(The Infernal Devices #3)
By Cassandra Clare
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy. Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.
My rating: 5/5
When I began the third and final book in the infernal devices series I was dreading the moment when I came to the end because I would want to read the next book in this series and there isn't one. Then I would be left to find a replacement and I doubt I would find anything that came close to how much I enjoyed reading Cassandra Clare's books. But, and there is a big but, I felt satisfied at the end of this story. The story had a nice closure feel to it, particularly the epilogue. Although it makes me wonder what adventures Tessa and Jem could have going forwards; who knows.
It has been a very long time since a book has brought me to tears but Clockwork Princess did on a number of occasions. The characters are so real, that I could feel the pain when they went into battle, when Henry injures himself, when Jem is dying, it felt so real.
As always, Will is my absolute favourite, and Jem comes close, along with Tessa, Magnus, Henry, Sophie...oh my, I seem to be naming everyone don't I. Will doesn't have as many witty comments in this story, but I have highlighted the ones I found in my 'favourite quotes' section below. Will's seriousness is justifiable, considering his heartache over Tessa and Jem's engagement, Jem's condition deteriorating because he is running out of the drug he is dependent on, Tessa being kidnapped and the worry over the institute being taken over. However Will's sister, Cecily, was quite funny to read about and because she did not know Tessa and the other shadowhunters as well she could not really relate to their problems. From my previous reviews you will know I am not fond of Jessamine, but I almost felt sorry for her in this story; almost.
There are not many times I get to say my hunch was right, but it was!!! Aloysius Starkweather was related to Tessa, which is why he was so protective of her. Shame he got killed in the end.
Brilliant ending as always, and I hope to read many more of Cassandra Clare's books in the near future.
"I am not a certified idiot-"
"Lack of certification hardly proves intelligence," Will muttered.
"You don't think I can fight," Tessa said, drawing back and matching his silvery gaze with her own. "Because I'm a girl."
"I don't think you can fight because you're wearing a wedding dress," said Jem. "For what it's worth, I don't think Will could fight in that dress either."
"Perhaps not," said Will, who had ears like a bat's. "But I would make a radiant bride."
"You cannot reduce the situation to worm jokes, Will. This is Gabriel and Gideon's father we're discussing."
"We're not just discussing him; we're chasing him through an ornamental sculpture garden because he's turned into a worm."
"A demonic worm," said Jem, pausing to peer cautiously around a hedgerow. "A great serpent. Would that help you inappropriate humor?"
"There was a time when my inappropriate humor brought you a certain amusement," sighed Will. "How the worm has turned."
"A guardian demon. I was searching Benedict's desk, and I must have moved or touched something that awoke it. A black smoke poured from the drawer, and became that. It lunged me-"
"And clawed you," Tessa said in concern. "You're bleeding-"
"No, I did that myself. Fell on my dagger," Henry said sheepishly, drawing a stele from his belt. "Don't tell Charlotte."
"The habits of years are not unlearned so quickly," Tessa said, and her eyes were sad. "Do not make the mistake of believing that he does not love you because he plays at not caring, Cecily. Confront him if you must and demand the truth, but do not make the mistake of turning away because you believe that he is a lost cause. Do not cast him from your heart. For if you do, you will regret it."
"So you are dying for love, then," Will said finally, his voice sounding constricted to his own ears.
"Dying a little faster for love. And there are worse things to die for."
"This is not some empty promise, James. Believe me, there is no one who knows more than I do the pain of false hope. I will look. If there is anything to be found, I will find it. But until then-your life is yours to live as you choose."
Incredibly, Jem smiled. "I know that," he said, "but it is gracious of you to remind me."
"Don't you even care where I'm going?" he said. "What if I were going to Hell?"
"I've always wanted to see Hell," Cecily said calmly. "Doesn't everyone?"
"Most of us spend our time struggling to stay out of it," said Will, "I am going to an ifrit den, if you must know, to purchase drugs from violent, dissolute reprobates. They may clap eyes on you and decide to sell you."
"Wouldn't you stop them?"
"I suppose it would depend on how much they would give me."
"I know that he did deplorable things," she said. "But you should be allowed to mourn him nonetheless. No one can take your grief from you; it belongs to you, and you alone."
