In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them… (From: Goodreads)
**Actual rating: 4/5 amazing stars**
“It was books that made me feel that perhaps I wasn’t completely alone.”–Will Herondale
So, this is it. My very first book by the incredibly popular writer, Cassandra Clare, and she didn’t disappoint me at all. I’ve always wanted to give her books a try and see what the hypes are about but was taken aback by such a HUGE chronicle. I mean, there are other series more or less related to The Infernal Devices or The Mortal Instruments and I have the habit of readathoning all of them. Fortunately, I don’t think it’s a problem now because wow, the story is far more interesting than I expect.
For starters, the beginning is really, really captivating because
we’ll meet the notoriously handsome Mr. Herondale very soon, like, only a few chapters later Tessa started her journey to the entire Shadowhunters’ world with much uncertainty in the first chapter, which excited me a lot. She headed for London on a steamboat(the transportation in this book intrigued me because they brought me back to the 19th century perfectly, as if I was born and lived there) and was greeted by the Dark Sisters. Honestly, I was super fascinated by her ability–shape-shifting–and she was far from ordinary. What makes her different from any other paranormal characters is that she described her transformation when practicing her newly-discovered skill, including her emotional and physical change thoroughly and heartfelt. Moreover, the magic those Nephilims wielded was pure awesomeness. Instead of the control of basic elements as we usually see, using magic spells and drawing ancient symbols were comparatively more enthralling.
Although I’ve been told the romance in Cassandra’s books isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, there’s no denying I still hold on to a thin thread of hope that perhaps, just perhaps, Tessa and Will would develop something slightly more than friends. Well, it’s not impossible, right? They were probably the cutest OTP ever and both of them were total bookworms,
like us. In my opinion, the best kind of romantic development is the slower, the better. And occasional bickerings is just a cherry on top!
“Do you normally turn up in gentlemen’s bedrooms in the middle of the night? If I’d known that, I would have campaigned harder to make sure Charlotte let you stay.”
“I don’t see how what I do is your concern,” Tessa replied. “Especially since you abandoned me in the corridor and left me to find my own way back to my room.”
“And you found your way to Jem’s room instead?”
However, as much as I expected Will to make the first move toward her, he disappointed me eventually. I know that he had some unspeakable issues in private so that’s why he lied and cruelly told the truth regardless of her feelings, but maybe he could be less straightforward. It’s called “etiquette”, dude. Thus, I honestly didn’t like him as much as I thought I would. And it saddened me that how desperately Tessa needed the affection that she knew wouldn’t get from him.
No. She could not have imagined that. Will cared for her, she was sure of it. Yes, he had been rude to her almost since he had met her, but then, that happened in novels all the time. Look how rude Darcy had been to Elizabeth Bennet before he’d proposed, and really, quite rude during as well. And Heathcliff was never anything but rude to Cathy. Though she had to admit that in A Tale of Two Cities, both Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay had been very kind to Lucie Manette. And yet I have had the weakness, and have still the weakness, to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire… .
On the other hand, Jem began to grow on me because I didn’t feel anything for him at first, but the way he talked and acted warmed my heart. He was such a nice guy compared to Will, but nobody’s perfect, he suffered from a sort of disease like drug addicts. **Ugh, why does Cassandra try to complicate every character here and make almost everything look impossible?**
Well, I wasn’t seeing the development of “Jamessa” coming, but by the end of the story, they seemed more likely to be together. I mean, when a guy genuinely says something so conforting and heartwarming to a girl, how can she resist him?
“Perhaps you are here because you are otherwise alone, but so am I. So is Will. So is Jessamine. And even, to an extent, Charlotte and Henry. Where else could Henry have his laboratory? Where else would Charlotte be allowed to put her brilliant mind to work the way she can here? And though Jessamine pretends to hate everything, and Will would never admit to needing anything, they have both made homes for themselves here. In a way, we are not here just because we have nowhere else; we need nowhere else, because we have the Institute, and those who are in it are our family.”
Whether she’ll really be with either Jem or Will remains unknown in the end of this book and I’m not sure which one she truly loves. The former always opens up to her and tells her the truth in a better way than just spills it, while the latter seems to conceal his feelings and secrets in front of others and pushes all those who deem him as family away, but deep down, I believe there’s a soft spot under the hard exterior.
They both turned toward the door; as they went out, Jem looked at Tessa and gave her a little shrug. I wish you were a Shadowhunter, she thought his eyes were saying, but maybe it was simply what she hoped they were saying. Perhaps he was merely smiling at her kindly and there was no meaning in it.
I still can’t get enough of Jem’s wise words and god knows where his cleverness came from. He’s a perfect role model of a best friend forever, a considerate boyfriend, a loyal partner, a faithful warrior, and a formidable Shadowhunter. Whenever he spoke, his words never failed being profound and meaningful. They stated the facts but at the same time, pointed out the bright sides of them.
“I know the truth about Nate, now, and painful as it is, it is better than being lied to. It is better than going on loving someone who cannot love me back. Better than wasting all that feeling.” Her voice shook.
“I think he did,” said Jem, “and does love you, in his way, but you cannot concern yourself with that. It is as great a thing to love as it is to be loved. Love is not something that can be wasted.”
Next, the reason I didn’t give it a 5-star partly because the middle of the story slacks a bit for me, and I couldn’t feel the connection among those characters the same way I did as the beginning AND the end, and partly because I really, really, really didn’t get it why Tessa cared for her brother, Nate, so much. He was obviously addicted to gambling and lost a tremendous amount of money and even sold her out to the Magister in exchange for silvers and then lied to all of them the whole time. However, she still defended him until some severe destruction was caused and then good people died, bad ones fled. Frankly speaking, she had to embrace the truth, no matter how ugly it was, and moved forward.
Lastly, despite the minor flaw I disliked, I still recommend this book/trilogy to all of you because there are lots of twists and turns that’ll leave you wanting more. Btw, there are also many quotes from the characters that’re so suitable for all the book lovers like you.
“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”