Danger and betrayal, love and loss, secrets and enchantment are woven together in the breathtaking finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.
If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?
The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.
Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.
Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.
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Read an Excerpt
Marry on Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best day of all,
Thursday for crosses,
Friday for losses, and
Saturday for no luck at all.
“December is a fortuitous time for a marriage,” said the seamstress, speaking around her mouthful of pins with the ease of years of practice. “As they say, ‘When December snows fall fast, marry, and true love will last.’ ” She placed a final pin in the gown and took a step back. “There. What do you think? It is modeled after one of Worth’s own designs.”
Tessa looked at her reflection in the pier glass in her bedroom. The dress was a deep gold silk, as was the custom for Shadowhunters, who believed white to be the color of mourning, and would not marry in it, despite Queen Victoria herself having set the fashion for doing just that. Duchesse lace edged the tightly fitted bodice and dripped from the sleeves.
“It’s lovely!” Charlotte clapped her hands together and leaned forward. Her brown eyes shone with delight. “Tessa, the color looks so fine on you.”
Tessa turned and twisted in front of the mirror. The gold put some much-needed color into her cheeks. The hourglass corset shaped and curved her everywhere it was supposed to, and the clockwork angel around her throat comforted her with its ticking. Below it dangled the jade pendant that Jem had given her. She had lengthened the chain so she could wear them both at once, not being willing to part with either. “You don’t think, perhaps, that the lace is a trifle too much adornment?”
“Not at all!” Charlotte sat back, one hand resting protectively, unconsciously, over her belly. She had always been too slim—skinny, in truth—to really need a corset, and now that she was going to have a child, she had taken to wearing tea gowns, in which she looked like a little bird. “It is your wedding day, Tessa. If there is ever an excuse for excessive adornment, it is that. Just imagine it.”
Tessa had spent many nights doing just that. She was not yet sure where she and Jem would be married, for the Council was still deliberating their situation. But when she imagined the wedding, it was always in a church, with her being marched down the aisle, perhaps on Henry’s arm, looking neither to the left or right but straight ahead at her betrothed, as a proper bride should. Jem would be wearing gear—not the sort one fought in, but specially designed, in the manner of a military uniform, for the occasion: black with bands of gold at the wrists, and gold runes picked out along the collar and placket.
He would look so young. They were both so young. Tessa knew it was unusual to marry at seventeen and eighteen, but they were racing a clock.
The clock of Jem’s life, before it wound down.
She put her hand to her throat, and felt the familiar vibration of her clockwork angel, its wings scratching her palm. The seamstress looked up at her anxiously. She was mundane, not Nephilim, but had the Sight, as all who served the Shadowhunters did. “Would you like the lace removed, miss?”
Before Tessa could answer, there was a knock at the door, and a familiar voice. “It’s Jem. Tessa, are you there?”
Charlotte sat bolt upright. “Oh! He mustn’t see you in your dress!”
Tessa stood dumbfounded. “Whyever not?”
“It’s a Shadowhunter custom—bad luck!” Charlotte rose to her feet. “Quickly! Hide behind the wardrobe!”
“The wardrobe? But—” Tessa broke off with a yelp as Charlotte seized her about the waist and frog-marched her behind the wardrobe like a policeman with a particularly resistant criminal. Released, Tessa dusted off her dress and made a face at Charlotte, and they both peeked around the side of the furniture as the seamstress, after a bewildered look, opened the door.
Jem’s silvery head appeared in the gap. He looked a bit disheveled, his jacket askew. He glanced around in puzzlement before his gaze lighted on Charlotte and Tessa, half-concealed behind the wardrobe. “Thank goodness,” he said. “I’d no idea where any of you had gone. Gabriel Lightwood’s downstairs, and he’s making the most dreadful row.”
“Write to them, Will,” said Cecily Herondale. “Please. Just one letter.”
Will tossed his sweat-soaked dark hair back and glared at her. “Get your feet into position,” was all he said. He pointed, with the tip of his dagger. “There, and there.”
Cecily sighed, and moved her feet. She had known she was out of position; she’d been doing it intentionally, to needle Will. It was easy to needle her brother. That much she remembered about him from when he was twelve years old. Even then daring him to do something, like climb the steeply pitched roof of their manor house, had resulted in the same thing: an angry blue flame in his eyes, a set jaw, and sometimes Will with a broken leg or arm at the end of it.
Of course this brother, the nearly adult Will, was not the brother she remembered from her childhood. He had grown both more explosive and more withdrawn. He had all their mother’s beauty, and all their father’s stubbornness—and, she feared, their father’s propensity for vices, though she had guessed that only from whispers among the occupants of the Institute.
“Raise your blade,” Will said. His voice was as cool and professional as her governess’s.
Cecily raised it. It had taken her some time to get used to the feel of gear against her skin: the loose tunic and trousers, the belt around her waist. Now she moved in it as comfortably as she had ever moved in the loosest nightgown. “I don’t understand why you won’t consider writing a letter. A single letter.”
“I don’t understand why you won’t consider going home,” Will said. “If you would just agree to return to Yorkshire yourself, you could stop worrying about our parents and I could arrange—”
Cecily interrupted him, having heard this speech a thousand times. “Would you consider a wager, Will?”
Cecily was both pleased and a little disappointed to see Will’s eyes spark, just the way her father’s always did when a gentleman’s bet was suggested. Men were so easy to predict.
“What sort of a wager?” Will took a step forward. He was wearing gear; Cecily could see the Marks that twined his wrists, the mnemosyne rune on his throat. It had taken her some time to see the Marks as something other than disfiguring, but she was used to them now—as she had grown used to the gear, to the great echoing halls of the Institute, and to its peculiar denizens.