"Charlotte!" He seemed astonished, if thrilled to see her; only Henry, Charlotte thought dryly, would be astonished to see his own wife in their own home.
"If Jem dies, I cannot be with Tessa," said Will. "Because it will be as if I were waiting for him to die, or took some joy in his death, if it let me have her. And I will not be that person. I will not profit from his death. So he must live." He lowered his arm, his sleeve bloody. "It is the only way any of this can ever mean anything. Otherwise it is only-"
"Pointless, needless suffering and pain? I don't suppose it would help if I told you that is the way life is. The good suffer, the evil flourish, and all that is mortal passes away."
"I can't wear this, Magnus. It's too pretty for a man."
"So are you. Go home and clean yourself up. I will call upon you as soon as I have information." He looked at Will keenly. "In the meantime do your best to be worthy of my assistance."
"One can love two children. But your heart can be given in romantic love to only a single other," said Woolsey. "That is the nature of Eros, is it not? So novels would tell us, though I have not experience of it myself."
"I have come to understand something about novels," Tessa said.
"And what is that?"
"That they are not true."
"A heart divided against itself cannot stand, as they say. You love them both, and it tears you apart."
"House," said Tessa.
He raised an eyebrow. "What was that?"
"A house divided against itself cannot stand. Not a heart. Perhaps you should not attempt quotations if you cannot get them correct."
"And maybe you should stop pitying yourself," he said. "Most people are lucky to have even one great love in their life. You have found two."
"Says the man who has none."
"Did she mention that her father had eaten her husband?" Henry enquired, finally looking up from his newspaper. "Oh, yes. Ate him. Left his bloody boot in the garden for us to find. There were teeth marks. Love to know how that could have been an accident."
"I would think that counted as offering resistance," Will said. "Eating one's son-in-law, that is. Though I suppose everyone has their family altercations."
She was the case of Jem's yin fen being gone, and Will's misery. When she had whirled and run out of the room, it had been because she could not stand it any longer. How could three people who cared for one another so much cause one another so much pain?
"...Our hearts, they need a mirror, Tessa. We see our better selves in the eyes of those who love us. And there is a beauty that brevity alone provides."
Sometimes one must choose whether to be kind or honourable, Will had said to her. Sometimes one cannot be both.
"Tessa and I are going to get married," he said, very calmly, draping his napkin over his lap.
"Is this meant to be a surprise?" asked Gabriel who was dressed in gear as if he intended to train after breakfast. He had already taken all the bacon from the serving platter, and Henry was looking at him mournfully. "Aren't you engaged already?"
"Herondales. As stubborn as rocks. I remember when your father wanted to marry your mother. Nothing would dissuade him, though she was not candidate for Ascension. I had hopes for more amenability in his children."
"You'll forgive my sister and myself if we do not agree," said Will, "considering that if my father had been more amenable, as you say, we would not exist."
Magnus stood looking down at Jem. There was sadness etched on his face, that face that was usually so merry or sardonic or uncaring, a sadness that surprised Will. "For whence had that former sorrow so easily penetrated to the quick, but that I had poured out my soul upon the dust, in loving one who must die?" Magnus said.
"You asked me how I, being immortal, survive so many deaths. There is no great secret. You endure what is unbearable, and you bear it. That is all."
Numbly Will closed his hands around Jem's. He imagined he could feel a flicker of pain in the parabatai rune on his chest, as if it knew what he did not and was warning him of coming pain, a pain so great he did not imagine he could bear it and live. Jem is my great sin, he had told Magnus, and this now, was the punishment for it. He had thought losing Tessa was his penance; he had not thought of how it would be when he had lost both of them.
"The world is a wheel," he said. "When we rise or fall, we do it together."
Will tightened his grip on Jem's hand. "Well, then," he said, through a tight throad, "since you say there will be another life for me, let us both pray I do not make a colossal mess of it as I have this one."
Cecily sighed. "Don't be so dramatic, Will. Must you always insist that people hate you when they obviously don't?"
"I am dramatic," said Will. "If I had not been a Shadowhunter, I would have had a future on the stage. I have no doubt I would have been greeted with acclaim."
Henry, who was wearing two pairs of goggles at the same time- one on his head and one over his eyes- looked both pleased and nervous to be asked. (Magnus presumed the two pairs of goggles was a fit of absentmindedness, but in case it was in pursuit of fashion, he decided not to ask.)
