book it’s based on share little similarity apart from utilizing already existing characters and the books exoskeleton. By the end of the movie I almost forgot what it was based on – that’s how different the story becomes.
The set up is the same: After witnessing a murder in a nightclub by a trio of leather clad, tattooed teens she shouldn’t be able to see 15 year old New Yorker Clary Fray learns that she is not quite as “mundane” as she initially thought. In fact Clary is a Shadowhunter – a human/angel hybrid demon hunter whose father just so happens to be the Voldemort of the Shadow world.
There’s a lot happening on the screen, ostensibly all at once – Clary’s mother is missing, she’s coming to terms with the truth of her heritage and is falling in love all while battling evil. I’m over-simplifying here, but I can’t help but feel that’s what the film did to the book. I realize it’s difficult to maintain all the nuance and subtext one finds in a novel, but by the end of City of Bones the movie kind of turns into a Michael Bay film with demons. There’s lot’s of swirling, dementor type demons, fighting and confusion – in fact a lot of confusion, even though I’ve read the book it’s based on (several times in fact) I started to forget the purpose of certain characters.
Speaking of characters I can’t lie – I really didn’t like Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace, and I know you can’t please everyone but ugh. That adequately sums up my feelings about him in this role. It was also incredibly disappointing that Isabelle’s character became a cold, plain warrior – isn’t she meant to be glamorous and beguiling? Why is it the filmmakers felt the need to change those character qualities? And Magnus – don’t even get me started, the actor who portrayed him, Godfrey Gao, is beautiful, which in my mind makes sense for the character he plays, but geeze apart from one clever quip when he’s first introduced, Magnus is basically cast aside, he’s not even a secondary character, he’s not even used for a little comic relief. What a waste. As for Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine – I didn’t get it, not because of the actor himself, but rather again another filmmaking decision that I find baffling – why is it Valentine goes from being the sophisticated, smooth fanatic he’s described as in the books to a cross between Jack Sparrow and Axl Rose? The character was stripped of all his finesse thus making it more difficult as a spectator to understand why anyone would have followed him on his quest for Shadowhunter supremacy.
It was all quite baffling and not to spoil anything here but *SPOILER* after finding out that they’re brother and sister am I the only one who found it weird that Clary and Jace basically just brush it off as a lie and then ride off into the sunlight together on his motorcycle? Ok, granted Clary shows a little discomfort but once Jace is all like ‘Oh, I don’t believe him cause he’s all kinds of cray’ she seems ok with it. Weird.
I realize after all that I’ve said it seems surprising that I would say, as I did earlier, that I enjoyed the movie, but I did. It was entertaining. I’ve certainly seen far worse films. The acting was good, aesthetically it was pleasing and I didn’t find myself checking the time on my phone. But, readers beware – if you’re expecting a faithful adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s book prepare to be disappointed and slightly confused.
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date Published: 19 March, 2013
Number of Pages: 438 (Hard Cover)
*Spoilers ahead, if you have not read Clockwork Princess but plan to, don’t read this review until you finish the book.*
Before I can lay critique to the final book in Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy I have to say going into Clockwork Princess I was not as big a fan of this series as I am of The Mortal Instruments. Though I enjoyed Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince they didn’t resonate with me the same way The Mortal Instruments has. However, Clockwork Princess has completely changed my mind on the series. This final chapter (that epilogue!) not only entertained me but moved me as well.
What’s it about?
Clockwork Princess picks up a little after the events in Clockwork Prince, Jem and Tessa are preparing for their upcoming wedding, Charlotte and Henry the arrival of their baby and Will is dealing with his kid sister Cecily and well, brooding over Tessa, and the Magister is still at large and his plan for Tessa yet to be revealed has everyone on edge.
Clare takes us fairly quickly into the action of the Shadowhunting world – moving the story along smoothly and efficiently. Gabriel Lightwood’s revelation about his father’s descent into madness and transformation into a giant worm (which is both gross but humorous) and the message of The Infernal Devices sets things in motion, ultimately leading to an attack on the institute by Mortmain’s steel army (and Mrs. Black!) where Tessa is kidnapped and of all people Jessamine (who only just returned, literally) reveals to Will the Magister’s whereabouts.
In between all the action the story plays out as both a Gothic Romance (Byronic hero and all) and a comedy of manners – which is a good thing, the love triangle between Jem, Tessa and Will is so heavy and intense that the bits of comedy scattered throughout provide a well needed cathartic release.
The letters between Consul Wayland and the Lightwood brothers and Gideon’s ever-blossoming love for Sophie play out along the lines of a Whycherly play in that it’s all affected politeness and scheming and manipulation but in an absolutely fun and enjoyable manner (that first letter to Consul Wayland – priceless). And the “Great Scone Debacle” was really, well, adorable.