She pointed at the wall in front of them. An ancient target had been painted on the wall in black: a bull’s-eye inside a larger circle. “If I hit the center of that three times, you have to write a letter to Dad and Mam and tell them how you are. You must tell them of the curse and why you left.”
Will’s face closed like a door, the way it always did when she made this request. But, “You’ll never hit it three times without missing, Cecy.”
“Well, then it should be no great concern to you to make the bet, William.” She used his full name purposefully. She knew it bothered him, coming from her, though when his best friend—no, his parabatai; she had learned since coming to the Institute that these were quite different things—Jem did it, Will seemed to take it as a term of affection. Possibly it was because he still had memories of her toddling after him on chubby legs, calling Will, Will, after him in breathless Welsh. She had never called him “William,” only ever “Will” or his Welsh name, Gwilym.
His eyes narrowed, those dark blue eyes the same color as her own. When their mother had said affectionately that Will would be a breaker of hearts when he was grown, Cecily had always looked at her dubiously. Will had been all arms and legs then, skinny and disheveled and always dirty. She could see it now, though, had seen it when she had first walked into the dining room of the Institute and he had stood up in astonishment, and she had thought: That can’t be Will.
He had turned those eyes on her, her mother’s eyes, and she had seen the anger in them. He had not been pleased to see her, not at all. And where in her memories there had been a skinny boy with a wild tangle of black hair like a Gypsy’s and leaves in his clothes, there was now this tall, frightening man instead. The words she had wanted to say had dissolved on her tongue, and she had matched him, glare for glare. And so it had been since, Will barely enduring her presence as if she were a stone in his shoe, a constant but minor annoyance.
Cecily took a deep breath, raised her chin, and prepared to throw the first knife. Will did not know, would never know, of the hours she had spent in this room, alone, practicing, learning to balance the weight of the knife in her hand, discovering that a good knife throw began from behind the body. She held both arms straight down and drew her right arm back, behind her head, before bringing it, and the weight of her body, forward. The tip of the knife was in line with the target. She released it and snapped her hand back, sucking in a gasp.
The knife stuck, point-down in the wall, exactly in the center of the target.
“One,” Cecily said, giving Will a superior smile.
He looked at her stonily, yanked the knife from the wall, and handed it to her again.
Cecily threw it. The second throw, like the first, flew directly to its target and stuck there, vibrating like a mocking finger.
“Two,” Cecily said in a sepulchral tone.
Will’s jaw set as he took the knife again and presented it to her. She took it with a smile. Confidence was flowing through her veins like new blood. She knew she could do this. She had always been able to climb as high as Will, run as fast, hold her breath as long. . . .
She threw the knife. It struck its target, and she leaped into the air, clapping her hands, forgetting herself for a moment in the thrill of victory. Her hair came down from its pins and spilled into her face; she pushed it back and grinned at Will. “You shall write that letter. You agreed to the bet!”
To her surprise he smiled at her. “Oh, I will write it,” he said. “I will write it, and then I will throw it into the fire.” He held up a hand against her outburst of indignation. “I said I would write it. I never said I would send it.”
Cecily’s breath went out of her in a gasp. “How dare you trick me like that!”
“I told you that you were not made of Shadowhunter stuff, or you would not be so easily fooled. I am not going to write a letter, Cecy. It’s against the Law, and that’s the end of it.”
“As if you care about the Law!” Cecily stamped her foot, and was immediately more annoyed than ever; she detested girls who stamped their feet.
Will’s eyes narrowed. “And you don’t care about being a Shadowhunter. How is this? I shall write a letter and give it to you if you promise to deliver it home yourself—and not to return.”
Cecily recoiled. She had many memories of shouting matches with Will, of the china dolls she had owned that he had broken by dropping them out an attic window, but there was also kindness in her memories—the brother who had bandaged up a cut knee, or retied her hair ribbons when they had come loose. That kindness was absent from the Will who stood before her now. Mam used to cry for the first year or two after Will went; she had said, holding Cecily to her, that the Shadowhunters would “take all the love out of him.” A cold people, she had told Cecily, a people who had forbidden her marriage to her husband. What could he want with them, her Will, her little one?
“I will not go,” Cecily said, staring her brother down. “And if you insist that I must, I will—I will—”
The door of the attic slid open, and Jem stood silhouetted in the doorway. “Ah,” he said, “threatening each other, I see. Has this been going on all afternoon, or did it just begin?”
“He began it,” Cecily said, jerking her chin at Will, though she knew it was pointless. Jem, Will’s parabatai, treated her with the distant sweet kindness reserved for the little sisters of one’s friends, but he would always side with Will. Kindly, but firmly, he put Will above everything else in the world.
Well, nearly everything. She had been most struck by Jem when she first came to the Institute—he had an unearthly, unusual beauty, with his silvery hair and eyes and delicate features. He looked like a prince in a fairy-tale book, and she might have considered developing an attachment to him, were it not so absolutely clear that he was entirely in love with Tessa Gray. His eyes followed her where she went, and his voice changed when he spoke to her. Cecily had once heard her mother say in amusement that one of their neighbors’ boys looked at a girl as if she were “the only star in the sky” and that was the way Jem looked at Tessa.
Cecily didn’t resent it: Tessa was pleasant and kind to her, if a little shy, and with her face always stuck in a book, like Will. If that was the sort of girl Jem wanted, she and he never would have suited—and the longer she remained at the Institute, the more she realized how awkward it would have made things with Will. He was ferociously protective of Jem, and he would have watched her constantly in case she ever distressed or hurt him in any way. No—she was far better out of the whole thing.
“I was just thinking of bundling up Cecily and feeding her to the ducks in Hyde Park,” said Will, pushing his wet hair back and favoring Jem with a rare smile. “I could use your assistance.”
“Unfortunately, you may have to delay your plans for sororicide a bit longer. Gabriel Lightwood is downstairs, and I have two words for you. Two of your favorite words, at least when you put them together.”
