Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jenn's Review: Clockwork Angel

Summary:  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. ~blurb

Review:  I have purposely stayed away from Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, because once I start reading her books I just can't put them down and I feel the need to plow recklessly through the rest of the books in the series. Honestly, I didn't mean to pick it up, but once I had I was riveted.

Having read the first three books in The Mortal Instruments series, I decided to start The Infernal Devices series instead of continuing on with The Mortal Instruments, because that is the order in which Ms. Clare wrote them, and as I mentioned The Infernal Devices is just as addictive. The formula is similar, two male Shadowhunters, a female Shadowhunter, and an outsider: Will is just as difficult and moody as Jace (which is understandable), Jem is more quiet and reserved like Alec, Jessamine is as fashion conscious as Isabella but far more reluctant to accept her role as a Shadowhunter, and then there's Tessa who, like Clary, has just discovered her abilities.

With such a similar structure, one might think that it couldn't possibly seem fresh and new, but Ms. Clare makes it seem utterly so. She has tweaked the personalities, thrown them into a different era in new situations, and turned the love interests around. I really enjoyed Tessa, who is a strong minded female of the 19th century, and her ability is fascinating. I also like that there is no easy solution for Tessa and where her abilities come from, though I have an inkling. Charlotte and Henry were endearing and it was interesting to see how the chauvinism of the age casts a murky hue even on the Nephilim. Charlotte's constantly battling for equal ground even though she is clearly as capable as her peers. And as much as I would like to resent Jessamine for her vane attempts to abandon her heritage, I do understand her. Will and Jem are a complimentary team reminiscent of Alec and Jace, though their relationship is very different. Both Will and Jace are quintessential tomented heroes; Will has a sharp tounge that covers a faux bad boy image whereas Jace is a reckless bad boy.  And I loved seeing a different side to Magnus.

It's fascinating to see the Clave from a different point of view.  The Institute in London has a similar dynamic to that in New York, and yet so very different in practice. Ms. Clare has taken an entire back story from another series and made it come alive in an entirely new light.  The plot twist completely blew me away. I didn't even have a sneaking suspicion of where things were headed, though in hindsight, I probably should have. I read fast and furiously to the end and now all I want to do is pick up Clockwork Prince. There are many questions left unaswered, though the main plot was aptly resolved. I need answers, so I will be continuing with The Infernal Devices soon because I can't stay away from Cassandra Clare for too long.

Final Take:  5/5


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