I recently finished listening to the audiobook versions for the books in the Infernal Devices series, which is the prequel series to the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I’ve had multiple people recommend these books to me so many times over the past few years and I finally decided to start with this series before reading Mortal Instruments. Since they were available as digital audiobooks through my local library, the bus ride to and from work seemed like the perfect time to finally jump into this series.
You can find my reviews for each individual novel here:
I can’t even lie… I did not like Tessa at first. At all. I’m sure I was supposed to relate to her, but I just didn’t like a lot of her choices. I suppose a lot of it came from her being naive while not being naive, if that even makes sense, but I just had some trouble relating to her at the beginning. As the story progressed, I she quickly grew on me and I came to understand her a bit better. I do feel like her character development was perfectly done because she grew and changed as a real person would and I have a hard time imagining her as anything but real now.
Will was such a pain in the arse. Throughout the first book, I pretty much hated him. While I appreciate that he made the choices he did because of the reason he did, I just had a lot of trouble making myself like him. At the end of the series, I can say I like him well enough but I still don’t love him. I am definitely not on the Wessa ship.
Jem. Jem is such a pure bean his name deserves its own sentence. I actually got so angry with the way his arc was going during Clockwork Princess that I turned the audiobook off and spam texted a friend until she convinced me to continue listening. Jem is easily the best character in the entire series and his development as such was perfect.
If a tiny human was a bigger badass than any bodybuilder type while still basically being a mother hen, that would be Charlotte. She was protective and caring while still managing to be an amazingly skilled Shadowhunter and Head of the London Institute. Her arc often left me irritated at those around her, but at the end of the series she definitely deserved what she got!
Henry is a large, ginger inventor. What’s not to love?! (That was rhetorical. Don’t answer.) He was so oblivious and caring throughout the entire series and I just loved seeing where his arc took him. He’s so supportive (when he can see past the gears and cogs) and caring that I had to love him.
If there’s anyone who probably deserved better than they got, it was Jessamine. I feel like she fell pray to something that we all do from time to time: She made a couple really bad choices. I like where her arc ultimately ended, but I also understand why Charlotte chose the way she did with Jessamine.
Nate was a selfish asshole and he deserved worse than he got. I don’t really have anything else to say about him so I guess we can tell which character I hated most, can’t we?
While I can’t say I liked Axel Mortmain, aka The Magister, I can at least understand why he made the choices that he did. He felt a sense of revenge and that obviously set him on a very destructive path. He was a self-absorbed jerk, but his character development made him at least make sense on some level.
The entire story of this trilogy centers around Victorian London. Cassandra Clare not only had to build up Victorian London for us, but an entire underbelly society with Shadowhunters and Downworlders as well.
She did so masterfully. While it could easily have been very complicated, the world and how it functions was very easy to grasp. Regardless of the location, the descriptions scattered throughout the story made the world quite immersive.
While this series only consists of three novels, it feels like so much more. So much happened during the span of each novel that by the end of the series, I feel like I’ve known the characters for years instead of simply three relatively short novels. I also feel like the plot flowed well throughout the series, pushed along by the fact that Cassandra Clare makes brilliant use of a variety of alternating point-of-view characters.
Another thing that bears mentioning is that The Love Triangle™ is an actual love triangle, with all three characters loving each other deeply, though perhaps in different ways. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a story before that had an honest to goodness love triangle with all three people involved actually loving each other enough to make the use of the word “triangle” feel accurate. I really loved seeing it.
I also really enjoyed how at the end of the series Cassandra Clare left herself so many potential options for spinoffs, but she also left very few questions unanswered. Even after the point where I thought most authors would have typed “The End,” the novel continued, tucking in every loose strand and answering questions I didn’t realize I had. I was very impressed with how thoroughly this was done.
Since I did listen to the entire series on digital audiobook through my library, I felt it was important to include this section in the series review. I also feel the need to discuss it because the inconsistency of the narrators actually bothered me quite a bit. I enjoyed the first and last narrator, but the narrators for the second book felt wrong. Each time they switched places, it was jarring and I had trouble enjoying the story as much. I would have much preferred if all three novels in this series had the same narrator.
The Infernal Devices has quickly made its way onto the list of my favourite books. I am greatly looking forward to diving back into the world with Cassandra Clare’s other books in the near future and hope they live up to my now very high expectations. I also hope she sticks with a single narrator but I’ll still happily settle for multiples if I can only find them in English…
Overall, I rate Infernal Devices 4 out of 5 bookworms.
Because this is a series review, I’m not going to put in purchase links. Instead, I’ll link each book’s Goodreads page, which you can then use to get purchase links. Or you can pick them up in your favourite local shop. Or you can support your public library and check them out. Anywho, here they are:
That’s it for me this post, bookworms. Keep living one page at a time!