em is dying. Will is trying his best to live without Jem’s fiancée, Tessa, and find a cure to save Jem’s life. The Lightwood brothers discover a shocking truth about their father that changes the way the Lightwoods are respected in the Clave. The Consul questions a very pregnantCharlotteat every turn, making it near impossible for her to run the Institute in a way that would honor the Shadowhunters she’s sworn to protect. Then there’s the whole business that Mortmain is still lurking in the shadows, taunting Tessa with his evil plans for her. The clockwork army is waiting, and all he needs is her to destroy the shadowhunters forever.

It has been a long time since a book hit me this hard, even longer since I wept at the conclusion of a plot. My husband laughed as I gasped aloud when the finale unfolded, incredulous that mere words on a page could invoke such emotion in me. I wish I had Clare’s gift with words to express just how rare a gem this novel was. When I finished it, I felt I had changed somehow, just by reading something so lovely and satisfying. I find it nearly impossible to be close to such beauty and not be altered in some permanent way. Clockwork Princess is the third book to the prequel series to her Mortal Instruments series, called the Infernal Devices. I would usually protest the end of such a fantastic series like this one, but the ending was so satisfying, I cannot complain. It was a perfect book.

Unlike the rest of the books in Clare’s two series, this one begs to be read slowly, savoring the vivid descriptions and unexpected plot twists. The characters were well-defined, as ever, and in this book, the three main ones really grew in their depth. Clare made a lot of brave choices that, I’m sure, were hard to write. They were certainly difficult to read. I may be going out on a limb, here, but Clockwork Princess has made a fair case for breaking out of teen fiction and being ranked as great literature.

Will, ah Will, beautiful bad boy we just know has a good spark to him somewhere, and Jem, sweet Jem, who can’t do a mean thing to save his own life, but doesn’t annoy us with his unwavering kindness. It’s a rare thing when I’m rooting for the nice guy just as much as the jaded bad boy, but Clare forced me to be just as torn as she was, no doubt. Then there’s Tessa, one of the most not annoying female heroines in the genre. Thank you for that.

I highly recommend reading the books in the following order: The first five in the Mortal Instruments series (modern-day), then all three Infernal Devices books (steampunk), then hold your breath and wait with me until the sixth Mortal Instruments book comes out next year. Cassandra Clare, you know exactly what I want from that one, and I will be waiting, impatiently, until I can dive into your worlds and lose myself in the beauty once again.