Sunday, March 17, 2013

Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Release Date: August 31, 2010
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Length: 476 pages

"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."


Background: Theresa "Tessa" Gray begins this book in London under the "care" of the Dark Sisters. In reality she's a prisoner and the only reason she hasn't escaped is that they say they have her brother who will die upon her escape. Even though she does escape with the help of men covered in strange black tattoos, she still has no idea where her brother could be or even if he is still alive. She soon learns about the Shadow World, full of Shadowhunters, Downworlders, and demons and of her true origins. After the intial shock she sets to learning more about the shadow world and her place in it.

Protagonist: I liked Tessa way more than Clary, who I still like, just not as much. I feel like Tessa takes action a bit more than Clary does and in some ways is more relateable than Clary, but enough comparing. Tessa is her own person and over the course of this book grows more confidant in this shadow world. One of my favorite qualities that I love about her is that she relates her own life to the many classic novels she's read. While I'd normally call her delusional for thinking that her life is a novel (which it technically is) she doesn't do it to draw advice from, but more to understand this new world and the people who have introduced her to it.

Romance: The love triangle present in this series in more abrupt and clear than the one in The Mortal Instruments as Tessa cares deeply for both Will and Jem and hasn't yet exiled either of them to "the friend zone." Though the love triangle is a tad cliched at first with Will being the "tortured soul" with a dark past who won't let anyone in, and Jem being the kind, trusting, and warm person who doesn't mind getting closer to Tessa, but soon the cliche starts to disappear as it becomes less obvious who Tessa will choose. All in all this love triangle may have started out a bit annoyingly cliche but it does dissipate sooner than expected.

World-Building: The move from New York to London for this series, as well as the jump back in time made for some fun world-building. We get to see past shadowhunters as they are up against clockwork creations, created by neither heaven nor hell. The Steampunk aspect of this first installment definitely added to the fun paranormalcy of it, while at the same time not weighing down the story line. We also get to see mundanes who know about the shadow world and how the choices they make regarding it affect the world.

Predictability: Since when I had read this all I knew about it was that it was a prequel spin-off of The Mortal Instruments I was easily surprised by some of the twists in this story, particularly one that was revealed within the first chapter and defined this whole trilogy. There weren't many times I can recall actually guessing what was going to happen before it did, I had a few suspicions, though once they seemed false I was blown away and utterly shocked when they were true. I loved how much more unpredictable this book was compared to the first half of The Mortal Instruments.

Ending: The ending was very intense and made me grow to hate a certain character, while at the same time try and understand them. There isn't too much that excited me about the ending, it sort of plateaued, that is until the epilogue. The epilogue starts of great (it has Magnus in it) and kind of slowly builds up tension and right before something interesting happens, it cuts off. I almost thought that I might have missed a page or something but no, right before something that could have been a powerful cliffhanger is said it ends. Making it in a way an even more powerful one.

Overall, I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars, it's even better than the first series, probably because of the addition of the Steampunk element, or the slightly more complex characters. By the way sorry for the constant comparisons with The Mortal Instruments series.

P.S. The third book in this amazing series comes out on Tuesday and you can enter to win a SIGNED finished copy over on my Giveaways/Contests page and don't forget, it's International.

1 comment:

  1. I love love love this series. I love Clare's writing. I love this one more than TMI. Oh Will...*sighs*! Great review Zach. Gald you enjoyed it. Oh and I read this series before I read TMI. I know there's some kind of order, I ignored it!