Happy Wednesday my friends! One of my goals for 2019 was to start posting book reviews again, and I could not be happier that I’m finally (finally) getting back in to writing them. Not only that, but this review I’ve written and am sharing today is over my all time favorite series, so I’m verrrry excited!
I’ve deemed The Infernal Devices the series of my heart because it is everything to me. Like, I know I rave about my love for a lot of series on here, but I’m telling you: this is the one. From my first read as a sophomore in high school (when I used to bother my friends at school by talking about Will Herondale excessively) to my most recent reread just a few weeks ago – I’ve come to the conclusion that this is my very favorite.
So, fair warning: this review is going to be full of endless love and praise and me being overly emotional… but I hope you enjoy!
***This review is spoiler free!
➤Series Title: The Infernal Devices
➤Author: Cassandra Clare
➤Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
➤Publication: 2010-2013 by Walker Books
➤My overall rating: ★★★★★
This series takes place in Victorian London (1878) and follows a teenager named Tessa after she unexpectedly gets swept up in a supernatural world she never knew she was a part of herself. It’s a unique blend of fantasy, romance, historical fiction, paranormal, steampunk – there’s lots of different elements going on here, and that’s something I love about this series. The combination of it all really makes for such a captivating and well-rounded storyline. And it’s very easy to get quickly invested in this plot.
Although I do like the main conflict involving the villain and some menacing clockwork creatures, my favorite part of the story is following the protagonists and the dynamics between them. I’m notorious for becoming overly invested in characters, so what I find myself getting the most absorbed in while reading this series is this: the love triangle. This is probably the only time I’m going to say that, ever, since I tend to avoid love triangles like the plague. But the one in this series is unlike any other – it’s genuinely beautiful. The entire dynamic between the three characters is indescribably powerful, and honestly what I’m most invested in plot-wise.
We also follow the individual character’s storylines, which are really emotional and make me cry, like, a lot. These characters go through way too much, but the way they face adversity and each have their own personal arcs is incredible. I absolutely love how the books become more and more character driven as this series goes along. It’s honestly perfect to me as a person who is all about character driven storylines.
There’s quite a bit that goes down in this story. There’s plenty of action and suspense, drama and humor, and overall lots to become captivated by. This plot is super engrossing and I feel like there’s something here for everyone to enjoy between the governmental conflicts, the villainous threats, the uniquely written relationships, individual character arcs, family dynamics, etc. But, of course, the characters are what make this as enjoyable as it is for me, which is what we’re going to get in to next!
➤Tessa – My role model as a teenager, and honestly, she still is. I admire Tessa’s independence, the way she stays true to herself, her ferocity, her bookishness, and basically everything about her. A true icon!
➤Jem – If I had to name the most selfless and kindest character in all of YA literature, my answer would without a doubt be James Carstairs. Jem is so completely good and wholesome. He truly deserves the entire world and more.
➤Will – You know those characters you love so much, so completely and wholeheartedly, that it’s difficult to even begin talking about them? Will Herondale is… literally my favorite character of anything ever, and I could scream about my love for him for the rest of eternity.
“He was Will, in all his perfect imperfection; Will, whose heart was as easy to break as it was carefully guarded; Will, who loved not wisely but entirely and with everything he had.”
➤Charlotte – My friend Arin, who loves Charlotte more than anyone else I know, can vouch for how underrated this character is. Charlotte is the true definition of a leader, and even though she has to endure so much, she remains kindhearted. And I love that about her.
➤Henry – Henry has a peculiar mind, and by that I mean he is an absolute genius. He’s also ridiculously fun and kind and he and Charlotte are the cutest. I adore him.
➤Sophie – Sophie is one of those characters I just want to hug forever and tell her she deserves every last ounce of happiness in the world. She’s fiercely loyal, a true friend, and there’s nothing I want more than the best for her honestly.
➤Gideon – The eldest of the two Lightwood brothers. I love how calm and collected Gideon is, but also how he won’t stand for anything that goes against his values.
➤Gabriel – The younger of the Lightwood brothers, and a bit more wilder, and also Will’s worst enemy. Gabriel’s character arc in this story is actually one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.
➤Cecily – An absolute legend and the most underrated Herondale. Cecily is one of my very favorites and also a complete and total badass.
It never fails to amaze me how intricately created the Shadow World is. And although I’d say it was more thoroughly explored in The Mortal Instruments (I do recommend reading at least the first three books before TID), it’s still explained well enough in The Infernal Devices so you can read this series without prior knowledge.
What’s unique about this series, however, is that the world-building of Victorian London is there alongside the world-building of the Shadow World. This is by far one of my favorite aspects. I was already captivated by the Shadow World as it is, but I fell completely in love with being immersed in this historical era as well. It really is like being transported back in time. But… more supernatural.
I think Cassandra Clare did an excellent job with incorporating all these fantasy and historical elements together, and it truly did prove to me what a wonderful writer she is. The entire atmosphere she created in this series is so impressive. I know some people are reluctant to pick up this series because they weren’t fans of Clare’s writing in The Mortal Instruments (I understand that), but I can say with certainty that this series is written on a whole other level.
Like, I’m telling you – the epilogue of the last book, Clockwork Princess, is the most emotionally powerful thing I have ever read in my entire life. It makes me cry like nothing else honestly. And it’s all thanks to the way it was written!
Plus, there are so many lovely quotes in this series, such as this one (my favorite):
“It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them.”
I know it’s probably clear by now but… I just love this series, and I love it with everything that I am. Even though it breaks my heart a million times over (like, constant tears reading this), it also fills me with such happiness. My love for this is definitely partially fueled by nostalgia because this series really spoke to me as a teenager, but besides all of my emotional ties to it, I do think these books are genuinely incredible.
From the plot, the characters, the historical elements, the writing, the world-building, the themes, the love triangle (I promise it’s a good one) – all of it comes together to make one powerful and unique story. This series means the world to me and it really has become my favorite of all time. Honestly. I get emotional over it constantly and I really could not recommend it more.
So why should you read this series?
- A love triangle that is actually incredibly written (a rare feat!)
- Characters you’ll love with your entire heart and soul
- Will Herondale. That’s it, that’s one of the reasons.
- The London Institute is amazing
- It’s very bookish! It’s even inspired by A Tale of Two Cities
- Allllll the beautiful quotes
- The atmosphere of Victorian London
- Clockwork Princess is the sixth highest rated book on Goodreads
- It’s just… it’s so good
- You’ll be ready to read Chain of Gold! (more on that below)
“At last, the wheel comes full circle…”
…CHAIN OF GOLD! Friends, I’m still in disbelief that this is finally becoming a reality. The Infernal Devices has a sequel series, set in Edwardian London, and the first book is out this year on November 19th! This story follows the original characters and their children, and it’s literally everything I ever wanted.
AND don’t forget to check out these other 2019 Shadowhunters releases:
—The Tessa, Will, & Jem character art in this review is credited to the wonderful Cassandra Jean!
I’d love to know
Have you read The Infernal Devices? Have you read any of the other Shadowhunters series? Are you looking forward to Chain of Gold as much as I am?! Let me know all your Shadowhunters thoughts!