Sunday, 4 December 2011

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

3.5 Stars. Paranormal Young Adult

The ending was suitably cliffhangerey and now I really want to get my hands on book two...oh Ms. Clare how you toy with us all!

Obviously, as anyone who knows me well can attest to, I am a huge Cassandra Clare fan. I whipped through the Mortal Instruments series in a weekend and the proceeded to talk about the genius of the storyline non-stop. Still guilty of that sometimes I think. I had the pleasure of meeting her in Dublin when she was here about a month back for a book signing and the meeting only made me more excited to start the Infernal Devices series when she answered questions from the audience about the book and the release of Clockwork Prince.

So, knowing that the release date was coming soon, I decided it was time to finally pull Clockwork Angel off my shelf and read it. I knew it would end in Clare fashion, with a nice cligghanger to keep us all guessing, which is partly why I waited so long to read this one until I knew book two would soon be in my hands.

I was intrigued by the storyline, the way Clare managed to converge the world of the Mortal Instruments and meld it together with the Steampunk genre that has become such a craze lately. The villains were new but recognizable if you've read her first series. The characters were much the same, thrust into the Shadowhunter world but different given the time period they live in and the fact that they are at the beginning of a war and don't have the luxury of looking back on past events in the same way as Jace, Alec, Izzy, Clary and company do in present day.

The story begins when Tessa Gray arrives on the shores of England to reunite with her brother Nate after the death of their aunt back in America. She is abducted by the Dark Sisters, two witches intent on unleashing a power Tessa never knew she had. She is later saved by Will Herondale and brought to the London institute for safety. She is introduced to the rest of the cast of characters, Jessamine, a shadowhunter by blood and birth but a lady at heart who wants nothing more than to turn her back on the world she knows in favour of ignorance and marriage in the Victorian world. Jem, Will's best friend, delicate and gentle, caring and understanding, who hides a sickness that incapacitates him. Charlotte and Henry, the married couple who run the institute as well as Thomas and Sophie, two servants who have the power of sight and can see beyond the mist of the Shadowhunters into their underground world - much as Clary could in the Mortal Instruments series. The action takes off as readers come to learn that Nate has disappeared and is supposedly being held captive by the Dark Sisters, Tessa is being hunted for her power by an unknown villain referred to as the Magistar who is threatening the Shadowhunters with an army made of neither angel or demon and therefore cannot be killed by the instruments used by the Shadowhunters.

The overall storyline was interesting and kept me reading, the characters were good, although lacked a bit of the zeal and were less relateable than characters from Clare's first series. Tessa as the main female character had moments that really grated on me. She is American coming into an unknown Victorian England world and all she knows and understands about society or the customs she has learned from books. This could have been cute, but was mostly annoying because her views were so antiquated. Obviously it fits with the way society was in the Victorian era, but instead of seeming real or reliable, Tessa only seemed naive and her naivete was annoying. She insisted more than once that it was wrong for women to be Shadowhunters, believing that women didn't have the same blood lust as men. She learned a lot through out the book, but I'm still shy of loving her.

Will was my favourite character. He stood out clearly to me as the main male character. Whether this changes as the love triangle develops further between Tessa, Will and Jem, I'll have to wait and see. So far though, he is the character I am most interested in. He was caustic and rude, charming and flippant, caring and quiet, quick to anger but clearly wracked with some sort of guilt of self-loathing. I was fascinated by the way he could be so much at once and can't wait to learn more about him and the secret he's carrying as we move into book 2. The cliffhanger at the end of this book had much to do with Will - and that's all I'll say.
He and Tessa had chemistry, but I felt like his feelings for her came on suddenly - mostly because he plays his emotions off so well and hides his thoughts so cleverly that there was hardly a moment when as a reader you knew what he was really thinking or feeling where Tessa was concerned. Also, because I was annoyed with her at the beginning, I wondered what it was Will thought so lovely about her. She had her moments, and these moments were mostly in her interactions with Will, but I wanted to see a bit more lightness from her.

Jem was sweet and kind and clearly has a good heart. I'm never as fascinated by the 'good guy' the tortured souls are always much more interesting a read!

Sophie I liked, she has zeal and strength and I like that Clare is bringing her in, even if only in a smaller side role. She has a lot to give to the story I think and I'm interested by what was revealed about her feelings for a certain boy. I think it could makes things very interesting.

Overall, the story was a good introduction to the Infernal Devices. I am geared up to read the next books in the series, although I will admit it took me longer to get into this book than it did in book 1 of the Mortal Instruments. The book lacked a bit of action that would have helped the thrust of the story. But around page 320 or so, I was suddenly sucked in and the story took off until the end. It happens with first books in a series, having to set up characters and back stories and the world itself, so I understand the lack of action could have been because of this. I love Clare though and will pretty much always read anything she writes. She has a great knack for storytelling and I can't wait to see this series fly in book two.


1 comment:

  1. Yup, definitely lacked the kick that her previous books had. I'm excited to see where the story goes next though...