“ ‘Utter simpleton’?” inquired Will. “ ‘Worthless upstart’?”
Jem grinned. “ ‘Demon pox,’ ” he said.
Sophie balanced the salver on one hand with the ease of long practice while she rapped on Gideon Lightwood’s door with the other.
She heard the sound of a hurried shuffle, and the door swung open. Gideon stood before her in trousers, braces, and a white shirt rolled up to the elbows. His hands were wet, as if he had just run quick fingers through his hair, which was also damp. Her heart took a little leap inside her chest before settling. She forced herself to frown at him.
“Mr. Lightwood,” she said. “I’ve brought the scones you rang for, and Bridget’s made you up a plate of sandwiches as well.”
Gideon took a step back to allow her into the room. It was like all the other rooms in the Institute: heavy dark furniture, a great four-poster bed, a wide fireplace, and high windows, which in this case looked down upon the courtyard below. Sophie could feel his gaze on her as she moved across the room to place the salver on the table before the fire. She straightened up and turned to him, her hands folded in front of her apron.
“Sophie—,” he began.
“Mr. Lightwood,” she interrupted. “Is there anything else you require?”
He looked at her half-mutinously, half-sadly. “I wish you would call me Gideon.”
“I have told you, I cannot call you by your Christian name.”
“I am a Shadowhunter; I do not have a Christian name. Sophie, please.” He took a step toward her. “Before I took up residence in the Institute, I had thought we were well on our way to a friendship. Yet since the day I arrived, you have been cold to me.”
Sophie’s hand went involuntarily to her face. She remembered Master Teddy, the son of her old employer, and the horrible way he would catch her in dark corners and press her up against the wall, hands creeping under her bodice, murmuring in her ear that she had better be friendlier to him, if she knew what was good for her. The thought filled her with sickness, even now.
“Sophie.” Gideon’s eyes crinkled worriedly at the corners. “What is it? If there is some wrong I have done you, some slight, please tell me what it is that I may remedy it—”
“There is no wrong, no slight. You are a gentleman and I am a servant; anything more would be a familiarity. Please do not make me uncomfortable, Mr. Lightwood.”
Gideon, who had half-raised his hand, let it drop to his side. He looked so woebegone that Sophie’s heart softened. I have everything to lose, and he has nothing to lose, she reminded herself. It was what she told herself late at night, lying in her narrow bed, with the memory of a pair of storm-colored eyes hovering in her mind. “I had thought we were friends,” he said.
“I cannot be your friend.”
He took a step forward. “What if I were to ask you—”
“Gideon!” It was Henry, at the open door, breathless, wearing one of his terrible green-and-orange-striped waistcoats. “Your brother’s here. Downstairs—”
Gideon’s eyes widened. “Gabriel’s here?”
“Yes. Shouting something about your father, but he won’t tell us anything more unless you’re there. He swears it. Come along.”
Gideon hesitated, his eyes moving from Henry to Sophie, who tried to look invisible. “I . . .”
“Come now, Gideon.” Henry rarely spoke sharply, and when he did, the effect was startling. “He’s covered in blood.”
Gideon paled, and he reached for the sword that hung on a set of double pegs by his door. “I’m on my way.”
Gabriel Lightwood leaned against the wall inside the Institute doors, his jacket gone, his shirt and trousers drenched in scarlet. Outside, through the open doors, Tessa could see the Lightwood carriage, with its flame blazon on the side, drawn up at the foot of the steps. Gabriel must have driven it here himself.
“Gabriel,” Charlotte said soothingly, as if she were trying to gentle a wild horse. “Gabriel, tell us what happened, please.”
Gabriel—tall and slender, brown hair sticky with blood—scrubbed at his face, wild-eyed. His hands were bloody too. “Where’s my brother? I have to talk to my brother.”
“He’s coming down. I sent Henry to fetch him, and Cyril to ready the Institute’s carriage. Gabriel, are you injured? Do you need an iratze?” Charlotte sounded as motherly as if this boy had never faced her down from behind Benedict Lightwood’s chair, had never conspired with his father to take the Institute away from her.
“That is a great deal of blood,” said Tessa, pushing forward. “Gabriel, it is not all yours, is it?”
Gabriel looked at her. It was the first time, Tessa thought, that she had seen him behave with no posturing at all. There was only stunned fear in his eyes, fear and—confusion. “No. . . . It’s theirs—”
“Theirs? Who are they?” It was Gideon, hurrying down the stairs, a sword in his right hand. Along with him came Henry, and Jem, and behind him, Will and Cecily. Jem paused on the steps in startlement, and Tessa realized that he had caught sight of her in her wedding dress. His eyes widened, but the others were already pushing by, and he was carried down the steps like a leaf in a current.
“Is Father hurt?” Gideon went on, coming to a stop before his brother. “Are you?” He put his hand up and took his brother’s face, his hand cupping Gabriel’s chin and turning it toward him. Though Gabriel was taller, the look of a younger sibling was clear in his face—relief that his brother was there, and a flicker of resentment at his peremptory tone.
“Father. . .,” Gabriel began. “Father is a worm.”
Will gave a short laugh. He was in gear as if he had just come from the practice room, and his hair curled damply against his temples. He was not looking at Tessa, but she had grown used to that. Will hardly ever looked at her unless he had to. “It’s good to see you’ve come round to our view of things, Gabriel, but this is an unusual way of announcing it.”
Gideon shot Will a reproachful look before turning back to his brother. “What do you mean, Gabriel? What did Father do?”
Gabriel shook his head. “He’s a worm,” he said again, tonelessly.
“I know. He has brought shame on the name of Lightwood, and lied to both of us. He shamed and destroyed our mother. But we need not be like him.”
