Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
After reading the blurb on the back of Cassandra Clare’s The Clockwork Angel, my first reaction was – Oh no! Not again!
Why? Because it reads, ‘…Drawn ever deeper into their world, she [Tessa Gray] finds herself fascinated by – and torn between – two best friends…’
Seriously, how many morbid love triangles can an average human being take in a lifetime?
Against my better judgment, I went and bought the book. I don’t know why – especially since The Mortal Instruments turned out to be an immortal nightmare – and I’m glad I did!
Although Clare’s creation of Angel warriors and their escapades were haunting and unique, I failed to see why it had caused such a lot of frenzy in the fangirl circles. I admit I did not for even a second succumb to the wannabe bad-boy charms of Jace Wayland and his gleamy blonde hair. For me he was just way too perfect. There is no way there is such a boy in real life. So smooth and good looking and sarcastic and smooth (Did I already say that?)
But there is a stark difference to Will Herondale of this series who is also a smart talking hottie. He seems more real, more three dimensional and someone I can actually empathize with, never mind his pretty boy attitude. Perhaps it’s because Will is somewhat damaged by something other than what made Jace a flawed hero. When Will crumples up, the reaction would be to help him stand but with Jace, I’m like, ‘Get a grip man!’
The rest of the characters in the book are quite well developed. The added Victorian setting seems to romanticize them just a tad further making them almost shine in the dark. Which is why I previously thought - and still think - that Clare would have been better off writing Victorian era novels.
There is also one more thing that endears the story to me. When I am reading the parts about Jem or Will or Tessa, I get distinct imagery of a manga that I used to read called Vampire Knight. The silver-haired Jem and the contrastingly dark Will are very similar to the protagonists love interests in the manga. Maybe Clare based her characters on the manga as she too must be a manga fangirl, something I picked up from her style of creating images and from the Naruto manga that Max Lightwood was always carrying around.
So the doubter has been converted. As far as I’m concerned, The Clockwork Angel is a great book and a good start to another series that will hopefully end in three and not drag on as trilogies tend to these days. Because I would love to get to know Jem and Will more and I would still pick a side as I have done with the rest of the love triangles and cheer my man to the finish regardless of whom Tessa finally chooses – probably not the one I choose.
After all, it seems that is the main reason why love triangles are written into fantasy today. Because no matter what, we love to watch people fight for love.
Clockwork Prince is now out and the third title in the near future.
Stephenie Meyer has got a lot to answer for. With the success of her Twilight series she became a literary phenomenon, the kind that only comes along once in a while and when it does it has a lasting impact on the book industry. In the last decade only J.K. Rowling and Steig Larsson have had a similar effect and not just with book sales, but also with the types of books that have got published, and have been in turn successful. Post Rowling children’s fantasy writing has never been more popular and adults are reading these titles in way not seen since the likes of Tolkien and Lewis. Larsson’s Millennium trilogy has transformed crime writing into a Nordic dominated genre with the likes of Arnaldur Indridason and Joe Nesbo becoming bestsellers and old favourites like Henning Mankell getting a new and voracious audience.
Meyer’s influence has been equally profound; her books have created a new genre not seen before in book stores or on the pages of online retailers, the genre of Dark Romance. Oh yes, it now seems that every new book published with a hint of supernatural doings and aimed at the teenage market is lumped into this convenient dump bin, a series of authors have been pigeonholed with this unfortunate tag. Cassandra Clare is one of these authors.
Her new book Clockwork Angel is a prequel to her hugely successful Mortal Instruments series. Set in Victorian London the book tells the story of Tessa Grey, a sixteen year old orphan newly arrived from New York and in search of her brother Nate who has invited her to start a new life across the pond. But when she arrives Nate is nowhere to be seen and instead Tessa is greeted by supposed friends of her brothers, the Dark sisters. Tessa’s hopes of a fresh, new life are dashed as she is abducted by the Dark sisters and drawn into London’s Downworld, a supernatural realm populated by vampires, werewolves, daemons and the Shadowhunters, the police of this otherworldly gas lit city.
Tessa soon realises that her previous life was just a fantasy, and along with the Shadowhunters and an undiscovered power she never knew existed, she must stop a dark evil from rising.
In reality Clockwork Angel shares more with the works of Neil Gaiman that it does with Meyer. Ignore the quote on the back of the book from the Twilight author and read story for what it is, entertaining teenage fantasy.
Tessa Grey is a good central character, naive and bookish when she first arrives, she is changed by the journey she must undertake and the people she meets along the way. Her struggles with family, friends and her new power keep the reader interested. But the best characters are the Shadowhunters, best friends Will and Jem are engaging and complex. Their relationship is a close but fragile one and a lot of the book is devoted to their different ways of pursing Tessa. Other Shadowhunters who stand out include the odd married couple Charlotte and Henry, Charlotte is tough but also slightly overwhelmed by the responsibilities that she carries and Henry is a tinkering inventor, most happy in his laboratory and would be at home in any Wallace and Gromit animation.
