Spoiler-free CLOCKWORK PRINCESS review: A fitting end to an epic trilogy

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Saying goodbye is hard to do. Especially when it comes to an epic trilogy with beautiful characters that have touched your heart and a story that has captivated you for the past three years.

I’ve never been scared to read a book before. Anxious and nervous, yes, but never scared. Leading up to Clockwork Princess, I found myself worried for the fates of my favorite characters in their final act in this Victorian London Shadowhunter tale.

But it wasn’t just worry for the characters, it was the sad realization that the series was coming to an end and this is the last time we would see these characters except in re-reads.

Clockwork Princess was all I was hoping for and more. There was so much hype and anticipation leading up to the final installment of The Infernal Devices, and I can say with complete and utter confidence that it did not disappoint. It far exceeded  my expectations as all of Cassandra Clare’s books tend to do.

I believe Clare has outdone herself with Clockwork Princess. It’s easily my favorite book of hers and provided everything a fan of this series would like to experience, even things they didn’t know they’d want to experience.

I’ve never cried more while reading a book than I did reading Clockwork Princess. Sad tears, happy tears, laugh-til-you’re-silly tears. I cried them all. It was the culmination of a truly special trilogy with truly unforgettable characters that feel so alive that sometimes you forget you’re reading their story instead of watching it unfold in front of you.

There were moments where I was crying on one page and laughing on the next. It’s that emotional journey that makes the end result of the book and the series so meaningful and so deserving.

This book had it all—action, adventure, love, sadness, surprise, tension, danger, enchantment and so much emotion.

Cassie has created such an incredible love triangle between Tessa, Will and Jem. Most of the time, love triangles come off as forced and don’t make much of an impact. But this triangle that Cassie has weaved has taken readers on the ultimate journey and it is wrapped up in such a touching way.

What I’ve grown to enjoy in Cassie’s books over the past few years is the crossover between series. It’s something that is always present but especially evident in Clockwork Princess. Questions about The Infernal Devices’ connection to The Mortal Instruments that hadn’t been answered yet are answered and it’s a satisfying moment when it clicks in your mind.

There were moments when the characters would reflect on past events that readers had read in Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince and it was something that really struck a chord with me. With Clockwork Princess being the final book in the series it was like those moments of reflection were paying homage to the previous books in a sort of montage throughout. A character would remember something and readers can go, “I remember that.” It was a great way to connect the readers to the story even more so than they already are and it definitely triggered an emotional reaction in me.

One of the things I really appreciated was that everything came full circle. The story, the characters, everything. The ending was the perfect way to wrap up the stories of this generation of Shadowhunter Chronicles characters.

Keeping with the ending—it was by far the best ending to a book I’ve ever read. It’s hard to explain without getting into spoilers, but I can’t imagine it ending another way. Everything was wrapped up perfectly and there was a definitive sense of closure for the series.

One of the concerns fans face heading into the final book of a series is whether or not they will be left asking questions or if they will feel satisfied with the ending. Clockwork Princess didn’t leave fans hanging, instead it wrapped up everything in the utmost perfect way.

When I finished Clockwork Princess, I placed my iPad to the side and just sat there for a moment letting everything sink in. It was a special moment that I feel all fans will experience, be it right after they finish the book or when they’re going about their day when the sudden realization that the series has come to a close hits them.  And it will likely happen more than once. Every now and again when the memories of this story and the characters come to mind, fans will be able to look back and smile. And it will be beautiful, heartbreaking and meaningful; everything that this trilogy was.

I feel extremely honored and thankful to Cassie for sharing this world and these characters with us. For the past three years these characters have touched me with their struggles and their overcoming of adversity. They have made me laugh, cry, yell and care beyond belief. I can’t imagine not knowing them.

The hardest thing for me is saying goodbye to these characters. But these characters will never truly be gone. They will live on in our memories. Whenever we see a duck, hear a violin, spot a copy of A Tale of Two Cities or hear a familiar name, we will be transported back into that world. While we won’t get to experience new adventures, this story and these characters will live on forever in our hearts. Because when you love something that is this special, it can never be forgotten.