Gabriel pulled away from his brother’s grip, his teeth suddenly flashing in an angry scowl. “You’re not listening to me,” he said. “He’s a worm. A worm. A bloody great serpentlike thing. Since Mortmain stopped sending the medicine, he’s been getting worse. Changing. Those sores upon his arms, they started to cover him. His hands, his neck, h-his face . . .” Gabriel’s green eyes sought Will. “It was the pox, wasn’t it? You know all about it, don’t you? Aren’t you some sort of expert?”
“Well, you needn’t act as if I invented it,” said Will. “Just because I believed it existed. There are accounts of it—old stories in the library—”
“Demon pox?” said Cecily, her face screwed up in confusion. “Will, what is he talking about?”
Will opened his mouth, and flushed faintly across his cheekbones. Tessa hid a smile. It had been weeks since Cecily had come to the Institute, and still her presence bothered and upset Will. He did not seem to know how to behave around this younger sister, who was not the child he remembered, and whose presence he insisted was unwelcome. And yet Tessa had seen him follow Cecily around a room with his eyes, with the same protective love in his gaze that he sometimes bent on Jem. Certainly the existence of demon pox, and how one acquired it, was the last thing he would want to explain to Cecily. “Nothing you need know about,” he muttered.
Gabriel’s eyes went to Cecily, and his lips parted in surprise. Tessa could see him taking Cecily in. Will’s parents must both have been very beautiful, Tessa thought, for Cecily was as pretty as Will was handsome, and with the same gleaming black hair and startling dark blue eyes. Cecily gazed boldly back at him, her expression curious; she must have been wondering who this boy was, who seemed to so dislike her brother.
“Is Father dead?” Gideon demanded, his voice rising. “Has the demon pox killed him?”
“Not killed,” said Gabriel. “Changed. It has changed him. Some weeks ago he moved our household to Chiswick. He would not say why. Then a few days ago he locked himself in his study. He wouldn’t come out, not even to eat. This morning I went to the study to try to rouse him. The door had been torn off its hinges. There was a . . . a trail of some slimy stuff leading down the hall. I followed it downstairs and into the gardens.” He looked around the now silent entryway. “He has become a worm. That is what I am telling you.”
“I don’t suppose it would be possible,” said Henry into the silence, “to, er, step on him?”
Gabriel looked at him in disgust. “I searched around the gardens. I found some of the servants. And when I say ‘I found’ some of them, I mean exactly what I say. They had been torn into—into pieces.” He swallowed and looked down at his bloody clothes. “I heard a sound—a high-pitched howling noise. I turned and saw it coming toward me. A great blind worm like a dragon out of a legend. Its mouth was open wide, lined with dagger teeth. I turned and ran for the stables. It slithered after me, but I leaped upon the carriage and drove it out through the gates. The creature—Father—did not follow. I think it fears to be seen by the general populace.”
“Ah,” said Henry. “Too big to be stepped on, then.”
“I shouldn’t have run,” said Gabriel, looking at his brother. “I should have stood and fought the creature. Maybe it could be reasoned with. Maybe Father is in there somewhere.”
“And maybe it would have bitten you in half,” said Will. “What you are describing, the transformation into a demon, is the last stage of the pox.”
“Will!” Charlotte threw up her hands. “Why didn’t you say so?”
“You know, the books on demon pox are in the library,” Will said with an injured tone. “I wasn’t preventing anyone from reading them.”
“Yes, but if Benedict was going to turn into an enormous serpent, you’d think you could at least have mentioned it,” said Charlotte. “As a matter of general interest.”
“First,” said Will, “I didn’t know he was going to turn into a gigantic worm. The end stage of demon pox is turning into a demon. It could have been any sort. Second, it takes weeks for the transformation process to occur. I would have thought even a certified idiot like Gabriel here would have taken account of it and notified someone.”
“Notified who?” asked Jem, not unreasonably. He had moved closer to Tessa as the conversation had continued. As they stood side by side, the backs of their hands brushed.
“The Clave. The postman. Us. Anyone,” said Will, shooting an irritated look at Gabriel, who was starting to get some color back and looked furious.
“I am not a certified idiot—”
“Lack of certification hardly proves intelligence,” Will muttered.
“And as I told you, Father locked himself in his study for the past week—”
“And you didn’t think to take any special notice of that?” said Will.
“You don’t know our father,” said Gideon in the flat tone of voice he used sometimes when conversation about his family was inescapable. He turned back to his brother and put his hands on Gabriel’s shoulders, speaking quietly, in measured tones none of them could hear.
Jem, beside Tessa, hooked his smallest finger through hers. It was a habitual affectionate gesture, one that Tessa had grown used to over the past months, enough that she sometimes put out her hand without thinking when he was standing by her. “Is that your wedding dress?” he asked under his breath.
Tessa was saved answering by the appearance of Bridget, carrying gear, and Gideon suddenly turning to the rest of them and saying, “Chiswick. We must go. Gabriel and I, if no one else.”
“Go alone?” Tessa said, startled enough to speak out of turn. “But why would you not call upon others to come with you—”
“The Clave,” said Will, his blue eyes keen. “He doesn’t want the Clave to know about his father.”
“Would you?” said Gabriel hotly. “If it were your family?” His lip curled. “Never mind. It’s not as if you know the meaning of loyalty—”
“Gabriel.” Gideon’s voice was a reprimand. “Do not speak to Will in that manner.”
Gabriel looked surprised, and Tessa could hardly blame him. Gideon knew of Will’s curse, of the belief that had caused his hostility and his abrupt manners, as all in the Institute did, but the story was private to them, and none outside had been told of it.
“We will come with you. Of course we will come with you,” said Jem, releasing Tessa’s hand and stepping forward. “Gideon did us a service. We have not forgotten, have we, Charlotte?”