The evil characters are less interesting, the Dark sisters have their moments but I feel are underused. The vampire characters who are supposed to be behind the mayor conspiracy that is central to the plot of the book are a bit uninspiring. Clare has created a rich, believable world and I feel she could have done more than just your stereotypical pale skinned, beautiful vampire.
The book is essentially about love, not just the ‘romance’ kind (although there are enough chest heaving moments to keep the teenage market happy) but all kinds of love. The love for family and difficult friends, the love for a way of life, the love for home and familiarity, all these themes jostle for attention within the plot.
Ultimately Clare has delivered a solid, fantasy novel and one that deserves to be read outside of the usual crowd that will be attracted to it by its clever marketing.
All reviews for: The Infernal Devices
Have you read Clockwork Angel?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Clockwork Angel reader reviews
LuvD from UK
Love this series. 100% improvement over the Mortal Instruments Series. Love Tessa, and Jem, well he is a gem :) The ending was pleasantly surprising as well. It didn't stick too much to the obvious (in terms of the love triangle scenario) which I fully appreciated.
Priya from India
It's an awesome book. The story flows in a creepy intense manner, providing a great interest to read and enjoy. The character shade of Will and Jace is very very similar. Definitely worth your time to read.
Sarah from Australia
I love this book, wayyyy more than the Mortal Instruments!!! But... concerning the villians, in my opinion there were too many! The Dark Sisters, vampires, the Magister, Tessa's brother... It's kind of overwhelming. But despite that, It's still one of my favourite books of all time!
Dash from Sri Lanka
In my opinion it is a much better book than any of its sequels, The Mortal Instruments. However, there are stark similarities; Clare has been praised for creating a unique anti-hero in Jace Wayland but I find Will Herondale to be too much like him I have difficulty distinguishing between the both of them. You can only like an arrogant, drop dead gorgeous smart mouth so much! This is repeated with every character. Jem and Simon, Tessa and Clary, Jessamine and Isabelle. Other than that, it is a great novel, I love the descriptions and the setting and the staid way they address each other. Maybe Clare could stick to writing Victorian era fantasy. I'd like that!
8.1/10 from 5 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Mortal Engines Quartet
Long before the days of Mortal Engines, London is poised on the brink of apocalypse. Huge armoured fortresses are advancing across the wastelands - a new and terrifying kin...
Gareth L Powell
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The troubl...
Captain Nemo: The Fantastic Adventures of a Dark Genius
Kevin J Anderson
The young Verne and his best friend Andre Nemo stow away on a ship bound for the high seas, but Jules' father catches Jules and forces him to come home in total disgrac...
In Dark Service
Jacob Carnehan has settled down. He's living a comfortable, quiet life, obeying the law and minding his own business while raising his son Carter ... on those occasions...
Art and his family are invited on a fantastic free holiday to the exotic Asteroid Belt, in a remote part of space near Mars. Taking the train, they arrive to discover that ...
A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Evil is most assuredly afoot - and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade... and a librarian. These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s Englan...
Grandville Mon Amour
The beefy badger DI Archie LeBrock is languishing in self-pity, driven to drink (as every good copper should be) by the guilt of Sarah’s murder. When his partner, Rod...
The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide
Bringing together an action-filled story full of automatons, airships and a dastardly plot to take over the world and instructions on how to make your own gadgets, The Stea...
A Tale of Langdon St. Ives
James P Blaylock
It is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives – brilliant but eccentric scientist and explorer – is at home in Aylesford with his family. However, a f...
The year is 1914 and Europe, armed with futuristic machines and biotechnology, is on the precipice of war. Prince Aleksandar is fleeing for his life, having discovered that...
The Falling Machine
Andrew P Mayer
In 1880 women aren’t allowed to vote, much less dress up in a costume and fight crime… But twenty-year-old socialite Sarah Stanton still dreams of becoming a h...
A Wild West Tale
The year is 1881. The United States of America ends at the Mississippi River. Beyond lies the Indian nations, where the magic of powerful Medicine Men has halted the advanc...
Tales of the Ketty Jay
Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the ...
As the serialisation beings we meet 12-year-old schoolboy Alex who, just before Christmas, receives an old toy robot from his globe-trotting grandfather. It doesn't see...
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
With Phoenix Rising, Phillipa Ballantine and Tee Morris have created a great addition to the growing steampunk genre and have given a new take on fighting crime. For me, th...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended contemporary / urban fantasy books/series
- Recommended steampunk books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring angels and demons
Best of 2016
Journey to the Black City
On an Earth that is very much like our own, the civilizations of ancient man have been crushed; the giant glaciers that cover the northern part of the globe continue, even now...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
As the roar of the guns subsides and the smoke of battle clears, the country of Vordan is offered a fragile peace... After their shattering defeats at the hands of brilliant General Janus bet Vhalnich, the opposing powers have called all sides to the negotiating table in hopes of securing an end to the war. Queen Raesinia of Vordan is anxious to...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasu...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
The Creeping Shadow
Lucy has left Lockwood & Co. A freelance operative, she is hiring herself out to other agencies – agencies that might value her ever-improving skills. But now Loc...