Coming August 31, 2010!
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.
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!