Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA, steampunk, fantasy
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry, 2010
Tessa never thought she had magic powers - not until, upon leaving her home in America to go to London, she is kidnapped by two twisted women who force her to change shape. Confused about why she is there and from whence her power stems, Tessa becomes caught up in a complicated underworld of vampires, warlocks, werewolves, and, more than anything, the Nephilim - mysterious demon-hunters with angelic lineage who fight to rid the world of demons.
I have to be honest - I read this book a month ago. I am grievously behind in my YA reviews, as I post them only once a week but occasionally read them more frequently than that. Hopefully I will still be able to do this book justice.
To be honest, when I started out, I was concerned about where this would go. Yes, I read Twilight, and I enjoy the occasional medieval fantasy, but this dark, demon-infested world is territory I don't usually traverse. However, I stuck with it and soon became completely swept up in Ms. Clare's fascinating world. I think one of the unwritten rules for writing a good fantasy is to create the whole world, complete with rules, geography, and customs. While all of this may not find its way into the story, it has to be there for it to be believable and consistent. Clockwork Angel had this world, fully realized. Ms. Clare held secrets about the world tantalizingly over my head, making my eager to read more and find out what would happen next.
I also thought the characters were excellent, which is usually the deciding factor for me. If I were to pick a favorite, it would have to be Jessamine, the spoiled, prissy girl that hates violence and wants nothing more than a life of beautiful dresses and adoration. She is obnoxious and patronizing but beneath it all, the girl has a backbone, and I enjoyed her reluctant fighting scenes. I also thought Ms. Clare did an excellent job with the requisite paranormal romance love triangle - the boys were very different, and each compelling in their own way. Will is handsome, angry, and passionate - the perfect "bad boy." Jem is sensitive, understanding, and tragic - the "good guy" that we can't help but hope will get the girl (although we don't find out who will win out in this installment). They both have secrets of their own, some which are revealed and others which are held off until the next book.
I do have a complaint with the relationships in the book - they were predictable. Even the minor characters' inclinations were very obvious, leaving little room for suspense. Other aspects of the plot, such as the characters' secrets and certain plot twists, were surprising to me, but I did wish that the romances had a little more suspense.
Clockwork Angel also had the "bookish factor" - characters that were in love with books. Tessa was a bookworm, and Will also revealed bookish tendencies, saying that his favorite character is Sidney Carton, a statement I'm only now beginning to understand as I slowly work my way through A Tale of Two Cities. Each chapter was prefaced with some poetry, giving a feel for the Victorian era.
Overall, this was an exciting read. It is definitely not my usual fare, but I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Cassandra Clare is also writing a companion series to "The Infernal Devices," "The Mortal Instruments," which has four books already published. At this point, I am thinking of waiting to read it until I've finished "The Infernal Devices," just because when I have too many series up in the air I start to feel stressed out. Fans of fantasy and the paranormal should definitely check out this dark fantasy. This will also appeal to steampunk fans.
Warnings for the sensitive reader: Gory fantasy violence.