Thursday, 17 November 2011 | By: Nicole @ Nicole About TOwn

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel
Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA, Steampunk
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Pages: 476
Source:Finished Copy
My Rating: 4*

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.

      "He'll get better," Jessamine announced.  "And when he does, he'll know I'm the one who nursed him back to health.  Men always fall in love with the woman who nurses them back to health.  'When pain and anguish wring the brow, | A ministering angel thou!'" she finished, with a self-satisfied smirk.  Seeing Tessa's horrified look, she scowled.  "What's wrong?  Am I not good enough for your previous brother?"   

     The Dark Sisters were there, leering at me from behind their whist cards, their nails like talons.  Women with their faces and shoulders powdered white smiled at me with blood running out the corners of their mouths.  Little creatures whose eyes changed color scuttled across the floor.  I had never imagined such things were real, and I said as much to Mortmain.
     '"There are more things in Heaven and earth, Nathaniel. than are dreamt of in your philosophy,' he said.

              I think I should give you fair warning that at the time I decided to read this book I had already marked some of Cassandra Clare’s other work, namely the Mortal Instruments Series, as DNF.  As a result I was very hesitant to even begin any of the books in the Infernal Devices series.  In the end, I was convinced to give it a try by some of my fellow Ontario Blog Squad members and I am very glad that they did.

                For me the first half of the book was a whole lot of nothing.  Well, maybe not nothing, but not a lot happened.  It was all talk and getting to know the characters, but really very little action.  While I did like having the opportunity to really learn about the characters, it was hard holding my attention when I just wanted something to happen.  I do have to say that when the action started, it pretty much didn’t stop.  It wasn’t over the top gory incidents either.  I didn’t get the feeling that the events taking place weren’t realistic for the story, but rather they seamlessly fit right in.

                While I did enjoy the book, I can’t say that I was really fond of a lot of the characters.  Tessa annoyed me for some reason.  Maybe it was her dependence on others, or her inability to see things clearly that drove me nuts.  Was she a product of her environment and times?  Yes!  Does that mean I should make allowances for her character?  Probably.  Did she still annoy me anyway?  Absolutely! And that was the best part.  As annoying as she was, she was authentic to the times, her upbringing and her character.  I really did not like Will, but he too was authentic.  What I don’t understand is this need for the main male character in every YA book to be a borderline douche.  Jem on the other hand came across as a very likeable, albeit, tragic character.  Jess made me want to light myself on fire every time she appeared in the story.

There was something about the setting for this series that just worked for me.  The setting of Victorian London was spot on and had me believing in the world of Shadowhunters, Demons and the like.  Something about London during that time period comes across as a lot more believable than the backdrop of New York City that we find in The Mortal Instruments.  What we know of London during that time due to historical record lends a great bit of credibility to this kind of world within a world that Cassandra Clare has created.  London, as described in Clockwork Angel, is a cross between being seedy and posh and it is that dichotomy that makes the story work so well.


Christa @ Hooked on Books said...

Didn' *gasps*

Reading Revels said...

Great review, Nicole. I have to say, I'm a fan of Cassandra Clare's books but have really enjoyed the Infernal Devices better than The Mortal Instruments by far. I'm also a huge period piece fan so that may be part of it. I've reviewed Clockwork Angel too. I'd love for you to take a look.

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