Rating: 3/5 ****mild spoilers****
I cannot imagine a single fan of this series not being absolutely thrilled with this final book of the trilogy. As for me, you can tell by my rating that I'm not really a fan. I much preferred The Mortal Instruments (well, the first three volumes, anyway, I'm waiting for #6 to be published before I read the rest).
The thing is, I just never cared all that much for Tessa. Aside from her unique heredity and the unusual powers she has, she's sort of a nothing personality. And, outside of a Jane Austen novel, I have never been a fan of happily ever afters. So the fact that this mediocre excuse for a heroine gets a double dose of dream-come-true rubs me the wrong way. But of course, I didn't expect a tragedy, not from this series. The aforementioned fans would've rioted.
Did I mention that everybody else in the book coupled up and got happily-ever-afters as well? Except for Henry's legs, no losses were taken in the end by the "good guys" (unless you count Jessamine, who still ended up redeemed and content). Sigh.
This book did have its moments. Though over-cooked, the strength of friendship between Will and Jem was something you never see explored in this genre. And Sophie's Ascension ceremony was well done and touching. The plot in this story was simpler and yet better than the previous two installments.
The most infernal of devices in this series are the ones used by the author to create drama and further the plot. I think there's only one of two significant characters in this book that didn't, at some point, blame themselves for everything. I hate it when characters do that, I really do. It's so self-absorbed and emo. It's also used in almost every YA book I've ever read as a segue into feely conversations between characters, misunderstandings, and martyr-like self-destructive behaviors. Heroes take all the blame for themselves, while villains shift all the blame onto others. I prefer realistic characters that recognize the truth is always somewhere in between.
Now that all is said and done, I think Clockwork Princess may be equal to or better than Clockwork Prince, and certainly better than Clockwork Angel. It's nice that the series did end better than it started. However, I still find myself not really caring about the story or the people in it. After three long books, you would expect to be invested in the characters. I know a lot of readers of this series probably are, but I'm just not one of them. This trilogy is like a nice looking but forgettable action movie. It doesn't explore any real themes, or make you think about any issues. In my opinion there are other, better offerings in the YA genre.