Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Infernal Devices #1)
August 31 2010
Simon & Schuster
Kick Ass Chick – Tessa Gray
“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: Jem, 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.”
I feel as though I have been waiting foreeevvver for this book. I am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare’s ‘Mortal Instruments’ series, and when the release date was announced for the first book in her new ‘Infernal Devices’ series, I immediately wrote it down on every calendar in my house. Let me tell you, back then August 31st 2010 felt like a long way away.
“Clockwork Angel” is about the Shadowhunters in London, England during the late 1800’s. That is Victorian England with a steampunk edge, including automatons and other neat gadgets. They give an interesting twist to the already fascinating world that Cassandra has written. They also add a whole lot of creepy.
Cassandra Clare writes endearing characters and there are quite a few in this series. Characters I want to know more about. Characters I want answers about! First there is Theresa Gray. Tessa thinks she’s just an ordinary American girl who is summoned to England by her brother after her Aunt dies. But there is more to her than there appears and her power is truly unique. That makes her wanted by some of the most dangerous and powerful Downworlders (vampires, warlocks ect…) in London. Although she is frightened and alone, she manages her situation amazingly well. Anyone put in her place would crack. Once she is at the Institute, she is not afraid to ask a lot of questions, which I find cute. Another aspect of Tessa that I really enjoyed was that she loves books and quotes some here and there. I really like Tessa.
Then there is William Herondale. Will is a boob. There is a sweet and tender side to him, but he hides it. He is happier with people believing he’s a boy who likes to drink and who loves the ladies. I know there is something that Will is hiding. Something Big! But in true Cassandra Clare fashion, we are left dangling at the edge of our seat at the very end of the book when he approaches the Warlock Magnus Bane to ask for his help. With what? Why? What’s his secret? Aug!
Next is James Carstairs. Jem is a dear. Infected with a disease, he is often frail and weak. But when he is healthy, he is a strong Shadowhunter. He is kind and a good friend. In fact, he’s the only one Will is civil towards. Where Will is harsh, Jem is considerate. He is a true gentleman.
Even the more supporting characters get their fair share of time on the page. Enough so that we get to know them, feel for them. Enough so that we mourn for them when some are lost. I particularly like how Cassandra introduces Henry and Charlotte. A young married couple charged with running the Institute. There is love there, but distance as well as Henry is lost in his ‘trinket world’. I can’t wait to see more of this couple.
The villain, the Magister, is fantastic. Really wicked and sinister and all that. And he pretty much comes out of left field. And his side kick?! Let’s just say that when you discover all the information about him, you want to kick him in the head…hard. Very well done.
Of course there will be a little romance in this series. And at this point it’s difficult to say where it’s all headed and with whom. Tessa is more drawn to Will, but Will is doing his very best to push her away. Jem is sweet, but is he a good match for her? And then there is Magnus Bane with Camille! Whoa! (If you’ve read the ‘Mortal Instruments’, you’ll understand how that idea makes my eyes bug out of my head!)
My most favorite part of the ‘Mortal Instruments’ books was the dialogue and the sarcastic banter that occurred between the characters. The wit in that series is sharp. I missed that in “Clockwork Angel”. It’s not that the dialogue wasn’t witty, it’s just that it was witty Victorian style. You can’t get the same edge while speaking proper English from the late 1800’s.
I was wondering how Cassandra would write a new story about Shadowhunters, keeping it different enough from her Mortal Instruments books but not straying too far as to alienate the fans of her first series. She manages wonderfully. In fact, you absolutely do not have to read the Mortal Instruments books before picking up “Clockwork Angel” – it really is its own story. This was a good book, one that I will most likely re-read before “Clockwork Prince” comes out September 2011. And I will pounce on ‘”Clockwork Prince” the day it comes out because there are so many questions to be answered!!!
Giggle worthy quote
“’That was enterprising.’ Will sounded nearly impressed.
Nate smiled. Tessa shot him a furious look. ‘Don’t look pleased with yourself. When Will says ‘enterprising’, he means ‘morally deficient.’’
‘No, I mean enterprising,’ said Will. ‘When I mean morally deficient, I say ‘Now, that’s something I would have done.’’”
“’I like ducks,’ Jem observed diplomatically. ‘Especially the ones in Hyde Park.’ He glanced sideways at Will;…’Remember when you tried to convince me to feed a poultry pie to the mallards in the park to see if you could breed a race of cannibal ducks?’
‘They ate it too,’ Will reminisced. ‘Bloodthirsty little beasts. Never trust a duck.’”
Books in the ‘Infernal Devices’ series –
Clockwork Prince (September 2011)
Clockwork Princess (December 2012)