Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Publication Date: 31 August 2010
by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Hardcover, 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.
I feel like I’ve just gotten off a roller coaster after reading Clockwork Angel, it is the first book in the prequel series to The Mortal Instruments and is set in the same world but different timeframe. In case you guys didn’t know, I’ve read the first three books of The Mortal Instruments and is utterly in love with the world of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders. That said, I actually liked The Infernal Devices better, the fact that it’s set in the Victorian era really complemented the whole plot (I’m smitten with the fashion, language, society and basically everything else of that time). The politeness of the time greatly emphasized the underlying passionate emotions (both good and bad) of the people and characters.
The story (unfortunately) started out really slow. I was 70+ pages into it and only about 3 significant events had occurred, so that was quite disappointing. However, the action picked up towards the middle of the book and like all other Cassandra Clare books, it was wonderfully gruesome and mysterious. I amaze at her ability to add up many small events into one gigantic twist in the plot. A round of applause for Cassie!
As for Tessa, she might look nothing like Clary (she had brown hair and gray eyes compared to Clary’s red hair and green eyes), but personality and situation wise, they are pretty similar. For instance, they are both caring, selfless and mostly unbothered about their outer appearances. With their situations, they were introduced into the Shadow World the same way and ended up staying at an Institute. However, Tessa is definitely the wiser of the two while Clary is wittier. Moving on from the comparisons, it’s completely wonderful that Tessa’s an avid reader too! It makes her so relatable for us bookworms though she could’ve only read classics in her time. Two of my favourite quotes from her:
“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.
On to Will now, he is very… volatile. Even more so than Jace and that is really saying something. Just like Tessa and Clary, Will and Jace look nothing alike yet have extremely similar characters. However, in their case, it’s quite expected and for the sake of those who have not read City of Glass yet, I shall not say why. Will’s cynical attitude was quite entertaining at first, but further into the book, I got a little frustrated at the fact that he pushes everyone away. It has piqued my curiosity how he ended up that way though – especially his family.
Last but certainly not least, James Carstairs. I started out fascinated by his colouring and calm demeanor. It slowly evolved to being charmed by his kindness and thoughtfulness. Then, when I realised he can also fight so skillfully, I officially jumped aboard Team Jem. I find it simply amazing that he can be so gentle yet deadly. Just to make things clear, I might prefer Jem to Will but I feel Tessa and Will are a better match because Jem and Tessa’s relationship seemed more platonic and sibling-like to me. Then again, I don’t exactly recommend Tessa to be with Will for now, he needs some time to find himself before finding a girl.
At the end of Clockwork Angel, my feels are all over the place. I had so many questions. What’s up with Will? What’ll be of him and Tessa? Where’s the Magister? However, I understand the lack of closure as the trilogy will be continued with Clockwork Prince and then Clockwork Princess (to be released tomorrow, 19th March 2013). All in all, Clockwork Angel had me hooked, not that I expected any less, and might get those who dislike loose ends left hanging a little bit slighted. The questions you’ll be left with at the end is just a small price to pay for the intriguing and addictive storyline though. Just pick up this book already!