"You are a Lightwood," Cecily said. "You stayed because you were loyal to your family name. It is not cowardice."
"Wasn't it? Is loyalty still commendable quality when it is misdirected?"
"...I think when we make choices- for each choice is individual of the choices we have made before- we must examine not only our reasons for making them but what result they will have, and whether good people will be hurt by our decisions."
Did they really think they could hurt him, after what he had lost? For five years it had been his absolute truth. Jem and Will. Will and Jem. Will Herondale lives, therefore Jem Carstairs lives also. Quod erat demonstrandum. To lose an arm or a leg would be painful, he imagined, but to lose the central truth of your life felt-fatal.
He drew his arm away and gazed at it before huffing out a laugh. "Not my blood," he said. "I was in a fight, earlier. He took objection-"
"Took objection to what?"
"To my cutting off all his fingers and then slitting his throat," said Starkweather, meeting her eyes. His own were gray-black, the color of stone.
My enemies. She thought of Nate, his hand closing on hers as he died, bloody, in her lap. She thought of Jem again, the way he never railed against his fate but faced it down bravely; she thought of Charlotte, who wept over Jessamine's death, though Jessie had betrayed her; and she thought of Will, who had laid down his heart for her and Jem to walk upon because he loved them more than he loved himself.
"Can you hear them?" she demanded. "Oh that is not at all fair!"
"It's all very romantic," Gabriel said, and then frowned. "Or it would be, if my brother could get a word out without sounding like a choking frog. I fear he will not go down in history as one of the world's great wooers of women."
"Will!" She caught at his arm. "Don't you dare apologize. Do you understand what it means to me that you are here? It is like a miracle or the direct intervention of Heaven, for I had been praying to see the faces of those I cared for again before I died." She spoke simply, straightforwardly- it was one of the things he had always loved about Tessa, that she did not hide or dissemble, but spoke her mind without embellishment.
"You found me in the end; that is what matters."
"Of course I found you. I promised Jem I would find you," he said. "Some promises cannot be broken."
Distantly she knew that she should not let herself be held like this by any boy who was not her brother or fiancé- but her brother and her fiancé were both dead, and tomorrow Mortmain would find them and punish them both. She could not bring herself, in the face of all that, to care much about propriety.
"I loved Jem," she said. "I love him still, and he loved me, but I am not anybody's, Will. My heart is my own. It is beyond you to control it. It has been beyond me to control it."
"Well, I think Henry and Magnus should go first," Gabriel said. "They invented the blasted thing."
Everyone turned on him. "It's like he's replaced Will," said Gideon, eyebrows up. "They say all the same sort of things."
"I am not like Will" Gabriel snapped.
"I should hope not," said Cecily.
"Oh for goodness' sake," Henry said irritably, pushing up the ink-stained sleeves of his dressing gown." Can't you read something less depressing? Something with a good battle in it."
"It's Tennyson," said Will, sliding his feet off the ottoman near the fire.
Silently he cursed himself. He remembered his father once saying that women, the gentler sex, liked to be wooed with charming words and pithy phrases. He wasn't sure exactly what a pithy phrase was, but he was sure that "You seem to like that horse very much" was not one.
"Tess," he whispered . "Hell is cold. Do you remember when you told me that? We were in the cellars of the Dark House. Anyone else would have been panicking, but you were as calm as a governess, telling me Hell was covered in ice. If it is the fire of Heaven that takes you from me, what a cruel irony that would be."
He thought of Sydney Carton. Think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you. Yes, he would have done that for Tessa- died to keep the ones she needed beside her- and so would Jem have done that for him or for Tessa, and so would Tessa, he thought, do that for both of them. It was a near incomprehensible tangle, the three of them, but there was one certainty, and that was that there was no lack of love between them.
Some secrets, she thought, were better told; some were better left the burden of the carrier, that they might not cause pain to others. It was why she had not told Will she loved him, when there was nothing either of them could do about it.
Ave atque vale, Will thought. Hail and farewell. He had not given much thought to the words before, had never thought about why there were not just a farewell but also a greeting. Every meeting led to a parting, and so it would, as long as life was mortal. In every meeting there was some of the sorrow of parting, but in every parting there was some of the joy of meeting as well.
He would not forget the joy.