Monday, August 16, 2010

Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices, #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderry Books
ARC, 476 pages (Received from Around the World ARC Tours)
Date Published: August 31, 2010

Descriptions (Taken from Goodreads)
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: Jem, 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 problem with creating an entirely new story in an already established world is that there are expectations from everyone who has read the previous stories. As someone who read and loved the Mortal Instruments series, I had high hopes for the opener in the Infernal Devices series. Unfortunately, Clockwork Angel came up short.

Overall, the plot and the characters seemed too much like those from the TMI world. Will is startlingly similar to Jace, just as Tessa has many of Clary’s traits; Jessamine even reminded me of Isabelle and Jem has a more introverted personality like Alec. It just felt all too familiar. Almost like a retelling with different names and locations. Instead of a villain like Valentine raising a demon army, the Magister is planning on employing an army of clockwork people infused with demonic energies. Both people are power hungry and out for themselves. It took me a while, but I was able to move past the similarities and enjoy the story for its Victorian touch and slightly steampunk nature.

Aside from the TMI similarities, the main problem I had with this book is that it was incredibly slow. The build up took far too long. I couldn’t even bring myself to truly care for the characters or the story until I broke the 300 page mark. After that, it was much more fast-paced and the plot really started moving along.

Even with such a slow start, I did enjoy Clockwork Angel. Any fan of the Shadowhunter world will appreciate seeing the familiar characters like Magnus Bane (and Church!) and hearing about the Lightwoods that Isabelle and Alec descended from. Will’s backstory is alluded to over and over and that really piqued my interest. Tessa’s obviously unique nature presents many possibilities in the future and Jem’s illness sure had me curious. While this wasn’t quite what I had expected, I’ll be continuing the Infernal Devices series to see just where Clare plans on taking us.

Opening line (from prologue): The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts. ~ pg. 1

Favorite line(s): “If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.” ~ pg. 283
*This is the ARC version and lines, cover art, etc. may be subject to change before official publication.
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

2 comments:

Kaitlyn (Kaitlyn in Bookland) said...

This is interesting.. maybe I enjoyed CA so much more because I didn't read TMI before. It will be fun to see if I prefer The Infernal Devices over TMI. Thanks for the honest review!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I've never been a huge steampunk fan and I felt this had a lot of steampunk aspects to it, so that may have contributed a good deal. There was just something about it that didn't do it for me like TMI did, but I'm happy you enjoyed it nonetheless :D

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