This past summer I came to a point where my book stacks were dwindling and I was getting down to reread territory. Don’t get me wrong, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE rereading my favorite books and getting the chance to experience a favorite story or world of mine once again, but during my summer I didn’t want to travel to other places I had already gone: I wanted to go somewhere new and on an entirely new adventure! Due to my stockpile of fiction running dry, I decided to raid my older sister’s bookshelf and ended up asking if I could borrow her copy of Cassandra Clare’s “Clockwork Angel.” All I’ve got to say, readers, is #NoRegrets!
Immediately after I finished “Clockwork Angel,” I started “Clockwork Prince” and ended up loving it even more than the first book! “The Infernal Devices” is a great series in general, but I think that there was also something about the time in my life when I picked it up and the fact that I was craving a historical fiction setting that made me adore it to pieces. Oh, and I can never, ever, forget the perfect use of quotes to set the tone for each chapter and the classic literature references throughout this series.
For me there’s a fine line between an author taking good classic literature pieces to make their book better and an author who is trying too hard to be seem sophisticated or on another “level.” My first piece of advice to the latter authors: be you to the best of your ability while writing instead of trying too hard. Readers can see the difference, and I think what most of us really seek is honesty when we escape through the written word, so when authors are honest, whether their books are sophisticated or not, we can connect with them. I read a lot of the books that are cute and fluffy because a girl needs some lighthearted fun sometimes, but I also like elegant books that sweep me off my feet with their lyrical prose and transportive qualities. I know that I’m pandering a little bit here, but the point I’m trying to make concerning “The Infernal Devices” is that Cassandra Clare used classic literature to her advantaged and it added weight and depth to her series; the sincerity in which she used it made me feel like those pieces and references were really a part of the story and world she created. These books felt raw and real, but also refined in a way because of the addition of poetry and quotes. Another thing that I really loved was that the language (I just mean the English language in general) used in “The Infernal Devices” was not a higher form of what we speak now, but it also wasn’t simple and empty-headed. I thought that Cassandra’s writing was well-balanced in the sense that it felt fairly effortless, but it still had enough of the older way of speaking English to make me feel transported back to Victorian London. Then there were moments when the words and quotes that were so beautifully placed and wonderful in themselves that I kinda wanted to cry because of how lovely they were.
“The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.”
—Charlotte Brontë, “Evening Solace”
Cassandra Clare used some of the best poetry to compliment her books’ themes and to make me love them. P.S. I have a weakness for ALL things Charlotte Brontë!!! Oh, and the use of Latin was SO GOOD, and after I finished the series, I went on a crazed search for Latin sayings on pinterest and found the Shadowhunter creed, “Pulvis et umbra sumus,” paired with fan art for “The Infernal Devices.”
Isn’t it SOOO cool?!! Second only to the beautifully used quotes and Latin sayings, Will’s and Jem’s friendship HIT ME IN THE FEELS.
They were like Jonathan and David, and all of the parabatai stuff just really got to me. For some reason it was really the that the two of them and the skillfully used classic literature references that stole my heart while reading “The Infernal Devices,” and I kind of wish that this series didn’t have a heroine so that it could have been just about Will, Jem, and the other Shadowhunters; I know that it is mostly about them anyway, but I still wish that Tessa was not in it. She wasn’t a bad heroine, she just took page time away from Will and/or Jem, and all I wanted was more parabatai, parabatai all the time. Yes, I like the sound of the word, so I’m gonna say it one more time: parabatai.
Honestly, I just loved (still love) what that parabatai bond meant between them and to the other Shadowhunters who had it at one time or another, and it made me think about of all of my favorite friendship duos: Jonathan and David, Shawn and Gus, Corey and Shawn, Chuck and Morgan, Danny and McGarret, Solo and Kuryakin…I could go on for days, but I just loved what the parabatai relationship signified in this series, that friendship and love can never die even when one of the friends does, and I thought that was beautiful.
Okay, so I fond a lot of stuff beautiful and riveting in this series, but another thing that I adored (I know, I’ll stop after this!) was that Cassandra Clare chose “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens as the underlining theme and message for her story. The way she used it in these books and the story behind the classic literature book just added SO MUCH depth and weight to this series. After finishing this series, I started to read “A Tale of Two Cities” and ended up loving it, and it is one of my favorite classic literature novels now! I really appreciate when an author uses other written works to ground their own ideas (A.K.A. beloved retellings) while still making it their own, and I especially love it when their work makes me want to go and search out the original.
Okay, so now that I’ve probably driven you nuts by all of my chatter, I’ll leave you with this: If you like historical fiction, adventure, romance, poetry, quotes, and the kind of friendship that rips your heart out because it’s so good, then you need to pick “The Infernal Devices” up if you haven’t already. I hate to be aggressive, but seriously, read these books!
Thanks for reading, everyone!