CLOCKWORK ANGEL BY CASSANDRA CLARE
Description: Book #1 in The Infernal Devices YA trilogy
Publishing Information: November 4, 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
First Line: “The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.”
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IT IS AS GREAT A THING TO LOVE AS IT IS TO BE LOVED. LOVE IS NOT SOMETHING THAT CAN BE WASTED.
The year is 1878, and when Tessa Gray crosses the ocean from New York to London, she’s in for a nasty surprise. What began as a trip to visit her brother at his new job ends with a kidnapping… and a shocking discovery. Tessa is not the average human that she had grown up knowing she was. Instead, she has the power to transform into another person. Her kidnappers are willing to do anything to harness her powers in order to win the favor of their boss, a mysterious man who owns the unorthodox Pandemonium Club.
Fortunately, Tessa is able to escape and seek help from the Shadowhunters, a group whose sole purpose is to protect the world from evil creatures… creatures that Tessa had never believed existed. Amid a plot to stop a dastardly plan from happening, Tessa finds herself torn between her feelings for two Shadowhunter friends: Jem and Will. While the Shadowhunters are hoping to find a solution to save the world, Tessa only wants to find her brother, and maybe – just maybe – true love.
PROS & CONS
Okay, the first pro is an easy one for me: I finally read a Cassandra Clare book! I didn’t hate it either, and it was much easier for me to get through than City of Bones. However, considering how much these books are hyped up I’m guessing you’re already familiar with a lot of the pros I’ll be mentioning, so I’ll start with cons.
What do we want?
When do we want it?
Now, look. I understand that a lot of people read this series after reading The Mortal Instruments, or they read the books in publication order. Because of this, by the time they get to this book they are probably already very familiar with the whole Shadowhunter world, and don’t really need to know all of the nit-picky details. However, I haven’t read The Mortal Instruments yet, so I had a really hard time just being thrown into this new world. I have read about 200 pages of City of Bones, so I understood some parts better than I would’ve just going into this book alone, but it was still hard for me. Things started making sense and getting clearer about two-thirds of the way into the book, but by that point I was reluctant to keep reading. Because these books are advertised as a separate series, and you don’t need to read The Mortal Instruments to appreciate these books, it was really frustrating to feel as if all of this Shadowhunter rules and world history was something I should just know.
I think the lack of information provided was kind of due to Tessa’s lack of being a helpful protagonist. She wasn’t asking any questions. Like, she was just brought into the Shadowhunter Institute and told that she was a shape-changer, yet all she could think about was where her brother was. It just seemed unrealistic. While I can understand why she would be so concerned about her brother, who is her last remaining family member, it just doesn’t make sense that she wouldn’t care about all the Shadowhunter stuff at all. She’s believed she’s a normal person for 17 years and now suddenly she can turn into other people. And she’s like, Yeah, if I touch an object of yours I can turn into you and gain access to your thoughts. And yeah, I get that vampires and everything I thought were fake are real now. But… oh my goodness, where is Nate?
Don’t get me wrong though, I loved Tessa as a protagonist. Most young adult novels with female protagonists seem hopelessly unrealistic, because these protagonists are just so kick-butt. They never have self-doubt, and while it’s nice to have females represented as so strong in modern novels, it also can make them harder to relate to. I absolutely love Tessa’s character development. She goes from a very traditional girl who is a strong believer that women can’t fight and maids shouldn’t talk back to their masters to someone who is beginning to stand up for herself and making her own decisions.
Another thing I loved about this book was the time period and the way it was told. Not only did the book take place in 1878, but it was also told as if Cassandra Clare may have written it in 1878. There are many mentions to classic novels but they’re talked about as if they aren’t classics, but rather modern, popular books. The imagery and the words Clare uses also just give the book an old-timey, classic feel. I absolutely loved it.
As for the love triangle that is so often talked about, I thought it was pretty well-done. As of right now both boys seem to have a pretty good shot, although I’m definitely Team Jem. Will is a jerk, and though I’m sure he has some secret or back-story that will help him to redeem himself in the later books, I’m pretty positive I won’t be switching sides anytime soon. Jem is such a sweetheart and if Tessa doesn’t claim him, I have dibs.
The book did start out pretty slow and dragged at some parts, but it picked up so fast at the end and I loved it. There were bits and pieces that came off as pretty cliché, but it was such an entertaining and fun story. If you haven’t read these books yet, there’s probably a reason that you haven’t. I personally am not ready to take the plunge into the entire Mortal Instruments series, but I am really enjoying this series so far, so I would recommend starting with these. Like I said, there isn’t a ton of world building in the beginning of the book, but don’t give up. Everything starts to make sense if you push through it, and I’m really glad I finished it. I’ll definitely be continuing with the series.
**I know this a really popular series that people love to discuss, but please make sure not to comment anything that could be considered spoilers. I’ve already been spoiled on lots of different things in this series, so I’d really like to avoid any more at all costs. Thanks 🙂 **