Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Published by Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry on August 31st 2010
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Young Adult
Length: 481 pages Source: Borders
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Book Depository • IndieBound
In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them...
Cassandra Clare’s prequel to the Mortal Instruments series reminds me of the writing of Neil Gaiman – very much so, in fact. I liken her to something between Gaiman and the author of one of my favorite series – Jonathan Stroud. Clare adds her own elements to the story, and twists Victorian London around a little bit to her heart’s content. And I find her London beautiful and haunting and sad and grey. I love the idea of her clockwork mechanisms and the Shadowhunters and the quirky husband who lives in the basement and invents things that do not work. I want to hear so much more about these things.
But I didn’t.
Instead, Clare tells the story of Theresa Grey, a dreary mortal-who-isn’t-really, who spends a great deal of time worrying that people are not behaving like perfect ladies and gentlemen, worrying about her no-good brother, and pondering her origins. After a while, her daydream like comparisons to literature I am not intimately familiar with become dreary and it is easy to find oneself skimming forward a bit.
I wanted desperately to like this book, and I think I would have, if I had been in anybody’s mind but Tessa’s. Jessamine’s snobbery and secrets are equally alluring to William’s, and even the small stories that do get shared are interesting of their own accord. Maybe Tessa’s would be too, if it was unraveling a bit more rapidly! Clare tends to drag on a little, generally caught in a scene that – to me at least – feels mundane. Nonetheless, despite my issues with the flow of the writing and excitement of the protagonist, Clare paints such a vivid, peculiar world that one cannot help but to be intrigued. Even though I found this book a bit slow and boring, I absolutely would not toss aside Clare’s work altogether, because there were many aspects of the novel I enjoyed. In fact, when my (endless) reading list starts to dwindle down, I don’t doubt that I would pick up the sequel, or perhaps City of Bones. I simply became bored with this, but not so much that I couldn’t push through the more tedious points.