“Of course not,” said Charlotte, turning. “Bridget, the gear—”
“I am conveniently already in gear,” said Will as Henry shucked off his coat and traded it for a gear jacket and a weapons belt; Jem did the same, and suddenly the entryway was full of motion—Charlotte speaking quietly to Henry, her hand hovering just above her stomach. Tessa looked away from the private moment and saw a dark head bent with a fair one. Jem was at Will’s side with his stele drawn, tracing a rune on the side of Will’s throat. Cecily looked at her brother and scowled.
“I, too, am conveniently already in gear,” she announced.
Will jerked his head up, causing Jem to make a sound of annoyed protest. “Cecily, absolutely not.”
“You have no right to tell me yes or no.” Her eyes flashed. “I am going.”
Will jerked his head toward Henry, who shrugged apologetically. “She does have the right. She has trained for nearly two months—”
“She’s a little girl!”
“You were doing the same at fifteen,” said Jem quietly, and Will spun back toward him. For a moment everyone seemed to hold their breath, even Gabriel. Jem’s gaze held Will’s, steadily, and not for the first time Tessa had the sense of unspoken words passing between them.
Will sighed and half-closed his eyes. “Tessa will be wanting to come next.”
“Of course I am coming,” Tessa said. “I may not be a Shadowhunter, but I too have trained. Jem is not going without me.”
“You are in your wedding dress,” Will protested.
“Well, now that you’ve all seen it, I can’t possibly wear it to be married in,” said Tessa. “Bad luck, you know.”
Will groaned something in Welsh—unintelligible, but clearly the tone of a man defeated. Across the room Jem cast Tessa a slight, worried smile. The Institute door swung open then, letting a blaze of autumn sunlight into the entryway. Cyril stood on the threshold, breathless.
“The second carriage is now ready,” he said. “Who’ll be coming, then?”
To: Consul Josiah Wayland
From: The Council
As you are doubtless aware, your term of service as Consul, after ten years, is coming to an end. The time has come to appoint a successor.
As for ourselves, we are giving serious consideration to the appointment of Charlotte Branwell, née Fairchild. She has done good work as the head of the London Institute, and we believe her to have your stamp of approval, as she was appointed by you after the death of her father.
As your opinion and esteem are to us of the highest value, we would appreciate any thoughts that you might have on the matter.
Yours with the highest regards,
Victor Whitelaw, Inquisitor, on behalf of the Council
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group Guide to Clockwork Princess By Cassandra Clare About this Book Great things are afoot at the London Institute. Tessa and Jem are preparing for their wedding. Charlotte and Henry are expecting a baby. Cecily Herondale and Gideon Lightwood have joined the Institute’s ranks. Jessamine is coming home. And no longer believing himself to be cursed, Will can finally open his heart to love. But despite the causes for celebration, everyone is weighed down by a sense of pervasive gloom. Mortmain is still out there somewhere, biding his time before he strikes again, Consul Wayland is undermining Charlotte’s leadership, and Tessa knows that her happiness with Jem comes with a price—Will’s heart. When Mortmain’s clockwork automatons attack the Institute, leaving behind injury and confusion and death, the Shadowhunters must fight for everything they’ve ever believed in or held dear. Tessa and her friends must find Mortmain and stop him, or risk losing Jem, the Institute, their lives . . . and even the world as they know it. Discussion Questions 1. Cassandra Clare begins the book with a stanza from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “In Memoriam A.H.H.” What is this poem about? In what ways does the overarching message of this poem fit with the events and themes of Clockwork Princess? 2. When Jem and Will first meet as boys of twelve, Jem tells Will not to “be ordinary like that. Don’t say you’re sorry.” Is either boy ordinary? What is it about their circumstances that allow them to connect with each other? Does their relationship change over the years? 3. Why does Cecily originally come to London? Do her reasons change as she spends time at the Institute? How does her presence make Will feel? Which other characters are dealing with complications caused by their sibling relationships? 4. As he goes mad, Benedict Lightwood writes a message on the walls of his study. What does this message mean to Tessa and her friends? Why do you think Lightwood wrote it? Where else in Clare’s Shadowhunter mythology do we hear about “writing on the wall”? Does Lightwood’s message echo the meaning of this other writing? 5. Do you agree with Will’s statement that sometimes you must choose between being kind and being honorable? Which characters are faced with this choice? Do they decide to be kind or honorable? 6. Tessa feels tragedy closing in on her friends as though they are characters in a book. Why is this analogy an apt one? Does she have the ability to change the course of events, or is she as powerless to change their fates as she is to change the plot of a book? 7. Why does Consul Wayland exert so much effort discrediting Charlotte and removing her from power? Is he motivated by self-interest, or by what’s best for the Clave? Does Charlotte exhibit any of the character flaws that Wayland claims she has? 8. What legacy did Benedict Lightwood leave behind for his sons? Do Gideon and Gabriel deserve this legacy? Why does Gabriel have such trouble finding his place at the London Institute? 9. Why is Will willing to give up everything in order to save Jem? What does he stand to lose if Jem dies? How does Tessa figure into his dedication to saving Jem? 10. Chapter Seven opens with a quote from Augusta, Lady Gregory. What happens in this chapter that makes this quote particularly fitting? Do you think Tessa or any of the Shadowhunters would wish that the two groups hadn’t met? 11. If Jessamine hadn’t been killed in the automaton attack, do you think she would have been able to fit in again at the Institute? Why didn’t she pass over? Why do you think she didn’t want anyone but Will to know she was there? 12. What is Tessa’s “origin story”? How does knowing it change how she feels about herself? How does it change how she is viewed by the other people in her life? 13. What is different about Mortmain’s newest batch of automatons? Why are the Shadowhunters so ill-equipped to fight them? What does Mortmain hope to achieve by creating these Infernal Devices, and why is it so important to him? 14. From where did Tessa’s clockwork angel come? What was it meant to do? How was Tessa changed by becoming the angel? 