Monday, 21 February 2011

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare 
(The Infernal Devices, #1)
4 out of 5 stars

Note: This is the first book I've read by this author. I have no idea how it relates to her other series, The Moral Instruments. The review is solely concentrated on this book. For more information, see Discussion below.


Clockwork Angel is my first venture into the unknown steampunk-territory. In this alternate world, you have the whole supernatural bunch (vampires, werewolves, warlocks, some nephelim thrown in for good measure) living together with the normals in a Victorian-like age. In a time where skirts that show the ankles are considered extremely inappropriate, Tessa travels from New-York to London to go live with her brother. But instead of finding her brother at the pier she is abducted by two lady-warlocks.

After this the book follows Tessa trying to find and rescue her brother that has gotten himself in a whole lot of trouble. In order to do so, she has the help of the Shadowhunters, the warriors that protect the humans and keep the Downworlders from braking the Law.

I really enjoyed this, mostly because of the setting. I love the ambiance of Victorian London and I think Ms. Clare did extremely well portraying this. You can see she has taken the time to research her book and she implements characteristic parts of society effortless. The saying of one's Christian name is a big deal and I especially loved the shock of our properly bred Tessa when she hears a servant talking freely to one of the Shadowhunters.

As for Tessa as a heroine, I'm not so sure what to say of her. She's not really a weak damsel-in-distress kind of girl but you can't call her kick-ass with a straight face either. She's loyal to her brother and slightly protective, but not so much of a sensitive girl that looks after everyone. As main character she's (I'm almost afraid to use this word) a bit dull. I didn't feel that compassionate towards her. The only parts I enjoyed her character where those wherein she interacts with the young Shadowhunter Will. Enter the mysterious love-interest of the book.

Will is the typical mysterious guy almost every young-adult novel has. The sarcastic bad boy shell with a troubled sweet soul somewhere hidden deep inside him, that only the heroine can reach. We've seen it before countless times, in one form or the other. Yet I still like this one. It seems that a lot of people found Will's behaviour offensive or rude but I don't really see why anyone would take offence in his conduct. He cares for his friend-like-a-brother Jem and he does nothing that shocked me with rudeness. Maybe just because I thought his remarks were rather funny. Don't tell anyone though.

The plot was engaging, yet not that surprising. The major oh-my-gosh moment was hinted at so many times that when it finally came it was a bit disappointing. It was fast-paced though and I read the book in about two sittings. There were enough sidelines that keep you interested throughout the story, even though a lot of questions are left unanswered at the end of the book.

I liked this book. I will definitely check out Clockwork Prince, the second part of this series, due summer this year.

Blurb
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.


Discussion
When I was searching some sites for background info on this book, I came across something that rather surprised me. Apparently author Cassandra Clare (formerly known as Cassandra Claire) has been accused of using inappropriate amounts of quotes from other works in her fan-fiction series featuring Draco Malfoy. Some might say that the writing of fan-fic on its self is plagiarism, yet some take this a little further. There seems to be a whole hate-team that accuses her of using the same characters she has written for Draco in her books over and over again. I can't take either side in this discussion, as I have not read any of these works, or her Mortal Instrument books. If you want to know more about this, check out these posts:

Other reviews you might be interested in

3 comments:

tahlianewland.com said...

The Mortal instrument series is better. You should try that.

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

Glad to hear you liked it. This was the first of hers I have read. I've heard differing reviews about her Mortal Instruments series.

CelineNyx said...

I've read the first book in her Mortal Instruments series, and it was actually pretty awesome. I liked it better than Clockwork Angel (:

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