The Infernal Devices = T.I.D.
*blender* (AKA Clare's copying, stealing writing and publishing process)
Result: Total Intellectual Disintegration, T. I. D.
Actually, this book, unlike some others I can think of, does have one saving grace. Jem. He's actually a nice character, and even through my newly opened eyes, knowing what kind of person/writer Claire really is, I like Jem.
It's not like he's original or anything. Like all of her characters, he just had to have an oh-so-tortured past. He's quiet, the sidekick character who just steps up to watch the noisemakers' backs. He's sweet and compassionate and, like all of Clare's characters, he's Stunningly Beautiful. I've literally read about Jem, under different aliases, in half the books I've read. He's predictable. He has loads of flaws that I hate, but I still like him.
However, Jem is not enough to save this book from Clare itself.
I've seen more than one reviewer point out the heroine's names from TID and TMI - Clarissa Fray, and now Theresa Grey. Funny how they're almost exactly the same name - every syllable rhymes and they're precisely the same number of syllables. This isn't enough to make me hate Tessa - it's not her fault her name was stolen directly from the author's other series, right?
No. I hate Tessa for being herself. She's whiny and stupid. Her motivations switch around and tie themselves into so many knots that I don't think even she understands half of why she does anything. Is she a good guy? A villain? Does she want to help her brother, or save herself? Does she trust the Shadowhunters or doesn't she? Does she like Jessamine or does she hate her? Does the want to learn about her powers or hide from them? Does she think she loves Will, or does she want to run away screaming?
The list goes on. Pretty much, Tessa exists just to have a central point for the story, some object that Claire can direct infodumps at. She exists so that people can unfoundedly praise how courageous and intelligent and beautiful she is. Oh and yes, Tessa, just like Clary, is Stunningly Beautiful and every guy to come within six miles of her is in love with her - but she doesn't know she's beautiful.
If I ever meet a nice female main character, who is beautiful and knows it, and who can get along with other beautiful women, I'll be shocked. It seems that authors just aren't into female friendship, it always has to be a reverse-harem situation where the MC is surrounded by guys, and the other girls float around it, occasionally giving into bouts of jealousy and getting into fights with said MC. How come? It's not like girls aren't friends in real life. Look around the mall sometime when you're there, I bet you'll see groups of three or more giggling girls in every clothes shop, getting along just fine.
Another problem I have with this book: it's predictable. NOTHING, not a single one of Claire's shocking revelations, even managed to surprise me. I had it all figured out by page 50 or so.
All the side characters are throwaways, like Clare realized that if she let them step into the spotlight we'd all see that they're exactly like this character from TMI, or that one. Sometimes, as with Will and Jessamine, she slipped up and forgot to hide the fact that they're the same people we've been reading about elsewhere. Jessamine/Isabelle, Charlotte/Hodge/Maryse, Will/Jace, Jem/Alec, Tessa/Clary. And Claire got a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card, because lucky her, she'd made Magnus Bane immortal. She could just reuse him without even having to think up a new name for him.
Let me complain about Will for a second. This guy is literally Jace's clone. He makes the same jokes, has the same egotistical attitude, treats everyone around him like garbage, falls in love with a beautiful-but-doesn't-know-it, singularly powerful girl with an evil father, is a Shadowhunter with a troubled past, has a best friend/sidekick Shadowhunter who always hangs in the background. He wanders around at strange hours, tells lies with the same face on, and probably dyes his hair dark because he doesn't want to get hit by Jace's blonde jokes.
Except, Will is actually a worse person. Throughout this book he repeatedly ignores blatant signs of suffering, to the point of stepping over twitching bodies without a glance, and in some cases even thinks about escalating it for no reason. He thinks about interrupting people on the street just to see their reactions. He shrugs it aside whenever someone is hurt and goes to sulk in a corner somewhere because his life is just so awful. His one-liners are even more cruel and sexist than Jace's were. He throws away his old friends like old socks. He plays with people's feelings, hurting them deliberately just to see what they think of it. The only thing he takes joy in is showing off. And at the end of the book, because he "loves" Tessa so much, he tries to convince her to be his own personal prostitute.
That's Will. Think Jace, but nastier in almost every way.
Also, Claire must have thought she was very clever to go back to a different era and a different country for her prequel. The problem is, she didn't give any actual thought to what she was doing. All the people in this book talk and act like twenty-first-century New Yorkers. There's none of the grace or reserved politeness that you're supposed to see. None of it. I have a feeling no one would be shocked if Jessamine decided to put on a neon green bikini and go Shadowhunting in it.
Claire also didn't bother doing any research on London's geography, customs or architectural designs. And she butchers mythology and religions without apology. I'll leave it at that.
This book is such a mess.....