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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
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Clockwork Angel (2010)

by Cassandra Clare

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Infernal Devices (1), Shadowhunters (1.1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,0433101,015 (4.11)155
  1. 80
    The Mortal Instruments Series (Books 1-3) by Cassandra Clare (TomWaitsTables)
  2. 70
    A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Both are darker YA Victorian fantasies.
  3. 20
    Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (LAKobow)
  4. 20
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (souci)
    souci: Also set in London's past, with a supernatural connection
  5. 31
    Soulless by Gail Carriger (macart3)
    macart3: This book is steampunk, the humor is dry, and deals with the supernatural.
  6. 10
    Faelorehn by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson (magelet87)
    magelet87: The authors write citing stories and lovable characters. The worlds are so fantastical you never want to leave.
  7. 10
    The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer (LAKobow)
  8. 10
    Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Friederike.Geissler)
  9. 10
    Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce (magelet87)
    magelet87: Not only do both have fantasy elements, they are written by authors who are wonderful and brilliant. They write strong female characters who are kick-@ss; who dont need saving. They do a most of the saving, in fact. Also, both books are GLBT inclusive. Magic, wonderful creatures, strong, independent young women who dont accept the hand they are dealt in life, so they set about to change their place in the world. In fact, this description can work for any book by either author.… (more)
  10. 10
    A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee (kathleen.morrow)
    kathleen.morrow: While Lee doesn't include paranormal elements, the tales are similar in their suspenseful nature, their realistic Victorian setting, and their strong female characters.
  11. 11
    The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle by Catherine Webb (HatsForMice)
    HatsForMice: Henry fan? Victorian-London-set-fantasy fan? Brilliant things fan? Horatio Lyle.
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» See also 155 mentions

English (307)  Italian (2)  German (1)  All languages (310)
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
I think I went too quickly through the middle part to fully appreciate it, plus it ends on a bit of an unresolved note (not inappropriately for book 1 of a trilogy). I was also distracted by how the physical book smelled; it was weirdly plastic-y, whether from the library binding, the book itself, or something else I don't want to think about.
  ranaverde | Dec 24, 2018 |
PAST READ: april 23, 2013

If you haven't already read this book, you shouldn't need me to tell you to. YOU JUST SHOULD. ( )
  Monica_P | Nov 22, 2018 |
3.5 stars ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
all i can say is wow... just wow... and i need the second book.. wow! ( )
  ReadingwithLynn | Sep 25, 2018 |
For those of you who have already read The Mortal Instruments and liked it, I suppose reading Clockwork Angel will be a somewhat pleasant, somewhat unpleasant deja vu. For starters, it involves a girl from New York who is introduced to the Shadowhunters by a hot headed, obvious love-interest Herondale. Doesn't exactly prove Cassandra Clare's versatility, does it?
The world building that Clare crafted throughout all six books of TMI never seemed too rushed, though I admit it got rather exposition-y at times; whereas, Will Herondale literally hands Tessa a book of Shadow World 101 that she spews verbatim at the reader only a few chapters in. Besides that, the plot didn't really stand on it's own. I know Clare was a fan fiction writer before writing TMI, but making a fan fiction out of your own story? It's just a City of Bones copy that got a period piece twist. It wasn't until more than half way through, when the clockwork automatons became important, that it differed significantly at all. The robots were undoubtedly the coolest and most original part of the story.
The character introductions seemed forced sometimes too, because everyone treated Will like he was an awful person, even Tessa sometimes, when up until that point, he hadn't actually done anything to justify that. His first rude thing was leaving Tessa alone when she didn't know how to navigate the Institute because she had been attempting to pry into his past when obviously he has a tragic backstory. I felt like Tessa was more of a jerk than he was at that point. Granted, later on he does do some pretty mean things, but Tessa already had formed an unjustified opinion of him. Mortmain was obviously the bad guy at his first appearance and he wasn't even an interesting or fearsome villain like Valentine. He just gave me the feeling of the orphanage "caretakers" from Oliver Twist: oily kind of people in stiff collars. In general, the plot was predictable. I was rarely surprised and was far more often annoyed with the characters' blindness and stupidity.
Overall, I liked it enough, but significantly less than TMI, which is disappointing because so many people recommended it, many of which regarded it higher than TMI. I'll still finish the trilogy though. I'm in too deep. No turning back now. ( )
  Faith_Murri | Mar 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
Following the untimely death of her aunt, twice-over orphaned Tessa Gray sets out from New York to London to live with her older brother. Virtually penniless, having spent every last cent to pay for the funeral services, Tessa makes the trip across the Atlantic with her hopes high, for at least she and Nate will be reunited again.

Upon reaching England, however, she is greeted not by her older brother but by two crones that introduce themselves as Mrs. Dark and Mrs. Black, bearing a letter written in Nate’s hand. Though Tessa is reluctant to leave with the “Dark Sisters” (as Nate refers to them in his letter), she trusts in her brother’s wishes, only to find herself trapped in a nightmare. The Dark Sisters, in fact warlocks, claim to have abducted Nate and threaten to kill him unless Tessa complies with their strange demands. Soon, Tessa learns that she is no ordinary human, but possesses the power to transform herself into another person—dead or alive. Even more unique, however, is Tessa’s ability to touch the minds of those whose forms she assumes—recalling a dead girl’s last thoughts and a vampiress’s secrets, amongst others. The Dark Sisters, finally deeming Tessa “ready,” have plans to marry her off to their master, the mysterious “Magister” of the Pandemonium Club, and all hope seems lost for young Tessa…

That is, until a mysterious, handsome young Shadowhunter comes to Tessa’s rescue. Soon she is swooped away again into a new world, seeking refuge with the Shadowhunters—a society of nephilim (that is, the offspring of angels and humans) charged with the duty of protecting humanity from Downworlders (that is, demons, warlocks, vampires, etc) at any cost. Tessa and her brother are keys to a much larger conspiracy, as the Shadowhunters soon discover the Pandemonium Club and its Magister have hatched a plot to rid the world of Shadowhunters altogether, by means nefarious, and mechanical.