15. What does Jem gain by becoming a Silent Brother, and what does he lose? What keeps him tethered to his former life and keeps him from being like the other Silent Brothers? Is this new life better for him—and for Will and Tessa—than if he had died? 16. Tessa has two great loves in her life. Would you make the same choices in regards to them as she does? How do Will and Jem feel, knowing that she loves them both? Does Tessa lose anything for having loved the two of them? 17. How does Tessa feel about her immortality? Are there any benefits to it? How do the other characters view her immortality? Activities 1. Mortmain is constantly changing the forms and designs of his automatons, in an attempt to make machines that will efficiently achieve his ends. Design a robot that can do a specific task for you. Draw your robot, or go the extra step and build it. 2. Will often compares Tessa to Boadicea. Research this historical figure and write an essay explaining who she was and why Will thought Tessa was like her. 3. The struggles between Charlotte and Consul Wayland were political in nature, with each one attempting to convince the greatest number of people of the value of their position. Throw your hat into the political arena. Choose a cause or a candidate that you can believe in and campaign on their behalf. Or run for office at your school, and see if you have what it takes to be a politician. 4. With Cecily at the London Institute, Will has a constant reminder of his Welsh background. Look into the history of Wales, or read a travel book about it. Perhaps you can learn a phrase or two in Welsh! 5. Will’s harrowing horseback ride to Wales plays an important part in the story. Find someplace in your community where you can go horseback riding, and get a taste of Will’s equine adventure. 6. Gideon infuriates Sophie by requesting that she bring him scones every night and then hiding them under his bed. Find a scone recipe and make a batch for your family. They will probably not hide the treats under their beds! 7. If she had lived, it might have been difficult for Jessamine to return to her life at the Institute after all that she had done to her friends and all that she had seen at the Silent City. Is there a program in your community to help kids who have been in juvenile detention situations to transition back into their schools and lives? If there is, see if you can volunteer in any way. If there isn’t, see if you can work with your classmates and other groups in the community to get such a program started. Guide written by Cory Grimminck, Director of the Portland District Library in Michigan. This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
First reason I love this book: is that you can actually see and sense the growth that many of these characters go through in the book. Cassandra Clare wonderfully iterates the growth these characters go through without making it mundanely repetitive. The second reason I love this book: Cassandra Clare takes her time in finalizing the story arc of the characters. There are times when you read a book and it's a wonderful book, and when you get to the end of it, you still have many questions that not even the epilogue answers. With Cassandra, for the most part, she didn't try to quash what she knows about what happens to the characters after the "big" scene into a few pages at the end. She really expands and explores the relationships and gives the readers substance they can sink their teeth into. Sure, there might still be questions after the end of the book, but not so much that it leaves you trying to come up with your own answers as to what happens to who. The third reason I love this book: The relationships. Many are spent wondering, including myself, who Tessa will end up with. And her relationship with both Will and Jem are explored quite generously. Some may dislike Tessa for not being able to make up her mind, and you good and well have that right to feel that way, but I did feel that Tessa felt equal love for both Will and Jem. But that was only the half of it. And there are the other relationships that are explored as well that are really hopeful and cute and romantic in a way that a romantic film can make your heart aflutter. But it's the other half that really sets this book apart from many others - the relationship between Will and Jem. There are brothers, and there are best friends, and there are parabatai, and then there is the Parabatai. Will and Jem are the Parabatai. To be able to give of each other so completely so that the other may live and be happy, to sacrifice their own happiness and their own life, it goes beyond the confines of even being parabatai, I think. And Cassandra Clare writes their love so amazingly beautiful that it's a wonder if you don't have your heart broken several times by the end of the book just from their love for each other. I adore the fact that she doesn't make the boys feel awkward even about stating their love for each other. Having said that, I will say that there is action involved - quite a few battle scenes and some heart-stopping moments, but ultimately, the highlight is the intimacy of the relationships that make this book tops. I felt so much more entwined with this group of people than those of the Mortal Instruments series, and I'm not saying that the characters in the Mortal Instruments series are not every bit as interesting to know as those in this, but there is definitely something more personable, more intimate, to these characters of The Infernal Devices, this little group of the London Institute, including Church. Cassandra Clare has done a fine job in embedding these characters into my mind and my heart as if they were real people. She is definitely a master at creating heart-stopping moments in both the action sequences as well the more subdued sequences. Cassie sets the tone impeccably for each moment, whether it be a romantic interlude, a battle of words, or a heartrending, especially a heartrending, scene that threatens to pull you to pieces, and I appreciate her writing all the more for it. I hope you will, too.
This book was like an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end and at times I wanted off if only so I could get a better grip on my feels before continuing. I've been Team Will from the start and while I enjoyed Jem, his relationship with Tessa never felt as true or passionate as the one she shared with Will which was immediate, intense and palpable. I had to resist the urge to flip to the back of the book to see who Tessa ended up with and was completely unaware of the family tree that was hiding beneath the cover of the book until someone mentioned it to me. However, even looking at that early, while somewhat spoilery, doesn't give you the whole picture until you've come to the end of the book. What I loved: I really enjoyed getting to know the other characters more, like Gideon and Gabriel Lightwood, Sophie and Cecily and it really does help paint a broader picture for The Mortal Instruments series. The world building was detailed as always and a few plot twists I didn't see coming kept me on my toes. This is told from multiple POV's and blends together so seamlessly that it prevents any breaks or halts in the story. What left me wanting: I am usually a HUGE fan of Epilogues and this one had me crying all the tears until about midway, at which point it felt like an appeasement which was disappointing to me. I want to explain what I mean but to do so would be a HUGE spoiler and I don't want to ruin it for anyone. (*I realize I may in the minority here but that's okay.) Final verdict: Excellent addition to both The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments series! Favorite quote(s): "Are those scones under your bed?" "She was forever asking questions; leave her alone in a room, and she'd begin asking questions of the furniture and plants." "All Lightwoods look the same to me---" "For this I would have been damned forever. For this I would have given up everything." <-- By the Angel! "Dw i'n dy garu di am byth," he said. "I love you. Always."
