Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Pages: 560 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Overall Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★
Synopsis: 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: James, 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.
Has it ever happened to you that you hear about a book, or series of books, and everyone’s opinion is pretty much the same? Be it a good or bad opinion but every single person who has read it says the same thing? It definitely awakes curiosity, doesn’t it?
Well, The Infernal Devices was just that for me. As you may know from my previous book reviews, I started The Mortal Instruments a few months back, though these were mainly because I had watched Freeform’s Shadowhunters series and thought it to be very interesting. So I looked up the books and ordered them; I knew there was a prequel so I decided to add them to my chart as well. But these three previous books were something else; I had read and heard very mixed reviews of Clare’s first series but this one had the same tune: “My favorite series ever!” or “Best fantasy books I’ve ever read!” or “Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs are everything!” and all of this just made me want to read them all the more. If millions of people have such strong, positive feelings about the books, they have to be good, right?
They were all right. Cassandra Clare’s writing gets infinitely better this time around. It is a huge and overwhelming task to create a story in a time period that is long gone and it takes meticulous research and dedication to pull that off to make the world and setting believable to the reader. I could actually hear the British Victorian accent in my head every time the characters spoke!
The author’s storytelling also took a big step forward and had so much development that even though, as per usual in her books, nothing much happens for several chapters, it doesn’t feel dull or makes you grow impatient, you simply bask in the every day musings of these characters you grow to know and love in a heartbeat. Of course, there’s no affirming that this is a perfect book but it is very carefully planned and even the characters feel throughly build, with strong back stories that make you feel for them and also understand them even when you don’t necessarily agree with them or their actions.
Carrying on with the characters, I love that Tessa Gray is such a strong, compelling female lead. She is the type of heroine I wish and hope many girls aspire to become and look up to. She is determined, stubborn and brave but also gentle and loving. She makes mistakes and takes challenges head on. Plus, c’mon people, she is a total book nerd, what’s not to love?! Also, the mystery behind her powers and true birth really keeps you on your toes, waiting for the moment of the Big Reveal. So far, it is still a mystery, half way through Book 2.
Then we get to the gents, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs. Jem does not feature as heavily in this first installment but his few moments are powerful and endearing. You root for him from the first time and he shares so much wisdom, calm and love that you can’t help but wish such a guy existed in your life. Then, there is Will. His parabatai and your local rebellious bad guy. At first, I must admit I was skeptical about him, being quite over the “bad guy” trope. Modern day Will would probably own a motorcycle, that’s just how cliché he was for me at the beginning. Yes, he is witty and funny from the first time he opens his mouth but I was cautious at first, wondering just what made him so attractive to readers. Then I kept on reading and found out why. It is funny, because I can’t quite explain it with words… He’s just one of those characters that sneaks into your heart and when you least realize it you’re already gone for him. And I was pleasantly surprised to learn that his bad guy attitude is totally realistic, if not always justified. You understand why he acts the way he acts and you are even able to empathize with him, which just breaks the trope completely for me. That is a nice change in the pace, Cassie, kudos to you!
I believe readers that have yet to submerge in the Shadowhunters’ world will enjoy The Infernal Devices more than The Mortal Instruments, since the writing and storytelling have really matured from one to the other. I have yet to tackle the second half of the TMI series so maybe I will be pleasantly surprised with those as well but so far nothing can beat Victorian-era, swoon-worthy Shadowhunters for me.
Have you read TID? What are your opinions on this first book? Let me know!