Saturday, December 8, 2012

Book Review: "Clockwork Angel" by Cassandra Clare

book cover image of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Toward the end of this past summer, my book bully friend asked me to go to a book signing with her in New York State.  It was a four+ hour drive and I wasn't familiar with any of the authors (besides knowing they were popular YA authors).  But I went, because I trust my book bully friend and knew that it would probably be worth it.  The authors were Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan and Cassandra Clare.  I had a great time at the signing, which was well attended - some even came dressed as favorite characters and brought gifts for Clare - and with my limited about-to-become-a-grad-student-but-completely-unable-to-leave-a-bookstore-empty-handed funds, I picked out five books, two by Clare (Clockwork Angel and City of Bones).

I only just now got to read Clockwork Angel and whoa....  this is what happened.  I was about halfway through the book last night and I set the book down only to request the next book in this series from my library's website.  I finished the book this morning, checked my email and Clockwork Prince is already waiting for me to pick it up!  I am only sitting here writing this right now because I have to wait until my husband gets home before I can leave and pick up the book at the library.  Yes.  I am completely 100% serious.  I liked it that much.

So what is it about?  I had absolutely no idea when I bought them, that is how much I trust my friend.  Even at the signing, Clare read a passage from the upcoming Clockwork Princess but I still didn't have a good grasp of what was going on.  So here's a quick summary:  It is 1878 London, and Tessa Gray has just arrived from New York.  She is trying to meet up with her brother, the only family she has left in the world, but instead falls into the world of the Downworlders and Shadowhunters.  She is captured, tortured, made to do unworldly things - she complies only with the hope that she can save her brother Nate from the trouble he is in.  She discovers things about herself and the world she thought she knew...  and tries to reconcile these ideas within herself.  She finds help, knowledge, support  and maybe even love from the Shadowhunters...  but is it too late to stop the evil plans already set in motion?  Are they doomed?

There is so much to like about this book - this world that Clare has created.  I love the Victorian London descriptions, the use of literary quotes and the costuming of the time.  I love the struggle Tessa feels with her traditional ideas of what is proper versus what is real and necessary.  I love the balance of Will and Jem, two of the Shadowhunters, and how they are so different yet completely and utterly loyal to each other.  The rest of the Shadowhunters and those that live with them in the Institute.  The mystery, the fighting, all of it....  really makes for a fun and absorbing read.  Like I said, I am running out to start the next book in this series... and then I'll likely be very impatient for the third book due in March.  BUT, I have the whole Mortal Instruments series to catch up on in the meantime...  especially as the City of Bones movie is already in production.  Guess how I'll be spending my winter break?

Quick question for those of you who have read this already:  Is this considered 'steam punk'?

*****
Clockwork Angel
by Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010
476 pages
Series:  The Infernal Devices Book #1
Source:  Purchased New
*****
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5 comments:

seagreen reader said...

This sounds great - I'll definitely be getting it. I hadn't heard of the author, so thank you for bringing her to my attention. Joanne

Aarti said...

I have often picked up and then set back down Clare's previous series of books (which I think are set a little bit later than this one? The City of Angels/Ashes/something else series). But I think I'd really like them. Generally, I avoid paranormal stories, but maybe I'll give this one a shot.

Cait said...

Haha, this absolutely mimics my experience of Cassandra Clare!!! I bought this, started it one night, then ordered the mortal instruments trilogy (as it was then)before I even finished it I loved it that much. The I read the TMI series straightaway too. I love her books so much, I'm so glad you loved this!! It's a mishmash of genres really, CC identifies herself as writing urban fantasy, but obviously this has historical and yes, steampunk elements too.

I am actually insanely jealous about your signing, SRB is like, my favourite author and HB and CC come close second. I hope you bought some of SRB's books, they are amazing!!!

The Cait Files

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

Cait - I did get 2 books by SRB and already read them - Demon's Lexicon and Team Human. Also, she is hilarious in person.... they all are really! I would go out of my way to see them again!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I've heard of these but didn't really have any interst in reading them. Now I'm going to have to!

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