Thursday, 28 March 2013

Review - Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

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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: 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.

Amazon UK

Clockwork Angel is the first book in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy, a prequel to the Mortal Instruments series set in Victorian London. Tessa Gray arrives in England from America expecting to meet her older brother, but instead she is taken prisoner by the sinister Dark Sisters, who awaken a power she never knew she had inside her: the ability to change her form into any other person. Escaping her prison, Tessa is forced to take refuge with the demon-hunting Shadowhunters, and encounters the hidden supernatural world beneath London. But it is the two boys she meets there who may be the real danger: the handsome and enigmatic Will, who is hostile to everyone; and Jem, gentle and kind but hiding a terrible secret. The two best friends may be opposites but both offer Tessa something she never knew she was missing – and she finds herself developing feelings for each of them that she doesn’t understand. Meanwhile, a sinister organisation is manufacturing automatons which, when combined with demon energies, could form an army to take down the Shadowhunters…

I absolutely love this series. Cassandra Clare brings the world of Victorian England vividly to life, and the characters are just as charismatic as the central crowd of the Mortal Instruments. Tessa is simultaneously strong-willed and vulnerable, and although her ability to change into others makes her uncertain of her own identity, she is determined to find out what happened to her brother. Will and Jem are opposites but have a strong bond. There is a cast of great supporting characters, including the reluctant Shadowhunter Jessamine; the hapless Henry and his long-suffering wife Charlotte, who runs the Institute; and the characters of Magnus Bane and Camilla make a welcome reappearance. I enjoyed trying to piece together the details connecting this series to The Mortal Instruments, but this is also an excellent story in its own right. I love the steampunk element, and I think it works really well with the supernatural background of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders: they fit just as well into 19th century Britain as into 21st century New York. With engaging characters, an unpredictable plot, and the first non-annoying love triangle I’ve encountered in a long while, this is a fantastic start to the series!

Rating: *****


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  2. I loved the Infernal Devices series! It made me fall in love with steampunk novels.