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Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book…

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1) (edition 2010)

by Cassandra Clare

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4,1432641,210 (4.13)138
Title:Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)
Authors:Cassandra Clare
Info:Margaret K. McElderry (2010), Hardcover, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:YA, young adult, for review, BEA, read in 2010, historical fiction, steampunk, urban fantasy

Work details

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

  1. 80
    City of Bones / City of Ashes / City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (one-horse.library)
  2. 70
    A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Both are darker YA Victorian fantasies.
  3. 20
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (souci)
    souci: Also set in London's past, with a supernatural connection
  4. 31
    Soulless by Gail Carriger (macart3)
    macart3: This book is steampunk, the humor is dry, and deals with the supernatural.
  5. 10
    Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (LAKobow)
  6. 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.
  7. 00
    The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer (LAKobow)
  8. 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.
  9. 00
    Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Friederike.Geissler)

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» See also 138 mentions

English (260)  Italian (2)  All languages (262)
Showing 1-5 of 260 (next | show all)
I don’t think I’ve read anything by Cassandra Clare that I haven’t loved. The Mortal Instruments is one of my favorite series. So I was super excited when this book came out. I was even more excited when I started hearing these books were even better than TMI. That is probably why I only gave this one four stars. I think my expectations were just too high.

I really liked Clockwork Angel. I can’t think of one thing I didn’t like. It didn’t give me the same feelings as TMI, but maybe after I read the other two books, that will change. That is the only reason I didn’t give it five stars. I just didn’t get the omg I love this book, I need to run around freaking out and acting like a complete moron feeling that I got from TMI.

I will admit that I came close to that feeling when I started thinking about how this book was like TMI meets Doctor Who. There was just something about it that made me feel like I was watching an episode of Doctor Who. I loved that.

I bought all three book as soon as they came out, so I can’t wait to start Clockwork Prince. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to read these books. I think I was worried I would hate them because I love TMI so much. That was just silly. Is it possible to hate something Cassandra Clare writes?

Note: This is an older review. So I don’t feel like I can get more into what I liked and disliked about it. Maybe someday I will re-read Clockwork Angel and do another review. Better reviews (hopefully) in the future. ( )
  TheBookHoarder | Apr 10, 2015 |
Clare's stories are always so fun to read. ( )
  jwarbler | Mar 15, 2015 |
Clockwork Angel is the first in the prequel trilogy to the Mortal Instruments series, set in London during the late 1800s. There are a lot of Shadowhunter family names that are recognizable if you have read the Mortal Instruments first, as well as a few characters that were seen in those books.

The Shadowhunters of Victorian England are fighting a war against a group of rogue Downworlders that almost seems unwinnable. Tessa is pulled into the world unepectedly, never dreaming that werewolves, vampires, and warlocks truly existed. Her world is turned upside down when she finds out that nothing is as she thought, even herself and her brother Nate.

Althought Will and Jem are the ancestors of characters from the Mortal Instruments, there are traits about both of these characters that remind me of their descendents and I really appreciated that connection. Magnus makes an appearance, whom I love, as does Camille... furthering the connection between the two series.

I honestly wasn't sure how much I would like this book, for two reasons. The first was that I loved the original series so much that I was afraid that this would maybe pale in comparison. The second was that historical fiction just isn't generally my cup of tea. My husband, having finished this series before me, assured me that I would enjoy it. In fact, this series is his favorite of the two. I was very happy to discover that he was right. I loved the characters and the story line so much. It was engrossing and entertaining and it was historical fiction that was well done!

I love that the culture of the time is so seamlessly blended into the fantasy of the story. It is a time when there were certain views on the social value and place of women and that is reflected even within the Shadowhunter world. Charlotte is constantly challenged in her role as the head of the London Institute, simply because of her gender. Tessa is amazed at the thought of women fighting and Jessamine, although of Shadowhunter blood, turns her back on much of it, preferring to live her life as mundane society dictates. In addition to the blending of the social norms of the time was the steampunk element that is such a part of the time. The inclusion of the clockwork Angel, among others, was at times both interesting and terrifying!

My Recommendation: I read this after Mortal Instruments and I think that it actually enhanced this book for me. I think the original series, even though it comes later chronologically, really creates the Shadowhunter world for the reader. Great book! I gave it 4.5 mugs! ( )
  Kiki870 | Feb 18, 2015 |
A power, no one knows about, kidnapped to unleash that power, and forced to use it for evil. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare is a story about a young woman who leads an average life until her aunt dies. Once her aunt is dead, she is sent to London to live with her brother. After she arrives in England off of a steam ship, she is taken by two women who call themselves the black sisters. She is held captive for months before she is rescued. Once she is rescued by two shadowhunters, Will and Jem, she will have to fight through automatons which shouldn’t exist in Victorian England. Tessa will soon find many things she thought don’t exist do.

I liked this book because it always had something going on in it. Whether it was just trying to find out what Tessa is or fighting automatons built to kill, something was always happening. The suspense played perfectly into the plot, revealing little bits of Tessa and what she may be at a time.

( )
  Jobe14 | Feb 4, 2015 |
Definite improvement on the original series. entertaining enought but I don't love it. seems more of a borrow from the library if want to continue. 3.5
  sawcat | Jan 9, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 260 (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)

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Cassandra Clareprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ehle, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The "Thames River Song," by Elka Cloke, is used in its entirety as the book's epigraph.
For Jim and Kate
First words
The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.
"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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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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