Thursday, August 5, 2010

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


Coming August 31, 2010!

When Tessa Gray steps off the boat in Victorian London, she expects to meet her beloved brother, the only family she has left. Instead, the 16-year-old finds a brusque and burly man waiting to accompany her to the carriage of two bizarre women, the Dark Sisters. Tessa soon finds herself a prisoner, locked away in the Dark Sisters' creepy mansion (and former brothel), learning to use her powers - powers she knew nothing about until the sisters forced the unwanted knowledge upon her. Tessa is a Downworlder - one of a whole host of magical beings haunting the streets of London - with the unique ability to transform at will into another person, living or dead. After a near-escape goes horribly wrong, Tessa almost despairs of escaping her gloomy hell - until a dark boy with the face of an avenging angel bursts into her prison and executes an impromptu rescue mission. With nowhere else to go, Tessa takes refuge at the London Institute with the boy and his band of fellow warriors, the Shadowhunters - a race descended from man and angels sworn to protect humankind - and quickly learns that the world is not what she believed it to be. As Tessa is disillusioned about the existence of vampires, werewolves, warlocks and even demons, she realizes that she's not the only one in danger. Tessa is just a pawn in a deadly plot to destroy the Shadowhunters and unleash the darkness of the Downworld on humankind.

Clockwork Angel is a sensory experience. Cassandra Clare vividly describes every scene and character, bringing them immediately to life and casting a spell over the reader with her flowing imagery. Victorian London is the perfect setting for a tale of dark magic, dangerous games and tortured romance - with its grimy streets and gloomy air it's not hard to imagine that the back alleys are harboring deadly secrets. This novel is a pitch-perfect blend of historical fiction, fantasy and a little steampunk.

The cast of characters is as diverse as it is captivating. Each one sparks with life, fun and quirky, enamoring the reader instantly with their unique voices. Tessa is a tough and loyal heroine, if a little naive, enduring the unfathomable with grace beyond her years and sheltered upbringing. Yet, it's the inhabitants of the London Institute who steal the show with their lighthearted banter in the midst of their militant lifestyle. Will is brooding, inscrutable, occasionally maddening, and absolutely heart-stealing - like Prince Charming's bad boy twin. The scintillating love/hate relationship and sharp-tongued banter between the heroine and her frustratingly enticing counterpart is one of the highlights of the novel. In contrast to Will, Jem is wise and insightful beyond his years, and his mild temper and unswerving loyalty are endearing (as is his ability to put up with Will).  Amid the drama, Henry provides the comic relief. Hapless Henry can only be described as a mad scientist gone amok with his Urkel-esque inventions that tend to go horribly and hilariously wrong, leaving his long-suffering but fierce wife Charlotte to be the brains of the operation. The familial feel of the Institute is sweet and heartwarming - the band of orphaned warriors brought together by their shared fate.

Characters are nothing without a plot, however, and the plot of Clockwork Angel is captivating. Clare creates her own world in the shadows of London with its own laws, punishments, government and traditions. The Shadow World draws the reader in completely, enveloping them in its air of danger and mysticism. The interactions among the menagerie of mythical monsters are fascinating; Clare allows readers to view each race in turn, while periodically throwing them together and letting the fur fly. The mythology of the Downworld, though intricate, is completely coherent and one of the most intriguing aspects of the story, while the haunting quotes from poetry and literature sprinkled throughout the novel capture the emotional essence and add spice to the storytelling. Clockwork Angel holds the rare, perfect balance between romance and action - both the battle scenes and the personal dramas are heart-pounding. Clare's action scenes are brilliantly constructed, putting the reader in the midst of the horrific and turbulent chaos. The novel keeps up a constant stream of action and plows ahead without pausing for breath, all leading up to the stunning conclusion, full of labyrinthine twists that will leave readers shocked and salivating for the sequel, Clockwork Prince.

Rating: 


Disclosure: I received an advanced review copy of this novel as part of Book it Forward ARC Tours. This did not affect my review in any way.

