Top critical review
on 2 May 2012
The first book, Clockwork Angel, started slow and uninspiring but I reminded myself that so did the first book of the Mortal Instruments trilogy, and with the second it really picked up steam. Unfortunately, Clockwork Prince did not repeat the good aspects of City of Ashes that turned the trilogy from a derivative work to something original. There were many aspects of the book that just read as extraneous padding to attain a certain word count. The characters were flat, uninspiring and life-less. The love triangle is just a farce with Tessa not feeling for Jem what she feels for Will, and the intense make out scene between her and Jem is very ill-fitting to the context of the rest of the novel. Jessamyn, unlike Isabelle, is a flat character and is written with so much dislike that one can barely stand to read her scenes. The Victorian setting of the story is jarring and forced. There are too many instances where the reader is literally hand-held by the writer: "a proper lady would wear gloves before going out, thought Tessa" would be like saying in a contemporary book, "a sensible woman would wear clothes before going out, thought Tessa"... The scene where Magnus kisses Will seems thrown in just to please the slash fangirls. I also found it upsetting that despite all the emphasis placed on Magnus being bisexual and not gay, all the intensity of his relationship with Camille is shown in flashbacks and displaced for an ambiguous attraction to Will, and the implied relationship with the werewolf whose name I have forgotten.
I finished the book after close to two weeks, and reached the end feeling like if I had just completed an arduous chore. There is no inspiration or motive on my part to read the third book, except for a dull curiosity to discover how Will (because it has to be Will) is touched by the Angel and gets the Herondale scar, and how Tessa has survived all these years of immortality. But it is a dull, vague curiosity that I might just decide to satisfy via wikipedia someday, and not pore through pages and pages of lifeless material.