Friday, September 24, 2010

Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare

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 finished this book about 4 days ago and I have to say, I'm still blown away by this fabulous book. Like her other series - The Mortal Instruments - it's richly detailed and the story is excellent and always leaves you guessing. And yes, side by side with the fighting and the killing, there is a fair amount of romantic tension in there as well. (The glove scene! *swoon*) And while there are still 2 more books in this series, and now 3 more books for TMI, I'm currently liking this series better. It's characters, in my opinion, are more intriguing to me, as is the story line. And there's no possibilities of incest (that I know of) that will make me question my romantic sensibilities and sanity. ; )

Let's start with the story. (I'll try my best to remain spoiler free.) It took me a couple chapters to really get into it, but once it had me, I was completely hooked. It killed me to have to put it down to attend to such things as eating, sleeping, and making sure my kids were in bed on time. It was constantly taking me by surprise and when the villian's identity (and that of his partner) was revealed, I audibly gasped "No WAY!!" I have no idea what's going to happen next, which I love and hate at the same time. And there's so much room for the characters to grow that I'm excited to see what happens to them and to see how they change. And while I'm in no way familiar with London - Victorian era or otherwise - her descriptions of the city and the aura it had were so well described that while I had no idea if what I was picturing was geographically correct, the atmosphere came through to me crystal clear.

Now, for the characters. They were fantastic, and even the smaller characters felt very fleshed out and real, so my feelings towards them are fairly strong - which I love. It makes the story feel that much more of an alternate reality to me. Anyway, as a strong minded female myself, I loved reading about Charlotte and her ability and determination to work with what she had and rock her position at the Institute. I honestly think she loves Henry, and it's so bittersweet to see the way their relationship plays out. I'm hoping Henry will emerge from his own world a little more in the future books and see the amazing woman he has in his life. (Does he love her? I don't know.) And maybe have an invention or two finally work the way he wants. Jessamine, however, made me nothing but angry/annoyed. I can understand her feelings to a point, but she seems so shallow and self-centered while those around her are able to see the bigger was very frustrating. But I'm holding off on truly disliking her until I'm done with the series. I'm sure there's more to her than what is currently being shown. And she's shown her brave side a couple times, which I'm hoping she embraces more. She could be a pretty wife and still be a badass if she wanted to.

And, of course, there's the love triangle - although I don't think it's quite a triangle yet. But the potential is definitely there. Tessa is an excellent heroine. I love her ability to think quickly and be brave even when it would be easier to run and hide. Her verbal sparring with Will was always fun to read, since I always wish I was someone who was clever and quick like that. And through it all, there's an innocent vulnerability there, a longing to not only find herself, but her place in the world around her; since it no longer seems to be the world she knew. She doesn't have to choose Jessamine's path, she could choose Charlotte's, or a mixture of both - and in that era, the possibility of options is truly tantalizing. I'm excited to see what path she ends up making for herself. The boys - oh, my night and day boys - are honestly hard to choose between. I hate to think that she'll have to choose one, since that will leave one without her. (And just to rant for a second, why are the good boys always overshadowed by the bad ones? Sigh...) Will, with his dark and brooding good looks and sharp wit - he's the bad boy that every girl feels drawn to and wants to tame. They always have this passion about them that is so magnetic, it's hard not to be drawn in. And while it might end well with many in the fictional world, I don't know how it will end with Will. He's so throroughly self-destructive that I don't know if he has it in him to love Tessa completely. That remains to be seen I guess. And then there's Jem. Ah, Jem. The nice boy. The boy who can look beyond his own emotions and have amazing empathy for others. (And he plays the violin! *double swoon*) His story is so sad, and yet his strong character amazes me. He is the boy you want to keep forever, because you know his love will never fade, even if it doesn't seem to burn as brightly as the bad boy's. And his relationship with Will, his ability to take him for who and what he is, is very admirable. While I'm definitely leaning towards Jem as the ultimate love interest, I'm really hoping that this triangle doesn't ruin Jem and Will's friendship. They understand each other so well, it would be a shame to see that ruined because they both love the same woman.

I love that Magnus Bane made an appearance, and I hope to see more of him in future books, especially from his perspective. I would love to see the world through his eyes for a few pages. I'm intrigued to see how Sophie plays into things, and how much I'll come to dislike Benedict and Gabriel Lightwood. And definitely, what is the Magister up to, and why is Tessa so important??? Next September can't get here fast enough!! (At least I'll have City of Fallen Angels to hold me over in April.)


*This is the first of 3 books in the Infernal Devices series. Clockwork Prince is set to be released September of 2011, and Clockwork Princess in November 2012.

Clockwork Angel
Cassandra Clare
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
479 pages
$19.99 (hardcover)

1 comment:

  1. I so loved this one as well, I'm always blown away by the worlds she creates and I get sucked in every time. I try to read slowly but I end up devouring her books. And Will and Jem? *sigh* Adored them:) Can't wait to read the next 2 in this series and the next 3 in the MI series! Great review!