Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis (via 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.

My Take: Okay.  Where do I start?  How about: I liked the book.  A lot.  I loved the dim, sooty feel of the London streets.  I loved seeing how things that Jace and the Shadowhunters in The Mortal Instruments series use are being thought up and invented here.  I liked seeing how Charlotte, as a woman in Victorian England, is struggling to assert herself as she runs the Institute.

I adored Will.  I have no idea what his issues are (although I could hazard a guess.  I'd probably be wrong, but I could still guess) but the face he presents to those around him hides something deep.  I like Jem and his struggle.  I liked the juxtaposition of Tessa as a proper Victorian girl who is seeing that being proper might get her killed.  She's strong and brave and loyal to a fault.  And she's somehow different from any of the Downworlders we've seen before.

As with The Mortal Instruments, family becomes central to the development of the characters.  Tessa crosses an ocean to find her brother.  Charlotte accepts everybody into her makeshift family- Jessamine, Will, Jem, and those humans with the sight- and does her best to make the Institute more than just a place that they're living at.  She tries to make it a home and a haven for those within its walls.  Will has serious family issues that have only been hinted at.  Jem's entire existence is tied to the horror he and his family experienced.

It appears that this is yet another series by Cassandra Clare that is eating my brain.  How long before book 2 comes out?!?!

Other books by Cassandra Clare

Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
Review: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)
Review: City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3)
The Mortal Instruments fanpage @ Squidoo

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