Book Review: Clockwork Angel – The Infernal Devices Book #1 by Cassandra Clare

It is no secret that I think Cassandra Clare’s writing is a ton of fun.  I read her first trilogy, The Mortal Instruments in one week at the beach last year and they were among my favorite reads of 2009.  You can read about that here (City of Ashes), here (Bones) and here (Glass).  Clockwork Angel takes the awesomeness that is Cassandra Clare, adds in lots of Victorian and steam punk awesomeness and takes it all to a new level of just plain ole super awesomeness!   There is a lot of awesome in Clockwork Angels and I think if anyone can get me back into YA, it’s probably Clare.  She’s just that good.

Sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray is fresh off the boat from American and looking for her brother, when two – unusual– women meet her at the dock.  These women, called the Dark Sisters, tell her that her brother has sent them to meet her and bring her home with them.  In actuality, they have kidnapped her, with the intent of training her to do what she was born to do.  Tessa is a Downworlder, a warlock, born with the extremely rare ability to transform, at will, into someone else, anyone else as long as she has held something that once belonged to them.   The Dark Sisters’ master, The Magister, wants to claim Tessa, and her ability, for himself.

The Shadowhunters, those warriors dedicated to saving the world from demons, save her at the very last moment (as usual).   They swear to help Tessa find out what she is, and to help her save her brother from the evil Magister.  Of course, there are two handsome, emotionally scarred boys just waiting to fall in love with her, and have her fall in love with them.  They boys fascinate her; James with his fragile health and tragic patrician features and Will, the resident bad boy of scathing wit and the violent mood swings.And of course, he is quite the handsome lad himself.  We will comeback to the boys un moment si vous plait.

The Victorian London of Clare’s world is familiar and yet unique at the same time.  And she did her research.  I could smell the gas lamps, but I do have an active imagination.  I just felt so there!  Which, in my eyes, is where Clare is amazing.  I get so lost in her stories that it’s like I am there.  And really, isn’t that all we ask of an author?  To take us out of ourselves and into another place, where our problems don’t matter for a few minutes of the day?  I digress and apologize, for this review probably will be all over the place.  I am all over the place.  Hence, the all-over-the-place-ness of this review.  Anywoo.  I felt like I was in Victorian London, okay?  lol  And I love me some Victorian London!  I love me some angst and there is plenty of that here.  Three teenagers, one girl, two boys, of course there is angst!

Which brings me back to the boys!  The boys.  They are full of lovely angst.  But, alas, I had a tiny problem with one of the boys.  Will.  Will is Jace.  Will is (in this book anyway) a carbon copy of Jace Weyland from the first trilogy of books.  Witty, wild, devil-may-care… it is attractive, but I’m seriously hoping Clare is going to be a one-trick pony with this type of character.  I am sincerely hoping Will deviates from the typecasting going on here in the next book.  Because I really want to like Will, but if he is just going to be a copy cat, well, I don’t find this the sincerest form of flattery when you copy yourself.  As for the other boy, James, I adored him.   He’s Jace/Will’s complete opposite and one of the reasons I continue to have faith in Clare.   He’s very un-Simon and very un-Alex which is very good.  (Simon and Alex are in the first trilogy as well.)    I want to heal him, for he’s a sickly lad and for no good reason either!  But that’s a spoiler, so you’ll have to read it to find out how and why.

Tessa is, as most girls are in this genre, tougher than she looks.  And like most girls in these books, she doesn’t know herself, at all, yet, but she’s in for a crash-course in knowing herself.  She learns A LOT in Book 1.  I mean, for all she knew she was a regular ole teenager, coming to meet her big brother in the big, exciting city of London and then hello! She finds out she’s a warlock!  Who can shape-shift into other people!  And hear their thoughts and stuff!  That is a big thing.  A big, big thing.  And she handles it with aplomb.  (I have always wanted to use that word. I finally worked it in!) (I’m being very parenthetical today, aren’t I?)  Sure, she cries a few times, but who wouldn’t? Big things are started with this, Book 1, and I am way excited for Book 2.  Here’s hoping Will grows into his own character!  If you have stuck with me to the end, I love you, because wow. I’ve been having writer’s block, so I kinda let myself ramble and wow. Did. I. Ramble.  I am sorry.

Clockwork Angel: The Infernal Devices Book 1
Written by Cassandra Clare
Category: Young Adult
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
On Sale: August 31, 2010
ISBN: 978-1416975861

Purchase from The Book Depository or Barnes & Noble

Here are what more lucid people had to say about this book:

The AuthoressJenn’s Bookshelves | StephSu Reads | There’s A Book

Thank you to Traveling ARC Book Tours for my copy of this book.  Which is no longer in my possession, in case you are interested FCC.  So there.

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: Clockwork Angel – The Infernal Devices Book #1 by Cassandra Clare

  1. Oh Heather, don't you dare apologize!!! I LOVED your "all-over-the-place-ness"! 😀 Your ramblings got me to add this one to the wish list, when no one else has been able to…so you're definitely doing something right, at least in my book!

  2. Nah, I loved the review! It was perfect and if I had any sense of my own I'd probably write more like this because it seems more "real".

    I completely agree with you on the "taking you away" aspect of Clare's writing. She's so so so good at having you really feel where the story is, it's wonderful! Definitely a favorite aspect of mine and exactly why I keep coming back to her books. Fantastic!

    Perfect review! Wouldn't change a thing! 🙂 And thank you for the link, made my day!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I have to admit, the premise doesn't appeal to me at all, but after reading so many positive reviews, I'm going to give it a try anyways.

  4. I was just admiring that cover on Friday when we opened up a new box of books. And I've yet to read anything by this author, so maybe this is a good place to start…

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