Clockwork Prince

I've been desperately waiting for Clockwork Prince, the second in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy, for months, and at the weekend, I finally got my hands on a copy. It does not disappoint. Although a little less action-packed than its prequel, Clockwork Prince is an exciting fantasy romance adventure, with compelling characters, lashings of wit, and more twists (both plot-wise and emotion-wise) than you can shake a top hat at. All in all, it's brilliant.

Clockwork Prince picks up soon after Clockwork Angel left off: Charlotte's ability to run the London Institute is under scrutiny after the Magister's deadly attack, and the gang are desperate to stop this psychopath before his clockwork army gathers enough force to destroy the Shadowhunters.

Unusually for a paranormal teen romance, Clockwork Prince is full of kick-ass heroines. Charlotte is fantastic as the slightly-older girl attempting to prove that she can run the Institute (and well!), despite being a woman, and the book also gives us interesting insight into servant girl Sophie, but our heroine Tessa steals the show with her quiet boldness.Without losing her core as a thoughtful, book-loving academic type, Tessa gets her fair share of adventures, including a good bit of ass-kicking, thanks to the fight training she receives throughout the book. Her emotions and her actions are rich, compelling, flawed, and always fascinating to read.

I'm sure many readers will come up with some not-so-nice epithets for Tessa, as she dares to have feelings for (and dalliances with) more than one boy during the course of the novel, but I think her feelings for these boys, her confusion, and the allure of each of these very different relationships, was great to explore, and I'm glad Clare included it. Clare manages to present both a "nice, safe, sweetheart" (who has a side of danger and pain) and a "dangerous bad boy" (who is yet charming and has heart-breaking reasons for his bad behavior), and I found myself torn between the two, although bad-boy Will wins out in my heart in the end. The ending of the novel was slightly soul-destroying, but in a good, "I am so invested in these characters" way.

Fans of Clare's writing will get everything they expect from one of her books: laugh out loud one-liners, spine-tingling plot twists, love, tragedy, betrayal, impossible romance, magic, hot boys, and awesome heroines. Anyone who hasn't read one of her books before should check out Clockwork Angel first, and then head right on to this one. You'll be in for a treat!