In “Clockwork Prince,” the second installment in a prequel trilogy to the bestselling “The Mortal Instruments” series, Cassandra Clare demonstrates her relentless authorial alchemy, blending societal restraint and an otherworldly battle into a steamy steampunk drama.
Many times second books in a series fall short of readers’ expectations. Not so with Clockwork Prince. From the first page, readers are in the grip of an almost Shakespearean rollercoaster ride with a curse, a betrayal, a death, a secret marriage, a proposal, an impending birth, a long-lost relative, magic, and love—both given and unrequited—and behind the scenes are the Magister and all his clockwork machines and machinations. All the main characters from the first book are back, and there is the addition of the Lightwoods and Consul Wayland, as well as items such as the Mortal Sword and Book of the White. Tessa is still attracted to both Will and Jem but is more concerned with finding out who—and, perhaps, what—she is since the clues only manage to deepen the mystery. Will and Jem become more human and less warriors, with Jem teaching Tessa more about the Clave and Shadowhunters and Will’s desire to drive everyone away finally explained. All the other characters also become more complete. Clare’s books never disappoint, and this one will have readers clamoring for its sequel.
—VOYA, starred review