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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare
Originally Published: 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
Source: Purchased

The Story

From the back of the book:

When 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 gaslight streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are 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 her brother and helping her new friends save the world … and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

The Response

In all honesty, I was disappointed by Clockwork Angel, and there are two major reasons for this. First of all, I have read so many other wonderful steampunk book that this one rather pales in comparison. (Hello, Horatio Lyle, nothing can compare with your awesome steampunkeryness.) Which, I suppose is rather unfair for this book. I’ve read so many other awesome ones that the bar has been set high, and while this is a steampunk book, it’s also a Cassandra Clare book, and I experienced her writing outside of the steampunk genre. And I loved her writing style. So I should really be judging this by her writing and not by comparison to others in the genre. However, I did anyway.

The second reason is related more specifically to Clare’s writing: these characters are so very similar to the characters in her Mortal Instruments books that I’m left wondering whether she can write anyone different. Throw Jace and Clary back a few hundred years and you’ve got Will and Tessa. (And then take into account that Jace and Will are oh-so-similar to the Draco in her HP fanfic The Draco Trilogy… Hmm…) There’s no variety and it felt old – I had been through this already, I wanted something different.

Which is sad because I love the way her stories flow! And the snark she enlists! And they do have fun plots! But when the characters aren’t anything new and you’re tired of them… well, it was a little disappointing.

That said, there were two really awesome characters in the book: Magnus Bane and Jem. Magnus Bane! Lalala! He makes me happy. So happy to see him again! And Jem, oh! I really wish that Tessa would realize that Jem is the one she should be in love with, not Heathcliff Will, because Jem is so utterly charming and lovely and WORTHY of being loved by a kick-arse female. Hrmph.

Moving away from characters, though, this was quite good. There were times when I was surprised by what was happening, and the writing drew me in to a point where I didn’t want to put down the book. That’s what Clare is really good at, in my opinion: completely immersing the reader in her world, making them forget that they are reading, and just really allowing them to enjoy the adventures the characters are going on. Even if they don’t particularly like the characters. There really wasn’t a dull moment in the book at all.

The Bottom Line

Not as great as the books in The Mortal Instruments, but it has some redeeming qualities. It’s a fun read, but not really that original. Will probably continue reading the trilogy just for Magnus Bane and Jem.

Other Reviews

Bookshelves of Doom, Bitten by Books, The Story Siren, Capricious Reader, Good Books and Good Wine, A Fair Substitute for Heaven. Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Let me know and I’ll add your link.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:31 pm June 22, 2011.
Category: Young Adult
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  • http://myreadingbooks.blogspot.com Kailana

    One of these days I will try this series…