A brilliantly written tale of a love triangle in the 19th century that will leave your heart in screads. Beautiful, tragic and complex characters you cannot help but love.
This trilogy tells the story before Mortal Instruments. It takes place in 1878 in London and tells the foundation of the above mentioned series and the Dark Artifices. I’ve already written a review on Lady Midnight. It was excellent and addictive and made me curoius about this series because the serieses are connected and there are reappearing characters.
I was not disappointed, far from it. I loved it and I still have goosebumps when I reread my favorite scenes and oh there are aplenty.
But let me give you an idea of the plot first.
Theresa ‘Tessa’ Gray arrives from New York in London to live with her brother. Only to end up kidnapped by the Dark Sisters. She thinks she is human but while being held captive they train her special ability. She is apparently not human although we don’t learn what she is until very late. It is one of the mysteries of the trilogy. Anyway the Magister, this trilogies’ enemy, wants to marry her to use her ability. He is set to get to her.
Meanwhile William ‘Will’ Herondale investigates murders of mundanes (the Shadowhunter-term for humans) and they lead him to Tessa and he finds her just in time. They escape and he takes her to the Institute, the Shadowhunter-headquarter, where she meets his fellow Nephilim. Nephilim is another name for Shadowhunter, a group that is half-human and half-angel. Among them is Will’s parabatai James ‘Jem’ Carstairs and the head of the Institute Charlotte Branwell and others. She connects with them and finds refugee there.
So this should give you an idea of the plot so you can follow my following observations.
The two above mentioned best friends Will and Jem couldn’t be more different yet they are unbeviably close.
Will is very handsome with black hair and dark blue eyes. He behaves as irresponsible and risky. On the outside at least. He tries to push everyone but Jem away by his behaviour and snarky remarks. That is until Tessa joins the scene. They connect through their love for books. Because contrary to what he wants to make everyone around him believe he does care. He hides it.
But Tessa sees through him. She understands his qoutations of books like the ‘Tale of Two cities’ by Charles Dickens. And he imitatates characters from books when he doesn’t know what to do. Tessa and him are drawn to each other from the beginning but when he realizes he let his facade slip too much with her he hurts her and pushes her away.
Jem is the only one that doesn’t give up on Will or let’s his behaviour fool him. He knows that Will is good and caring. He trusts his best friend and parabatai and they can communicate without talking, almost like reading each others thoughts.
Jem, oh Jem. He is thickly through no fault of his own. He was tortured by a demon when he was young and had to witness his parents being murdered. And he is addicted to the drug he was tortured with. His life depends on it. His hair and eyes are silver because of it. Yet he doesn’t seek revenge. He is gentle and friendly with everyone and also very strong and stubborn yet he doesn’t show it often. He also plays the violin very beautifully.
After Will hurt Tessa she becomes very close with him and soon her heart is devided between those two very different friends. Also both are in love with Tessa but unaware of the feeling they both have for her. It’s a love story between those three. Because it is really not a love triangle. Sure at first you want Tessa to end up with Will but you cannot help but love her with Jem, too. You are constantly torn between those two. I’m not kidding. Not just Tessa’s heart is divided but your own as well. When Tessa gets engaged to Jem and one day later Will confesses his love to her you are literally in pain. She loves both of them but doesn’t want to hurt either of them. And so does Will when he learns of the engagement. He sacrifices his happiness for his parabatai even though it is pure torture. And Tessa fighting her feelings for Will. On the other hand she knows that Jem would sacrifice his own happiness would he learn that Will loves her. Both Will and Jem sacifice their own happiness. There is no rivalry. Can you say that about other love triangles? Would Edward and Jakob do the same? I think not.
Like I said epic love story. And you may ask how can there be a solution for it? Seems impossible right? Well not for Cassandra Clare. She makes us cry happy and sad tears. I was torn and miserable during Clockwork Princess. The whole book is full of heartache. And beautiful poetic speeches that leave you stunned.
Here are a few quotes that will give you a hint. The whole trilogy expecially the third installment is filled with it.
I still get goosebumps while reading those passages. And I read those passages to friends who didn’t knew the story and they had goosebumps. Without knowing the story. If that doesn’t tell you how good the story and wirting is I don’t know what will.
There are other aspects of the story I love as well. Oh there are other beautiful plots and love stories besides the ‘main’ love story.
There is the leader of the institute, Charlotte Branwell, and her husband Henry. As a female in a leading position in the 19th century she has to fight for her position against chauvinists that don’t believe a woman can make appropiate decisions. She fights for the people she cares about. Such as her husband Henry. He is an inventor but not all of his inventions work so his environment is cautious about them and don’t believe in them most of the time. Also noteworthy is that Charlotte is a Fairchild and she and Henry are the ancestors of Clary, our heroine from the Mortal Instruments.
There are also the Lightwood brothers Gideon and Gabriel. The reader is sceptical about them but they grow on you. Expecially through their love interest. Gideon and Sophie, a servant at the institute have a kind of adorable Cinderella story. And Gabriel…. he is proud and arogant and in the beginning I never thought I would like him but Cecily, Will’s sister, works her magic.
As a bonus our favorite Warlock Magnus Bane is a part of the plot, too. Funny, witty and likeable as ever.
Cassandra Clare really is a magician. If you’ve read the Mortal Instruments you’ll recognise the Shadowhunter-Family- Names. That plus you’ll connect not only the names but many story parrallels and family traits and recognize their origins. I was captured pretty fast and couldn’t stop. Also Shadowhunters were ahead of their time and it makes one appreciate their customs even more. I’m still amazed and can whole heartely recommend the trilogy.
That plus the double Happy-End will leave you speechless. Doube-Happy-End? ‘Is that even possible?’ you might ask. Yes indeed Cassandra Clare does manage to make it happen.
You know the best-part? During my last trip to London I was wandering along the Thames and ended up at Blackfriars-Bridge. Inconspicious it looks like but now it gets a whole new meaning. I found this picture on pinterest.
I’ll stop by there again you can be sure. And remember the epilogue if not read it in this spot.
The Infernal Devices is a captivating series that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it. The poetical speeches will leave you with goosebumps and the characters touch your heart.
Oh and as a boon you get hints about your beloved characters in future books such as Mortal Instruments, Dark Artifices and Shadowhunter-Academy. All of those series are interlocked. A must-read you could say. My to-read list grows and grows. Maybe my review made you add ‘The Infernal Devices’ to yours?