Friday, November 26, 2010

Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
479 pages, Hardcover
Published August 21, 2010
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.
First off: happy Thanksgiving, all of y'all book nerds/lovers. Second of all, I'm gonna be trying a new format for my reviews for a little while. I was going through some of my old reviews and realized I'm slightly sloppy when I write my rants (understatement of the year...). I love a lot of blogs with clean, detailed reviews and therefore, I'll be putting a slightly bit more time into creating mine. I'd really love feedback on this, so feel free to admonish my poor formatting skills or praise them. That being said, these reviews will be longer. A. Lot. Longer. So feel free to skip to the end and read the wrap-up paragraph.
So I picked up this book the instant I realized it was out (the day after it was released) and I've been dying to review it since the day after when I finished it. But then I realized I wanted to do the Mortal Instruments reviews first, so here this review is, a few months late but with a little more retrospect now.
Okay, so, Tessa is definitely not a strong character in the beginning of this book. By then end, however, she has been transformed and was practically a warrior. However, the journey between the two stages was a bit murky. She was smart and beautiful, a normally killer combination, but somehow I found her annoying. First of all, she was kind of helpless even when she had available assets. Her personality was okay, but nothing special; no sarcasm or quick remarks whatsoever from this young lady. Other than her gentleness verging on push-over status, I liked her better by the end. Now, for a quick rant: I have no clue what Tessa saw in Will; he was basically Jace without his caring side. He was mean more than half the time and was a total cad. Jace had redeeming qualities; Will had sarcasm and good looks. I just didn't get it. That being said, I absolutely adored Jem. He's officially my fictional boyfriend. At least until Jace breaks up with Clary. Anyways, Jem was sweet, funny, beautiful, a musician, and genuinely cared for Tessa it seemed. Jessamine, Clare's obvious reincarnation of Isabelle, was basically the same character with less to love. I just wanted to scream, "When you're a warrior it is not key to act like a lady." I wanted to slap her throughout the entire book and found her entire demeanor bothersome. Even her little heroic stunt at the end had me scoffing. Magnus Bane is back, which was awesome, but his small role wasn't all that redeeming. Lastly, not to give to much away, the villain was more of an ass than anything else.
Now, to the plot. Perhaps the books small saving grace. While Clare worked hard to keep her characters the exact same (but worse) as from the Mortal Instruments, the plot was actually interesting. It wasn't great or shocking (maybe the middle, a little) but it was intriguing and kept me up late flipping pages. The Dark Sisters weren't all that imposing, and neither were the later villains, save the vampires; they were actually kind of imposing and scary. Tessa's strange powers were definitely interesting, and I'm looking forward to seeing how she uses them later on. There's endless possibilities.
The writing was descriptive, but nothing special really. While in the Mortal Instruments readers were learning about this strange, mystical world with Clary, in Clockwork Angel we already knew about this world and I found it irritating how much time Clary put into re-explaining everything, from the miniscule details to the big, obvious things even new readers probably knew. This series was geared toward fans of the first series set in the Shadowhunter's world, and yet the actual book seemed to be made for new readers.
Overview: I'm still having mixed feelings for this book. It was interesting, gripping, and a couple of the characters were amazing. But at the same time I'm not going to go spouting off about how awesome it was. I'm not dying to get the sequel, but I'm definitely going to get it. The characters were generally moderate, not greatly developed or disastrous. The plot was original (I love all things steampunk, even if it plays a small part) and creative, but not nail-biting worthy. In general, I really enjoyed some of this book and hated other parts. An okay novel recommended to fans of the Mortal Instruments series or fantasy historical fiction fans.
Cover Rating: 4 stars
Character Rating: 3 stars
Plot Rating: 4 stars
Writing Style Rating: 3 stars
Overall Rating: 3.5 stars


T C Mckee said...

OMG! If my book ever gets published, I may not want you to read it. LOL! Seriously though, this review was great. It not only gave a picture of what to expect when I read this book but t also gave me yet another way to look at my own WIP. You just helped out more than you know. Thanks.

Book Kritik said...

I've been interested in this book yet can never find the time to go order it! Thanks for the review!

Mad Scientist said...

Everyone needs a little bit of steampunkery in their lives.

Have a pleasant night :)

Mad Scientist.

Caroline said...

@ T C - LOL, I'll go easy on you (if you let me read it) Thanks so much, it took a long time for this first one. Hopefully it'll be quicker after a while.

@ Book Kritik - No problem.

@ Mad Scientist - Don't we all? :)

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