Wow. This book was such a wonderful piece of work. Cassandra Clare’s writing has really been honed, and every sentence was just so well crafted and a joy to read. I loved the people, I loved the plot, I loved the relationships, I loved the world. Everything that was awesome in 21st century New York has now been tripled in the steampunk 1800’s.
In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Format & Pages: Paperback, 544
Published: September 6th 2010 by Simon & Schuster
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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COVER REVIEW: I liked the old covers better, but this one does convey more of that Victorian/Steampunk feel.
Tessa was the main character in this novel. Now, this was a reread for me, and last time I didn’t particularly like Tessa. But now I’m warming up to her a bit more. She’s kind of adorable, and I like how she’s relatable because she loves books. However, it seemed like Cassandra Clare was trying a little too hard to make her this protective, misunderstood heroine, like the way Rainbow Rowell tried too hard to make Cath, the main character in Fangirl, an antisocial, computer-addicted nerd. Her personality didn’t particularly strike me, her insecurities seemed cliche, and her little ‘clockwork angel’ really seemed to take a backseat to this entire book! I mean, the title is named for it, shouldn’t it have been a little more featured? Maybe as some mystical thing that can take in the identities of the people who she Changes into? Oh, and speaking of her Changing ability: why didn’t she use it more often? I can name countless ways in which that would have helped during the battle scenes. Quick, switch into Nathaniel so Mortmain doesn’t know who’s who! Hurry, and change into Will so you can hear his thoughts! HelloOOooo? Yes, OK, it did make a huge difference in the plot that would be spoiling you to tell about, but that was last minute and she didn’t really know if it would work. And while we’re on the subject of annoying things about Tessa, let’s take about her suprisingly large fixation with beauty. The first thing she notices about Will when they meet is that his jawline is perfect. That really effing bugs me. I don’t want Tessa to be a superficial b**ch, but she’s headed in that direction if this keeps up.
Will & Jem- the handsome duo. Will was funny, and useful to the plot, but he didn’t seem to have much of a personality, and we didn’t learn much of his backstory at all during the book, so…. :(. However, I really did like his astonishingly silly tendency to get into the funniest of situations. He’s a lovable character. But I don’t ship him with Tessa at all. I honestly don’t see any chemistry there, and I think it’s kind of sad that Tessa is falling for the hotter guy who is, frankly, quite rude to her many times.
But Jem was interesting! I would’ve liked to hear more about Jem! This drug-addicted, doomed person who is so kind, but tortured. I wish he was more of a main character. Unfortunately, he also took a backseat to the story, so…. 😦 again. Now he and Tessa I can really ship. She makes so much more sense with him: she’s quiet, smart, polite, but she could lend him that spunk that he lacks. I like to think of Jem as a crystal, clear as glass, but beautiful and twisted inside. Cold, but forged by rubbing up against others. Can you tell that I kinda love him? *swoons*
Just. So. Epic. It really blew my mind. I just fell in love with steampunk through this novel. The clockwork stuff has always fascinated me, but the way Cassandra Clare tied it in with this story made it so awesome. The automatrons were amazing, and actually really creepy. I know we’ve all heard of robots before, but the Victorian/Gothness, plus the gruesome descriptions, made it all come together! The search Tessa Gray is making for her true self was epically conjoined with the battle against demons. I really didn’t see the twist coming either.
Now, this series is a late prequel to the Mortal Instruments series (an urban supernatural series with demons and Shadowhunters). Plus, they came out after the Mortal Instruments, so we’re supposed to know what this world is like, right? But the world building is a little thin. It seems like a lot of it is built on the assumption that the reader knows and has read at least City of Bones, the first in TMI series. Luckily, I have. But apart from that, it does build upon this world that we know and have come to love, with many new rules, creatures, and ideals. So, there are some pros and cons to that part of the book.
There also are quite a few info dumps here and there when the Shadowhunters have ‘meetings’, which were tedious to read through. I skipped a few of them, and I caught up with what was going on pretty quickly. I wish Cassandra would have spread it out a little smoother.
-Jem Carstairs! *dies from loveliness*
-The automatons were creepy and amazing
-Lots of funny scenes that made me LOL
-Victorian time period felt a little forced
-Tessa was pretentious sometimes
-Canon that I do not ship
I really think this trilogy could be amazing, if Cassandra plays it out right. I’m excited to read Clockwork Prince, and I would definitely recommend this book to you guys!
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
About Cassandra Clare
Cassie’s first professional writing sale was a short story called “The Girl’s Guide to Defeating the Dark Lord” in a Baen anthology of humor fantasy. Cassie hates working at home alone because she always gets distracted by reality TV shows and the antics of her two cats, so she usually sets out to write in local coffee shops and restaurants. She likes to work in the company of her friends, who see that she sticks to her deadlines. City of Bones was her first novel.