Of course, in the midst of all this gloom and doom, Tessa finds time to fall in love with not one but TWO gorgeous Shadowhunters, who (of course!) find Tessa irresistible. Besides trying to save the world and her brother, Tessa also must come to terms with the dictates of her heart.

Clockwork Angel, published by Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster), is the first book I have read from Cassandra Clare (I have been assured that the Mortal Instruments trilogy is not a necessary prerequisite to reading Clockwork Angel), and as an introduction, I must say that I am somewhat… underwhelmed. Ms. Clare’s writing is certainly readable and entertaining, but in the way of bad reality television or MTV shows.

The overarching story—that of the mystery of the Pandemonium Club, the identity of The Magister, and their plans to overthrow the Shadowhunters—lacks complexity and tends towards the hyperdramatic and predictable, but for all that is generally well-paced, fun stuff. Though the quality of the prose and general flow of the novel lacks any sort of writerly finesse in its blunt simplicity and affinity for the cheesiest dialogue I have read in a very long time (i.e. Tessa to The Magister, expressing terror at his desire to marry her: “But why? You don’t love me. You don’t know me. You didn’t even know what I looked like! I could have been hideous!”), the story in itself isn’t bad. That’s not where the brunt of my disappointment with the novel lies.

No, what I take issue with is the novel’s unconvincing period setting, its ridiculous characterizations, and above all, the same Twilightified-Mary Sue heroine meets two superhawt supernatural dudes that fall for her trope.

First, the setting and period. Purportedly, Clockwork Angel is a steampunk novel, although the only real steampunkish thing about it is the time period (set in Victorian London) and the presence of a slew of killer automatons. To me, this does not a true steampunk novel make, as Clockwork Angel lacks either necessary quality (the centrality of steam-powered aesthetic/technology, or the socio-economic critique) to be truly considered a work of the steampunk subgenre. Furthermore, the character dialogue feels as though an American author is trying—unsuccessfully—to write in the Victorian period. In truth, this novel could have taken place in any other time period, in any other country, and it still would have been the same book.

With regard to characterizations, Ms. Clare’s cast in Clockwork Angel similarly leaves much to be desired. Heroine Tessa is nothing if she isn’t a sickening hybrid self-insertion blank page heroine Mary Sue—she’s so very understanding of others’ faults (at one pivotal point in the book, for example, “Tessa felt a wave of frustrated anger, but pushed it back. Sophie had just had a friend die in her arms; she could hardly be blamed for forgetting a key”), mindlessly devoted to her beloved brother (no matter how terribly he has wronged her), generally pretty and tall, with the only drawback to her appearance being how thin and pale she is, and how her hair is brown. Most importantly, Tessa is SUPER!POWERFUL. No one knows what exactly her shapeshifting powers are or what they mean, except that the Magister wants her as his bride and that her abilities have never been seen before. Of course, the Magister isn’t the only one after Tessa—so too is best friend Shadowhunter Will (the dark, sexy, tempestuous bad boy) and Jem (the light, tempered and sensitive good guy). Neither of these boys have any real reason to fall in love with Tessa, but of course they both do, sparking a huge debate in Ms. Clare’s formidable fanbase to the cries of “Team Will!” or “Team Jem!” To that end, I will say that both Will and Jem are decently developed characters with a lot of potential; Will, with his clearly troubled and guarded past, and Jem with his own terminal illness. Both Will and Jem are passably crushworthy, if a reader is so inclined to form literary crushes and fly the Team Will/Jem flag.

The point, however, is that Tessa, the supposed heroine of this story, is not worth rooting for in the slightest. With all the personality of industrial paint, Tessa is as “blank page heroine” as you can get. As YA author Sarah Rees Brennan describes the phenomenon:

[The Blank Page Heroine] is in a lot of books—I don’t mean to pick on romance, because sadly I have seen her in every genre, including my own—and sometimes she seems to be there as a match for the hero who won’t bother him with things like “hobbies” and “opinions.” Sometimes she is carefully featureless (still missing those pesky hobbies and opinions) so that, apparently, the reader can identify with her and slot their own personalities onto a blank page. As I don’t identify with blank pages, I find the whole business disturbing.

What is it about this particular type of heroine, that she keeps popping her nondescript head into genre fiction novels? (O, Stephanie Meyer, what hast thou wrought!?) I prefer characters that are flawed, challenging, and engaging—not soppy, uninspired, oh-so-desirable-for-no-discernable-reason stand-ins.

Doubtless, there are many fans of this book, the series, and the trope that will disagree with me. But in this reader’s opinion? Clockwork Angel, though not without its entertainment value and high points, left me cold and unimpressed.
added by susieimage | editTor.com, Thea James (Sep 9, 2010)
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clare, Cassandraprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ehle, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The "Thames River Song," by Elka Cloke, is used in its entirety as the book's epigraph.
Dedication
For Jim and Kate
First words
The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.
Quotations
"But the books are behind bars!" she said. "Like a literary prison!"

Will grinned. "Some of these books bite," he said. "It's wise to be careful."

"One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us."

(quote taken from ARC, page 87, and may be different from final edition)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
From jacket: Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
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When sixteen-year-old orphan Tessa Fell's older brother suddenly vanishes, her search for him leads her into Victorian-era London's dangerous supernatural underworld, and when she discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must learn to trust the demon-killing Shadowhunters if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother.… (more)

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