It was magnificent! Purely amazing! Heartbreaking and romantic! This was, by far, the best ending to a trilogy I have ever read. And it had surprises and plot twists on every page! I cried while I read the final chapters, and then cheered/wept during the epilouge because I was so sad but happy and then joyful for what had happened and then depressed because it was the end of the series... Bless you Cassandra Clare!
Ugh! I cant wait!!!!!! I really hope tess chose will!!!
Okay, I have to admit it- I love this series more than the original. This wouldn't be true if the Mortal Instruments had been cut at the third book, but these last few make it seem like Clare just doesn't want to let go of the Clary and Jace storyline (granted, neither would I if I even had an ounce of her writing talent). But that has nothing to do with this, so on to the review. If you have enjoyed the others, the last installment will blow you away. I harbor (almost) no complaints! It ended how I dreamed it would, but how it got there is another case entirely. I doubt anyone can predict what happens in this book, yet Clare spins the story in a way to which it isn't unbelievable. My only complaint is the epilogue. I won't go into details, but it seemed to me like she was trying to appeal to both sides of her fan base. It effectively made me cry out in frustration and knocked it down to a four star instead of what SHOULD be a five star. When I read this again, which will probably happen soon, I think I'll skip the epilogue. That would make me much more content. All in all, Clare has outdone my expectations and herself.
I have read a lot of books, and I have to say that this series is my favorite of all time. It is not just the characters, which are excellently written, but the arc of the story and the depth of emotion. I first picked up Clockwork Angel on a whim, and devoured it within hours. At first I was drawn to Will, the bright, blue-eyed boy, quick-witted and reckless. His tongue was sharp, yet he was lovable. Jem was a bit different, a pale and dying friend, beautiful in his own way and with music that triumphed over words. And then there was Tessa, a girl who was tortured and struggled to find the inner strength to fight The Magister while discovering what she really was. These characters leapt and grew, forming themselves into three-dimensional people in a shadowy Victorian London backdrop. I couldn't put it down. In Clockwork Prince, the story magnified. We followed Will on his journey to fight his own demon--quite literally--and rooted for him all the way. And all the while, Jem and Tessa's relationship grew. They were fast friends, keeping Will in line and waging the war on automatons. Then, around page 200, I made a startling discovery; I too had fallen for Jem. When had that happened? It had always been sharp-tongued Will, with his knowledge of literature! And I found myself in a conundrum. Which boy would Tessa choose? The end tore me apart, and the burn Tessa inflicted upon herself fitting punishment for dividing the parabatai in such a way. At last Clockwork Princess came out, and I found myself reading it slowly, dreading the ending that I knew must be coming, for surely Jem and Tessa and Will could not all exist on the same plane for much longer. Most of my predictions were accurate, and the tears flowed freely throughout. I watched the characters come full circle, and finally understood that brash Will was really a scared little boy inside. He depended on Jem as the only family he had, and to lose him left him more broken than the last book. It was silent, almost shy Jem who was the quiet strength in the relationship, that beautiful friendship known as parabatai. And Tessa knew she must be strong for Will, her first love. Many people have stated a problem with the epilogue, but I found it fitting. Tessa is destined to live on, and as Magnus said, Most people are lucky to have even one great love in their life. You have found two. But these two loves could not exist together. This was a tale of sacrifice, which is the ultimate love. And any of the three in the relationship would have sacrificed their self so that the others could have remained together. It was beautifully done, from the Welsh countryside to the Blackfriars Bridge. And as for no one we knew in the story dying, one must remember that this is a prequel; it tells the story of the ancestors, which the jacket attests. Well, done, Cassandra Clare.
I have loved this series from the beginning and so I was counting down the days until Clockwork Princess. The majority of it was well written and filled with the action and romance that have kept me interested since the beginning. I even really enjoyed how it was ended (exactly as I was hoping). That is until I read the epilogue, I'm not going to give anything away, but I will say that I felt like throwing the book across the room.
I'm excited to read the next installment of The Infernal Devices. The series is not only amazing but also a fantastic read. I'm looking forward to reading this book. Not only will Tessa, Jem, and Will be in my heart forever although the series is ending. Though I do wonder who is going to end up with Tessa...I'm confident that this book will not only ease my wonders but also give my heart a slight paining pang and a wonderful light feeling. If you have not read the other books in this series I recommend doing so first. And for those wondering, no you do not need to read this series before reading The Mortal Instruments and vise versa.
I want this book now i dont want to wait
What wonderful characters. You find yourself caring about each even while being drawn to primarily one. Tears will be shed over both heroes and a heroine who has found herself in an almost impossible situation. It is a wonderful lesson in what true love is and what it means. The physical aspects of their love is minor compared to the sacrifices they make to insure that they in no way hurt those that mean the most to them .The action, the interaction of all the characters not just the three and the empathy, compassion and love demonstrates true meaning and not just a frivolous relationship based on looks, age or other facets that deteriorate with time. It is a fitting finish that although being bittersweet will satisfy most readers. I will confess that I was particularly drawn to Will but he is so interconnected with the other characters you find yourself caring about them because of him. I recommend it and it is worth the tears you'll shed.