Click here to preorder Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare






Coming Soon! Interview with author Cassandra Clare!






**NEWS** For anyone who was unable to participate in the live chat with Cassandra Clare, she announced that there will be two more books in the Mortal Instruments series after City of Fallen Angels (April 5, 2011) - City of Lost Souls (2012) and City of Heavenly Fire (2013)! Sadly, I couldn't attend because of previous plans made prior to the live chat announcement, but you can read about the highlights over on Examiner.com. I'd love to hear from anyone who was able to attend in the comments!

23 comments:

Kate Evangelista said...

You don't know how much I envy you right now. Like, seriously envying you.

cynthial11 said...

Great review! I can't wait to read it, I've been looking forward to it for so long. =)

SusanKMann said...

Excellent Review. I can't wait to read it. x

Chas @ LLL Reviews said...

AHHHHHHHH!! All 5s?! I believe that! After reading the MI series I know Cassandra can deliver!=)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Holy cow! I'm going to have to get this!

curlygeek04 said...

This sounds amazing. I'm looking forward to reading it!

The Bookish Type said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone! I'm SO glad the review conveyed how AMAZING this book is! I definitely recommend reading it as soon as it hits shelves! =)

Diana said...

Cassandra Clare is one of my favorite author. The book is just perfect!!!

Mary Ellen said...

I loved this book. Before I read it I was really hoping it would be as good as the Mortal Instruments series and I wasn't disappointed!

Lynsy said...

Yes! I love this book. I can't wait for the next installment.

nfmgirl said...

I actually received this one from SecretSanta. So it is sitting on my shelf just waiting on me to find the time for it. Hearing such good things!

Karen Senoo said...

I've seen so many good reviews about the author and this book that I just can't wait any longer to read this one! Have to buy it lol

@Tibiux

Lexie said...

So, I have to admit I was not a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments series. I wasn't even sure I wanted to read this one. But I'm glad I did. I really like historical settings and this one was perfect for the story. The only thing I wanted more of was Tessa's relationships (I'm Team Jem!) Hopefully the sequels will go into that more.

Vivien said...

Loved TMI, but I really really enjoyed the victorian/steampunkness of this novel. :)

Rabid Fox said...

I'm still trying to warm up to steampunk, though I have read a couple of very good reads in the subgenre. And I've enjoyed Clare's Mortal Instruments series, so I'd be quite willing to give it a chance. Reviews like this further convince me that I should have it on my wish list.

Moirae(thefates) book reviews said...

I have never read anything by her. I've read stuff by her friends Holly Black and Sarah Rees Brennan, everyone seems to like Cassandra Clare, I should give her books a try.

Lane

Naj said...

I gave 5 stars to this book as well! I agree the plot and characters are very captivating! :D Great Review!

Anne said...

I currently have this one out from the library and it's next on the list. To be honest, until I read your review, I didn't even know what it was about, I just got it on the basis that anything Steampunk and Cassandra Clare must be good! Great review, and I look forward to reading it!

Akasha Hale & Lexus Salvatore said...

5 stars! I believe that. After reading the M.I series I know Cassandra can deliver

Sasha Switz said...

This review described how I felt about Clockwork Angel PERFECTLY. I absolutely fell in love with this series from the first page, just like I did with The Mortal Instruments. Your review deifinitely captured that it words. Great job!

Syki said...

I LOVED this book... as other books by Cassandra. From the beginnig I didn't think I can like it... but I fell in love with this story. And I think have crush on Will :D :D You can blame me? :D

Jennifer said...

I have not yet read a book by Cassandra Clare. But I've heard so many good things about this book.

I have to admit the past element is probably what has made me hesitant. But I've read so many positive reviews I guess I should give it a try.

It has been on my to read list. But just never made it to the top.

krazzyme said...

cassandra clare=geinus
enuff said
(RELEASE QUICKLY)

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