The race to save Tessa as Jem wastes away and ultimately the final show down had all the elements of the Shadowhunter world that make Clare’s novels so enticing.
But of course (Mortmain and his Infernal Devices be damned) the real story is the triangle that is Jem, Tessa and Will. It’s exhausting and draining and exciting and suspenseful and completely sad all at once. It’s the stuff good love stories are made of.
Quite frankly I fear the brilliance of Clare’s story will be lost on a lot of people who will focus too much on the fantasy aspect of the world she’s created (which clearly is awesome). But really, if you were to take away all the ‘otherness’ of this story – the Shadowhunters, the demons, the magic, a crazy man creating crazy demon powered robots (yes I went there, I called them robots) – it’s really just an examination on love. And not just romantic love – Clare explores the love between siblings, caregiver and receiver and friends – as so epically written in the story of Will and Jem.
But it all boils down to the love triangle. Generally these types of story are so black and white – there’s the good one and the eternally flawed one, and the one in the middle must choose between what’s easy and what’s difficult, perfection or imperfection. But in the case of Jem, Tessa and Will everything’s kind of laid out on the table from the get go. We know what Jem’s flaw is, we know why Will behaves as he does and we know Tessa is something other than just a girl – and somehow it makes the whole thing so much more intense. Neither Jem nor Will is perfect; the question is who’s perfect for Tessa.
From the beginning I was always team Will – Jem was nice and kind and patient and sweet and probably the safer choice in that he didn’t appear to be an emotional mess, but the guy was an addict marked for death. I mean really, I couldn’t help but feel how unbelievably selfish Jem was being in asking Tessa to marry him knowing he would be dead sooner rather than later. I admit I was rooting for Will. Though about a quarter of my way through the book I actually started to think that maybe, just maybe no one would end up with Tessa. (My alternate ending being the death of Jem and Will joining the Silent Brothers which let’s be honest, would have really played into the Gothic theme and would have been devastating for fan girls and boys everywhere. But really who doesn’t love a good tragedy?) When it was revealed that Jem had in fact joined the Silent Brothers and he said his farewells to both Tessa and Will the sixteen-year-old girl in me swooned because I knew Tessa would now end up with Will. And I felt like Will deserved her. He gave up so much to protect those he loved, this was his reward, it was what he was owed – a lifetime of love and happiness. And though it was made clear that Tessa loved Jem as much as she loved Will – to me it always seemed like Will was the right fit. The one who would make her live, make her experience life in a way she may not have thought possible.
But then I got to thinking – the fact that Jem would so unselfishly renounce true love for the happiness of his friend, his Parabatai – told me two things: Jem was really as pure and kind as everyone believed and that theirs (Will and Jem) is the true love story, each willing to forsake their own happiness to spare the other heartache.
Which makes for a nice change. Often “brotherly love” is explored jokingly, all ‘bro code’ and no heart. Clare subverts that ideal and offers a truly tender examination of male friendship and love. And in doing so the reader understand perfectly how Tessa could fall in love with both men.
The Epic Epilogue
Going into the epilogue I was expecting a tie-in to Jace as the last of the Herondale’s, maybe meeting Tessa or having brother Zachariah (who we now know with certainty is Jem) tell him about the family he never knew. Instead Clare totally destroyed my heart with Tessa’s walk down memory lane of her life with Will, and more specifically his death.
I couldn’t help but be moved at the final image of Will’s life with Jem on one side and Tessa on the other. And I love the idea of Jem playing his feelings, his experiences – singular and shared – through his violin. Something about the way it’s described just kind of pulls you in, it becomes so visceral and tangible. The brief images that are invoked to describe Tessa and Will’s life together – and how despite the rules around the Silent Brothers Will consistently worked to incorporate Jem into their lives, were lovely and touching.
And only adding to the bittersweet reality of Tessa’s life, the fact that after so many years, so much patience and determination Jem managed to overcome what stood in his way and offer Tessa a second chance at the life she could have had with him kind of destroyed my heart. (Is it weird that part of me felt – I don’t know, fear maybe, that in going off with Jem it meant it negated Tessa’s love for Will? I don’t think for a minute that’s what Clare was suggesting; I guess I just really love Will…)
But Clare manages to please both team Jem and team Will while at the same time offering a beautiful, bittersweet ending that was really and truly quite unexpected and exceptionally moving. And one that stayed true to the story.
The whole steam punk/Gothic vibe, the allusions and subtle comparisons to A Tale of Two Cities (Will as Sidney Carton, pfffft not even), and all the love stories makes this third and final book in The Infernal Devices, in my humble opinion, the best of the bunch.
I highly recommend reading the entire series, the lead up to this final book is worth the suspense.