Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices, Book One
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
About the book (from jacket flap):
Magic is dangerous–but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by–and torn between–two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
This book has lead me to create a new rule for myself: Never read any of Cassandra Clare’s books unless the ENTIRE SERIES has been released. I think I could have lived with the ending but the epilogue was just cruel! I have to wait until SEPTEMBER! I am so not good with the whole delayed gratification thing!
Why I picked it up… I really enjoyed Cassandra Clare’s previous series, The Mortal Instruments (every single time I read it!) so I was really looking forward to Clockwork Angel. I’ve not read much steampunk and wasn’t sure if I would like it. This book seemed like a good “starter” since it had the clockwork aspect and was set within a world I was familiar with and enjoyed. Also, the time period and location appealed to me.
I started out listening to the audiobook. It’s wonderful. I felt that Jennifer Ehle’s narration really helped transport me to the time and place of the story. Cassandra Clare does such a beautiful job of setting the scene. Hearing it read aloud let me focus on “seeing” it rather than just reading the words. Of course I am impatient and therefore didn’t make it through all the CDs. I had to know what happened RIGHT NOW and didn’t think that sitting in my garage with the car running was a very good idea. Instead I went inside, pulled the book of my “to be read” bookcase and curled up with a mug of hot cocoa. It was lovely.
The cover… I have really liked all of the covers for Cassandra Clare’s books but this one is my favorite. I love the way the runes seem to give off light and the embossed clockwork angel. Add to that the shimmer and the muted tones that remind me of a rainy day (appropriate to the London setting) and you have a truly gorgeous cover. The hot boy doesn’t hurt either 😉
The characters… I love Tessa. She’s the kind of girl that I hope I would have been had I lived when she did (well, when she would have.. you know, if she was actually real.) I mean, aside from being courageous and kind and loyal and witty and all kinds of other good qualities, she’s a bit of a book nerd 🙂 I also appreciate that she is aware of what is expected of her as a woman in her time but doesn’t let that totally define her. The way she handles the apparently self centered Will is pretty awesome too! She isn’t perfect. Her loyalty may be a little too blind when it comes to those she loves. Still, I would rather let myself love too much than not enough (**cough** Will **cough**)
As far as the “Team Will”/”Team Jem” debate? As I discovered in this Top Ten Fictional Crushes post, I have a thing for the kind-of-arrogant, a-bit-bad boy. So yeah, totally crushing on Will. But, is he the best for Tessa? Not so sure about that. He clearly has issues that he needs to work through. If you’ve read The Mortal Instruments think Jace times a really big number. And Jem, while totally adorable and probably a really great boyfriend, has his own issues. The whole mysterious illness thing could be a problem in the long run.
Going in to reading CA I thought that the Tessa/Will/Jem dynamic was going to be more of a big love triangle thing (similar to that in TMI.) With all the Team Will/Team Jem debate I’ve seen I thought that they would be… well… more rivals than friends. I was pleased that this wasn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, I totally loved it in TMI. I just loved the boy friendship in this book. It’s nice to see boys being friends. You can tell that they truly care about one another and have that whole brotherly bond going on.
The other characters were great as well. I’d be interested to see more of the Charlotte/Henry dynamic. Without giving too much away I’ll say that they made me kind of sad. Jessamine too. There were a number of characters that really surprised me throughout the story. When I thought I had someone figured out I’d learn something new about them. I love dynamic characters.
The plot… There is a lot going on in this book but I didn’t find it overwhelming. I liked it 🙂 The events enhanced one another and kept me wondering how they all fit together. Cassandra Clare keeps the plot moving. Every scene has a purpose, and it likely isn’t what you at first think it is. The detail is such that you can really get in to the story but it doesn’t feel bogged down.
Clockwork Angel was one of my favorite reads of the year. Cassandra Clare has written an addictive story that will keep you engaged throughout. A beautiful start to an exciting new look at the history of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. I don’t know if I’ll make it to September!
Check out Cassandra Clare’s website here and The Infernal Devices here.
Follow her on Twitter @cassieclare