ISBN – 978-1-4063-2881-3
Publisher – Walker Books
First Published – 2010
Pages – 476
“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.“
‘Clockwork Angel’ is the first book in the ‘Infernal Devices’ trilogy by Cassandra Clare, a set of prequels for her Mortal Instruments series. I was really looking forward to reading Clockwork Angel, as I’ve loved all of Cassandra Clare’s previous books, so the thought of more was just awesome!
Clockwork Angel follows the story of Tessa, an American girl who is forced to come to England when her aunt dies. She then discovers that she is a downworlder, specifically someone who can change her shape at will. There are, however, people who want to use her power and Tessa must enlist the help of several people if she wants to discover who she really is, and the identity of the mysterious ‘Magister’.
Clockwork Angel is set in the 19th Century (specifically 1878) which I loved, since historical fantasy/paranormal is always cool, especially with the steampunk elements that Cassandra Clare wove into the novel.
I was a little apprehensive about Clockwork Angel – mainly because I thought that it might be a little bit too much like The Mortal Instruments, which, as much as I love them, I wanted something different. In many ways, I guess Clockwork Angel was quite similar to TMI, but at the same time it was amazingly unique.
The characters were what I found the most like those of TMI. You could clearly see the parallels between the characters, and quite a few of the people in Clockwork Angel shared traits with their TMI counterparts.
Tessa, our protagonist, was fairly different to Clary and generally, a lovely character to read about. She was strong and decisive, but at the same time she was accurately constrained by the Victorian society in which her story takes place. I loved how Cassandra Clare managed to work around this and yet still keep what appeared to be a fairly accurate historical story (of course, the supernatural stuff didn’t happen, but you get my point. Also, I’m an ancient history person, so the Victorian era isn’t my strong point, but from what I know, she was in keeping with most of the details).
Both of the male leads, Will and Jem, were brilliant. Cassandra Clare, you are the master of evil love triangles. I was definitely unable to choose who I wanted Tess to end up with, and both characters had such strong, exuberant personalities and mysterious backgrounds. I could definitely see who these characters resembled in TMI, but it didn’t bother me that much. They still had individual personalities and problems, so I was sufficiently satisfied.
The other characters were well formed as well, and there wasn’t anyone that really bothered me. In fact, the lowest point of Clockwork Angel, in my opinion, was that there wasn’t enough Magnus Bane. He was one of my absolute FAVOURITE characters from TMI, and when I heard he was making an appearance in Clockwork Angel I was over the moon. He never fails to make me laugh and he’s just an awesome character! But he didn’t appear very often, so I’m hoping to see a lot more of him in the second book in the series.
What I did love, however, was seeing the ancestors of many of the characters in TMI. It was awesome looking at family trees and seeing who was related to who.
The plot was a real rollercoaster ride, just as you expect with Cassandra Clare’s work. It had everything! Of course, there was enough snarky comments to keep me giggling all night, as well as the famous love triangle, which I mentioned earlier, and tonnes of heart stopping action. The fight scenes are easy to follow and keep pace with whilst still remaining supremely entertaining. And of course, each and every chapter ending was so exciting I’m pretty sure I suffer from a heart murmur now. I occasionally guessed things that would happen, but the story was twisty enough that I never got bored.
The steampunk elements (hence the ‘clockwork’ in the title) worked really well in the novel and didn’t seem too out of place. Ros loved the clockwork creatures that appear in Clockwork Angel; I’m guessing that’s her engineering brain. :)
Overall, despite the similarities between the characters of TMI and Clockwork Angel, this was still one of the best books I have read in a while. Cassandra Clare is made of awesome, as is everything she writes. I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Clockwork Prince, which is released September 2011. I’m also really hoping we’ll get to see more of Magnus!
It is very possible to read Clockwork Angel before reading TMI, as it is a prequel, however, I’m glad that I’ve read part of TMI first, as it gave me a ‘background’ to the world (so to speak), and allowed for me to look at the character’s ancestors. Of course, you could do this the other way round, but it all works. :)
If you haven’t read any of Cassandra Clare’s work before, I really urge you to. It’s humorous, shocking and richly filled with fantastic world building and fully fleshed out characters. There really is nothing not to like.
Rating (out of 5):
““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.”"