Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 479 (Hardcover)
The cover's so pretty. There, I've got that out of the way. ;)
I've read Cassandra Clare's other books recently, the first three in The Mortal Instruments series. I actually waited to read this one so I could read those three first, just so I would be like everyone else who read her books in the same order. I almost wonder what my perception would've been not reading those three first, if I'd waited those two years for the rest of The Infernal Devices.
Tessa Grey heads for Victorian London to find her brother Nate only to be kidnapped by a pair of creepy sisters. It's there she learns she's not exactly human but a Downworlder, one of the warlocks, werewolves, vampires or other supernatural beings that wander through the streets. She can change into another person, living or dead, as long as she's holding onto something that belongs to them. And, of course, someone wants her because of this power.
Then she gets saved by Will and is introduced to the Shadowhunters while getting mixed up in a new evil plot to take over London (and quite possibly the world).
I liked this one a little more than The Mortal Instruments books for possibly one reason: it's set in Victorian London. I love this time period. It was England at possibly its best: industry was booming, population was booming, science and technology was growing, the high-class social scene (the ton) was gorgeous, and literature was great. The small part of my literary brain that loves Victorian literature loved the quick book dropping of Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (only because I read it while getting my B.A.). I need to read more Victorian lit.
The clockwork/steampunk-ish addition was funky and cool. This is a time of technology and practicality, people were figuring out how things worked and how to create bigger and better machines. Evolution was new and controversial, but some grabbed hold of it and loved it. Who needs magic or religion when there's no explanation for it? (This is more of the Victorian scholar in me talking.)
And the love/like triangle. Tessa's a little meek and confused and lost, but I like it, and she's drawn to both Will, someone ballsy and opinionated and possibly more than a little reckless, and Jem, someone quieter and kinder and more fragile. I can't pick a side like so many other fans have. I don't know who Tessa should end up with. The ending confused me a little, (spoiler so I won't say), but it also made me want to go back and read the book again. Which I can't right now (December 9, 2010) because I borrowed the book from the library. I will get my own copy one day.
There were lots of similarities between this book and the other series: the girls being mostly the main focus and the fact that they're totally clueless to Shadowhunters and Downworlders and everything else, the love triangle, the brother as a factor, the last names, the in charge mother figure, the vaguely angry girl who's a Shadowhunter, the running around and being captured/kidnapped, the evil guy wanting to take over. I wasn't surprised by it because the differences balanced it out for me: the setting, the fact that Tessa isn't a Shadowhunter while Clary is, the clockwork machines instead of the Circle (man and machine instead of magic and power). I imagine there were some readers who thought it was pretty much the same book all over again, but the familiarity of the previous three books didn't take away anything for me. It was the same but different. That's why I read series more often than stand-alone novels.
And I loved the "return" of Magnus Bane. ;)
And Tessa's little clockwork angel necklace. So cute. I want one. And it's so going to mean something later on, I just know it.
So, maybe a little rambly, but when aren't my reviews a little rambly? Rarely. ;)