by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 31st 2010
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When Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother in Victorian England, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organization called the Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she has the power to transform into another person. 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, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. She soon finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends: James and Will. As Tessa is drawn deep into a plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, she 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.Cassandra Clare is arguably one of the most popular YA authors right now, particularly for the Mortal Instruments series. I read City of Bones and City of Ashes (still haven't gotten around to the others yet) and honestly I wasn't that impressed. Jace didn't sweep me off my feet, Clary was just meh, and overall I thought it read like a bunch of rehashed elements from other popular stories and franchises *cough* Star Wars *cough*. That being said I didn't have very high expectations for Clockwork Angel. Well, Cassandra Clare surprised me with this one because wow, it was SO much better than The Mortal Instruments. It may be because I had such low expectations to begin with but dang it I ENJOYED THIS BOOK.
I think what surprised me the most about this book was Cassandra Clare's ability to write a paranormal set in Victorian England. I can't imagine that being easy but she pulled it off like a charm. On top of that I really enjoyed the steampunk elements. I've never understood the huge draw people have to steampunk but I thought it worked well in this story and though I haven't been converted into a steampunk lover I definitely have a new appreciation for the genre.
I don't know what it is about Cassandra Clare's characters but I've never really felt a strong connection to any of them. Tessa was a fine protagonist and I rooted for her throughout the story but I never felt like I wanted to be her best friend or really know her. As for the guy characters I surprised myself in this book by liking Will over Jem. Because Jem is part Asian (and everyone knows how I feel about Asian guys in books) I thought he would be my favorite hands down but I actually think he fell a little flat. Will on the other hand was wonderfully douchey and conceited, but at the same time he had a lot of layers and this deep dark secret that made him terribly intriguing. I'm not gonna lie, I fought my love for Will and tried to force myself to like Jem instead but finally I resigned myself to the fact that I was picking the douchey character over the nice guy character. My literal thought was "WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING TO ME?!?!" But such is the way of Will Herondale. :P
The fact that the characters of Clockwork Angel were a little "meh" to me and yet I still enjoyed it speaks volumes for how good the novel really is. Normally I am a character driven reader and I find it hard to enjoy books with characters I can't connect with, but that wasn't the case with Clockwork Angel. Instead of getting bored or disinterested I easily got sucked in to Tessa's story and I felt like Cassie Clare employed the perfect mix of intrigue and plot twists to keep me hooked. There was espionage, an evil underworld, and suspense in spades. On top of that the story was really quite original which I was surprised by considering how unoriginal I felt the Mortal Instruments series was. Nice job Cassie Clare!
Overall Clockwork Angel was a surprisingly enjoyable read. The characters fell a little flat for me (though I'm sure that isn't the case with everyone) but the story itself was fascinating and clever enough to keep me interested. I also loved the fact that this was a sort of steampunk/paranormal/historical fiction hybrid. If that isn't unique I don't know what is! I give Clockwork Angel 4 out of 5 ice cream cones.
I don't know if I feel invested enough in these characters to continue the series (anyone want to convince me otherwise?) but Clockwork Angel definitely made for an enjoyable read.