Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices, #1
Genres: Steampunk, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (Imprint of Simon & Schuster)
Date Published: August 31st, 2010
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.
The year is 1878, the place is London. Our favorite characters from The Mortal Instruments series have yet to exist, or even be thought of yet. But new (or should I say old) characters we do get to meet. Tessa is a girl who has just moved from America to London. She received a letter from her brother Nate to come to London after their aunt dies. She’s scared of going to a new place, but also excited to see her brother again. However, when she gets there, scary surprises await her. After being kidnapped she learns that she is not just a normal girl, but has some very strange powers that are even unique to the Downworlders. She’s scared and confused and still has yet to see her brother. After escaping thanks to the Shadowhunters she meets new friends and foes and with their help, tries to get her brother back and learn what her new powers really consist of.
This is the first steampunk book I’ve really ever read. After gathering an understanding of what exactly steampunk is, I can definitely classify it as steampunk. That in itself is alright, but what I didn’t like most about this book is that it is rather staid for the first 250 pages. Although stuff is going on, there isn’t really too much action and I had trouble getting through the beginning. But, after the 250 page mark, things pick up dramatically and I started to really enjoy it and had trouble putting it down at that point.
As for the characters, I’m not really that attached to any of them. I really do like Jem, I will say. He’s very sweet and caring and just a very genuine person. Tessa was alright, and I can’t complain about her too much. But I still wasn’t very attached to her. Will is kind of a mixed bag. Sometimes I liked him and sometimes I didn’t. But I think that’s pretty much the feeling we’re supposed to have towards him at this point. There is obviously something bigger going on with him that we will learn as the series progresses, but at this point he is a frustrating character that can leave you feeling very confused and even a little peeved. But the character I disliked the most was Jessamine. There is absolutely nothing good about her character. She is very selfish and uncaring and just a biatch in the worst way possible. I could see reading about her for extended periods of time to get very tiring.
In addition to the new characters, we do get to see one character that we know and love from The Mortal Instruments series. I was very happy about this, but I won’t give it away. Although he/she must be a Downworlder because they are alive at this point! We also get to see several ancestors of the characters in The Mortal Instruments, so that was cool too.
The story itself was pretty good I will say. There were a lot of surprises at the end that I did not see coming at all, so that was cool. The intermingling of steampunk-esk machines was pretty interesting and I thought she did it well (although I have nothing to compare it to). But, in true Cassandra Clare form, the story leaves off with a cliffhanger. Because I’m not as attached to it as I was with The Mortal Instruments, I’m not as annoyed by it. I would like to know what happens because a lot of things that were key parts of this story were not resolved, but I think I won’t break a sweat waiting til December for the next book.
Overall, I certainly have mixed feelings about the book. If I were to rate the first half, it would be 2-3 stars, but if I were to rate the second half, I could easily give it 4 stars. So for me it was kind of all over the place. But, once it got it’s momentum going, it was really good and I am much more excited for the next book than I was when I started this one.