This is how a series should end. You should be glued to the pages and so invested about what is going to happen next to these characters. There should be a twist that shocks you so much you feel like whacking your sleeping husband with your kindle so you have SOMEONE to tell at 3 a.m. even if he has no idea what you are talking about. There should also be some melodrama that makes you roll your eyes but you care about the characters so much that you keep reading anyway. And a little cheesiness never killed anyone (In fact, it tastes darn good on bittersweet sometimes). There should be lots of sweet romantic moments that make you go “awwwww.” And that is how you end a love triangle. I do have one teensy complaint. I’m happily reading along and then some random letter out of no where appears. Maybe it was an ebook thing, but it was not very obvious when the narrative ended and when these inserted letters began. The letters were also abrupt and strange and it took a while to see what purpose they served. Clockwork Princess ended exactly how I thought it would….100 pages early. The rest of the ending was fascinating and the epilogue blew me away!! Before I say goodbye to this series, I’d like to give a shout-out to my favorite characters. I want to hug you, Bridget the cook, singer of depressing rhymes. Will and Jem, my favorite duo who are kind of like Sherlock and Watson if Watson was a little more sarcastic and slightly feminine like Will. And Tessa you reading nerd, you are adorable. Overall, it was beautiful, bittersweet, but the perfect way to end this series.
Perfect ending!! I didn't think it could have a good outcome but it was perfect :3 love it so much!
Love this series!! This last book caught me offguard... Totally worth it! Can't wait for more of Ms. Clare's work!!
I like most of Clare's books, including this book; however, I felt the epilogue was rather disappointing. I am team Will all the way, so for Clare to close the series with the epilogue I was really sad. I have to be honest and say I was content with the entire book..
I dont normally write reviews but i was a bumbbling mess thinking thus coulndt get any better and it didnt it crashed and burned at the end i was fuming mad great til it wasnt!
The ending makes me tear up every time.
Amazing read. Cassandra Clare does it again with a breath taking story that builds you up, breaks you down, only to build you up again. Leaves you wanting more, no craving more. Plot twists, hurdles, and emotions left and right all the way through. Well written.
WOW....JUST WOW. This is not your average teen paranormal fiction novel. It's not a fun, cutsie, good read. This book is beautiful. This whole series is beautiful, enough so to change my life. I love how Cassie gave every character PLENTY of depth. Even evil little Jessamine made me cry...a lot. In fact, the whole book made me cry...a lot. I just love the connection between Jem and Will! I love how they both care for each other so much, but they also both care about Tessa. And don't even get me started about Tessa. Tessa Gray has to be my favorite female heroine in any book, and trust me when I tell you that I have read MANY books. She is just so strong and inquisitive, always so eager to learn, and she is so compassionate and loyal. I also adore Henry and Charlotte! I love how over the series, their relationship grows. Now, let's talk about Will Herondale. He is the reason I will never have a boyfriend (because I will always want him) LOL. I found his relationship with his sister hilarious and loved to laugh at his pointless protective side of both Cecily and Tessa. It was very contradictory to his relationship with Jem. It pained me so much to read this book. With every death, I suffered. With every heartfelt moment, I laughed and cried and hugged the book fiercely. Clockwork Princess is just one of those books that make you feel like your life is complete. It made me feel like I lived an adventure. The romance in this book is enough to make you want to die because along with the romance, there comes much heartbreak. I don't think I will ever be the same after this book. It changed my life, and I will cherish it for a long time to come if not forever. It is now my favorite, and no other book even comes close to what I feel for Clockwork Princess. This book is real.
I love clockwork princess. The infernal devces are my favorite series now and I was up through the night reading this book. I'm always and forever Team Jem, and even though he doesn't truly die it broke my heart. The ending didn't quite make up for it though, becase I love Will too. Its a real tear jerker and I can stop thinking about it. Its definetely worth reading, even if the ending makes you cry like it did me. I was n denial for a while.
AMAIZING but personally i fancy will over jem so the epilouge killed me
This book is incredible-I love everything about it. If you aren't sure about getting this book, get it anyway!
Ive read a book with this ending before it was the last book in the eartheal series except this girl loved three boy she marrys one guy then he dies the she marrys another and he dies and then the last guy is immortal and so is she so its like this books ending except i wasnt as attatched to those charecters as i am these and i fond the ending incomplete i dont think i could be more sad that will died even if it was natural causes so the ending was definitely not as good as it could be if you ask me but the rest of the book was good full of action twists and love and over all it was a good book but not a great one in my eyes.
Loved this book. It was a great ending to this trilogy. I have to admit I cried at the ending. I don't want to give away any spoilers so I'll try and keep it vague, but you learn so much about these characters as time goes one. The way Cassandra Clare is going it doesn't mean this truly is the end. I thought the mortal instruments were done after three, but they sure weren't. This book definitely brings everything full circle.
I really enjoyed this prequel series, the only complaint I have is that she stopped at 3. Excited about the final book of the mortal instruments to come out though!
Clockwork Princess is easily the best book I have read thus far in 2013. I always like to describe the storyline as tragically beautiful, because there are many plotlines that need answers to, including finding out what exactly Tessa is. Cassandra Clare answers all of these open questions brilliantly. The other thing I appreciated was her attempt to provide unique outlooks on common characteristics of the young adult genre, particularly with respect to the love triangle. As she has dabbled with this before in her other series, I think this is the first one that takes a realistic and honest approach to issues of love and duty, as well as propriety and "injustice." Love comes in so many forms in this novel, between the romantic and passionate love Tessa has for both Will and Jem, but also the brotherly love between the two boys (which in my opinion is the best part of the Infernal Devices series). You also have budding romances as wells as developments in existing relationships. The way this book wraps up the two previous books as well as fills in some points of interest that relate back to the Mortal Instruments series are also what make this book fantastic. She exercised many of her points well and thoroughly, and we got to see many of the characters make their decisions and suffer the consequences as a result. However, these outcomes are what define them and help them grow as individuals, not just characters in a book. It is truly a wonderful book and even if you have not read the Mortal Instruments series you could pick up the Infernal Devices and still follow along easily and with a lot of attachment to the characters.