Ave atque vale.

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30 thoughts on “Spoiler-free CLOCKWORK PRINCESS review: A fitting end to an epic trilogy

  1. An outstandingly beautifully written review for an equally beautiful story. Thanks for saying so eloquently what we are feeling after reading one of the best ends to a series I’ve ever read.

  2. I’m still waiting to get a copy from the library (argh) and am *this close* to freaking out about what’s going to happen, so it was nice to read your review and hear how satisfied you are with the ending.

  3. This book was in deed my favorite also, and I love them all. You gave a great essay about it and looking back only one day and reflecting, you are right and “full circle” is the only true way to describe such a masterpiece. Also I have never cried or felt so connected as I did to these characters…. Thank you Cassandra for sharing them with the rest of the world.

    • Thanks! I have found the greatest strengths in Cassie’s books are her characters. Because even though they are set in an urban fantasy world the characters are very much real. It was great to witness their journey in these three books and to have been given the opportunity to connect with them they way that we have. This series is truly special.

  4. Thank you , its like you could read my mind and pick right words to describe what i feel. I’m a little bit like Will – i never can’t find words when i need them most:)
    I think about books and this amazing people living in them forever all day . I smile time to time but mostly cry … I read your review and i could not stop myself , tears fall again (its a really good job i work alone and no one see me ) Thank you again and again. as for characters , YES what’s better way to say goodbay then:

    AVE ATQUE VALE dear friends

    • Aww thank you! I completely understand. Just thinking about Clockwork Princess and realizing that it’s over makes me want to cry all over again. It’s truly bittersweet. It was such an exquisite book, but the fact that it was the final one in the series is very sad. I feel like that feeling will randomly hit us days, weeks, months, years down the line and we will be able to re-read and look back on the adventures, losses and triumphs of these characters and smile :-)

  5. What a beautifully written review! You nailed it! Thank you!
    But “Ave atque vale”? :( How about just mizpah?
    I still don’t, or maybe can’t, see it as a goodbye… There’s still plenty to be written, I mean, what happened to everyone’s life after the end of the last chapter and b4 the epilogue?! ;) See?! :)
    Maybe I’m in denial, maybe I’m not ready for it to be done yet or maybe… from CC herself : “Well… a story about the next generation is always possible… ” !
    Oh, please CC? :)

    • Haha I’m in denial too, but it seemed like a fitting sendoff. This was the last time we’ll see these characters as they were in THIS series, which is quite sad. But, who knows, maybe Cassie will write some short stories about the TID characters in the future for special content in an upcoming book?

      • Yeah, you’re right. CC couldn’t have ended CP2 on a higher note and the wheel did come full circle, but these characters, they felt so real, (even more that the TMI ones dare I say) and they still live and breathe in my head, so I’m not saying goodbye.
        What an excellent idea! Short stories detailing bits of their lives through the Edwardian era and World War I as a special content to perhaps a new series? Much like TDA and the TMI characters who’ll make cameos in. CC herself did say that she enjoys writing about the Shadowhunter world and that the stories about this world are infinite and I couldn’t feel more hopeful!

      • Gals, there are some rumours from Cassie herself that “certain two TID characters” might well have a cameo in TDA. So you see, it might be “mizpah” after all lol….

        On a separate note – what a great review, Alyssa! I share your thoughts and feels exactly! I’m still unable to get all my thoughts and emotions in order to write an adequate review of my own :D

  6. still in the proess of reading it. I’m just over a 100 pages in but I’m loving it so far, and tearing, up laughing, awing and coming up to the part where I want to slap a certian character( or would if I was Tessa . and i don’t blame tessa for wanting to maim him let’s just say it’s a certian werewolf) beautifully written review! and guys this is not the endo f shadowhunter chronicles! we got cofhf, the dark artifces, the bane chronicles, the mangas and graphic novels, the merch, the codex, shadowhunters and down worlders, the movies and another yet unnamed series in the shadow world!

