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Friday, 27 August 2010

Review: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release date: UK 6th September 2010
Genre: Steam punk, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Target audience: 12+

Summary from Amazon:
Magic is dangerous - but love is more dangerous still... When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends, and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

My expectations for Clockwork Angel could not have been higher. Cassandra Clare is one of my favourite authors ever! So I am pleased to say that returning to the world of the Shadowhunters was everything I hoped it would be and more.

The Infernal Devices series is set in Victorian London and the industrial landscape of the city was very much a part of the novel. Young Tessa boards a steamship from America and arrives in Southampton expecting to be greeted by her brother Nate. He is strangely absent and instead two older ladies convey her from the dock to their lodging house. Tessa knows nothing of the shadow world that lies just beneath the surface of Victorian London but she is suddenly pulled into it and cruelly abused.

Meanwhile two trainee Shadowhunters – Will and Jem – are trying to piece together a mystery that seems to begin with the strange and almost inhuman death of a mundane girl. Will is a scallywag and does everything he can to insult the Shadowhunters who are his makeshift family at the London Institute. Jem is a complete darling, sensitive, caring and fiercely loyal. They make a great team and reminded me in the most bizarre and brilliant way of a young Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. (Will being Holmes, Jem being Watson).

The two stories come crashing together when Will and Jem come to the rescue of Tessa. That is not to say that Tessa is weak, she is a very strong character, independent of thought, brave, resourceful but she knows very little of the Downworld and the creatures that the Nephilim (Shadowhunters) seek to keep in a state of balance. If you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments, you needn’t worry, Clockwork Angel will teach you everything you need to know about the Nephilim and the shadow world.

Clockwork Angel has all of Cassandra Clare’s trademark witticisms, her ability to make you love the darkest and most tormented character and a plot that you won’t know how it ends until you get there. I also loved the references to so many different novelists, playwrights and poets in this book. Tessa is a voracious reader and interprets many of the experiences she is awakened to in the shadow world through her knowledge of literature.

Although I am not a fan of steam punk (I have this unfathomable ability to not understand anything that relates to machines), I did love the industrial and mechanical backdrop to the story. It felt like a true novel of the city and not a sort of imposed reality which just illustrates further Cassandra Clare’s ability as a writer to make you a part of the story.

Overall, this is a superb story that has it all!

Oh and it is probably worth adding that I am Team Will...

Thank you to the amazingly wonderful people at Walker Books for sending me the book to review. They are the true descendants of Raziel.


Book Crazy Jenn said...

WHAT Will, your kidding right? OMG Jem is the guy HOLY COW :) Great review though! ;D

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

I am very enthusiastic about reading this novel, so your review is very reassuring. You really wet my appetite for this novel. Thanks for sharing!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Go, Team Will! :) And I agree that Will and Jem are like Sherlock and Watson, though it hadn't occured to me before your review!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Ooooo I want it even more now. Thanks for the great review.

Nina said...

Now I seriousley can't wait anymore! It sounds way too good. :)I have not read anything written by Cassandra Clare, so I'am pretty excited to find out if I like her style.

Christina/Book Addict said...

Great review! I am so excited for this one. I am heading to her signing on Sept. 1st. Can't wait! Team Will----hmm...can't wait to see which team I am on....we tend to agree, so I am sure I will follow suit. I am not sure how I feel about steam punk as well, but you are right.... Clare seems to make most things appealing so I look forward to this read!

Jesse Owen said...

Great review, this one sounds so good and i can't wait to read it!

Lauren said...

While I'm not entirely sure how much I want to read this (I keep changing my mind about it), I am intrigued by your mention of steampunk aspects. I also really like the sound of Tessa, being such a reader herself. Thanks for such an interesting review!