I have wanted for a while now to do some posts about my favourite authors, books and series, and a brief summary of what I love so much about them, as well as my memories of reading them for the first time. I hadn’t had enough time to start this until today, so here goes! I’ve decided that I’m going to call these posts ‘Friday Favourites’ (just because of the alliteration!) and I’ve chosen to start off with my all-time favourite series, The Infernal Devices.
- The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
The Infernal Devices reigns supreme as my favourite series (with Throne of Glass coming in a very close second). I can still vividly remember buying the first novel in the series, Clockwork Angel, a few years ago. I was in London and visiting Foyles for the first time. If you haven’t been to Foyles you definitely should – it’s a huge, 4 or 5 storey bookstore on Charing Cross Road with a big and diverse YA section, where I would really love to live and read all day long! I noticed this novel on the shelf and was particularly excited as I had read The Mortal Instruments (one of Cassandra Clare’s other series) and I hadn’t realised that the author was writing a new series. I bought the book, took it back to my hotel room and started reading it straight away, instantly immersed in the storyline and enchanted by the characters. That evening I went to watch the musical ‘Wicked’ for the first time and absolutely loved it. Then I returned back to the hotel to read more of Clockwork Angel. That day remains on of my favourite days of all time, because I watched a brilliant musical and picked up a brilliant book.
This series tells the story of Tessa Gray. At the start of the first novel, she is being held captive by the Dark Sisters, who exploit Tessa’s ability to physically change into another person when she holds an item of that person. Tessa is rescued by a group of Shadowhunters and moves in with them at the institute, helping them to work against the Pandemonium Club and its mass of clockwork creatures. Here’s the Goodreads synopsis for Clockwork Angel:
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 Timesbestselling 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…
Here are my favourite things about this series and why I would recommend it!
- First and foremost – Tessa, the central character. Tessa is a wonderful and highly likeable heroine, particularly because of her love for books and poetry. She is an avid and enthusiastic reader of Victorian novels, as is one of the main male characters, Will. I love the conversations that the two of them have together about books, especially about A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens – ATOTC was actually the inspiration for this trilogy for Cassandra Clare. Additionally, Tessa is likeable because of her good-humoured nature and occasionally very witty retort and the way that she grows over the course of the trilogy. She possesses a quiet and admirable sort of strength, cleverness and charm.
- The second strength of this series is the love triangle. Sometimes I get very frustrated with love triangles in novels because they are such an overdone fantasy trope at this point and because usually the two love interests are not equal and it’s actually very clear which guy the author and the protagonist prefer. However, for me, this series is different. Tessa clearly likes both Will and Jem and it is understandable why she values them equally – the reader likes them both, too. In some ways they are opposites: Will is striking with bright blue eyes and dark hair, while Jem has silvered hair and eyes; Will can be cold, impulsive and unfriendly where Jem is warm, calm and amicable; Will’s a turbulent rapid where Jem is a gently bubbling stream. They are also great friends and parabatai, and they know each other inside out. Neither harbours jealousy of the other. It’s a unique kind of love triangle and when Tessa says that her heart is divided in two, we believe her.
- I reread The Infernal Devices all the time and know lots of it from memory…and yet, each time I reread the series, I get something new out of it and I love it even more. It never gets old for me and it is always a joy to return to the world and the characters, like being reunited with old friends. On my bookshelf, I even have a section dedicated to the books that Will and Tessa read – Dickens, Vathek, Lady Audrey’s Secret, etc. Additionally, every time I’m in London and going across Blackfriars Bridge, where some important and iconic scenes in the book are set, I am filled with visions of Will, Jem and Tessa and of this series.
I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys YA fantasy. You don’t have to have read Cassandra Clare’s other series to read it – I hadn’t finished TMI before delving into TID and in my estimation, although I also really like The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices novels are my favourite, probably because I also love the historical element. The plot and world-building are fantastic and top-notch, but it is the characters that really bring this series to life, as well as the relatable enthusiasm for books it exhibits.
Favourite quote from this series: ‘Words have the power to change us.’