    • Thank you! The thing is that it’s the end of TID. Sure, there are other Shadowhunter series to come and the conclusion of TMI, but it’s the fact that TID has come to end that is sad. We won’t see these characters as they were in that series ever again. But thankfully we see their descendants

  7. I agree with everything you said. I play the violin and now I will not be able to play it without thinking about how important the relationship I have had with the series. Every positive adjective written in dictionaries, I think, totally understimates this book. There are no words for this masterpiece. Cassandra Clare made such a fine work of art. No book had ever made me feel this way or see things in a different light. Everything about this book was just so real and so intimate that there were times that I thought it was awkward to read the scenes that were happening because of its intimacy to the characters. And by the Angel, don’t even get me started by how much I’ve learned about life, family, loyalty, trust, fate. But I think nothing surpasses the things I’ve learned about friendship and love and what a miracle it is to have it, feel it and the privilege to appreciate it, as if you truly own it all on your own – as if it’s yours to give away or stop in an instance.

    • Well said. There were so many things that I’ve learned in this series and it all came full circle in CP2. It really is hard to find words for how truly incredible this book and this trilogy was.

  8. I am very happy to know that others feel the withdrawal that I feel! I feel as though if I am not holding one if CC’s books in my hand, or am not whisked away in daydreams of Will, Jem, Tessa, etc., then I am slowly dying on the inside. Will and Jem are my dream boys, and I like to see Tessa as myself. I do not wish to say goodbye, but to welcome them to a fun new adventure, where I am there by their side.
    Beautiful review! I have to admit I cried. :)

    • Aww. That means a lot! I feel like this book really did in the entire fandom emotionally. These characters will always be with us even if we don’t get to see them again besides in re-reads

      • Its sad to say goodbye but the way it ended helps wit saying goodbye because it feels ended anyway I luv this book n theres just to much to say bout this book it is incredible n whoever has not read cc books should really get on to it :)

  9. I guess I’m the only one who has mixed feelings. This is the first time I feel this way about a CC book. I just found CP2 predictable. There was barely any plot twisting or surprises. The only surprise was in the last half of the epilogue. I also thought the love triangle became cliche like the normal ones in other books and mediums. Where’s the love triangle that I fell in love and cry over? And Wessa…I’ll just say it was a bit off, like there was something wrong with it. However, CP2 is beautifully written and I love the epilogue but CC could’ve come with better ways to solve the love triangle and bring more plot twists. Also where’s Jem’s POV?? He was more a supporting character than a main character.

    • Natty, I agree with you in a sense that I found some plot points predictable but having said that, it didn’t make this book any less marvellous nor did it diminish my enjoyment of reading it.
      However, there’s one particular scene in the book that I found so utterly dishonourable and the characters it concerns acting in the most disrespectful manner that it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown and caused my Kindle to literally try to commit suicide by throwing itself on the ground in despair.
      Aside from that, this was my favourite book in the TID trilogy.

  10. God, this is such a beautiful review! You did miracles with the words you used. I’ve just figured out that I have the same feelings about CP2. I can’t start a new book. I can’t do anything :( My mind is blank and I’m not able to admit that this wonderful trilogy has come to end. Tessa, Will, Jem and all the characters will be forever in my heart.
    Thank you CC for this beautiful book and thank you Alyssa for this awesome review! Shadowhunters forever!

  11. That was such a lovely review! I have just finished the book and knew that I had to come on here becuse everyone would understand what I am feeling and you do! :)

  12. girl…u gonna make me cry…that was by far the most excellent review ever…my parents bought me the first edition when it just came out and they wont let me read it until im done testing in school…i think im gonna die :) but the review did actually make me cry :D

  13. You don’t think that she left the series open? I disagree with it being a tied together and wrapped up. I don’t mean this negatively though, I Just think that there might be more to the series and to these characters! I really do hope there is. I don’t want to say much more, I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t read the book yet, but I have a feeling she might keep going with these characters, or at the very least they will come back to start a new story with different characters.

  14. Pingback: Book Review: ‘Clockwork Princess’ is a fitting end to an epic trilogy | Alyssa Barbieri

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