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Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices) (edition 2011)

by Cassandra Clare

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4,983297917 (4.12)140
Member:hobbitsies
Title:Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices)
Authors:Cassandra Clare
Info:Margaret K. McElderry Books (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

  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
    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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English (294)  Italian (2)  All languages (296)
Showing 1-5 of 294 (next | show all)
I first read Mortal Instruments and then my daughter said I had to read this trilogy which is like a prequel to the other. This one is set back in 1870s and some of the characters are in the Mortal Instruments. It gives you a little bit of history about the shadowhunters and the ancestors of the characters in Mortal Instruments. In this book the main character is Tessa who goes to London to live with her brother Nate after their Aunt dies. She gets kidnapped and pulled into the lives of shadowhunters and downworlders. I always find this era interesting to read because they didn't have cell phones and so if someone needed to be contacted to tell them they are headed into a trap, you couldn't. I found the automatons very creepy. This a very entertaining book. I got the entire trilogy to read at once so I wouldn't have to wait and try to remember what happened. I really enjoy Cassandra's writing. If you like this genre, then take a chance with this trilogy and the Mortal Instruments series, you won't be disappointed. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
Way better than what I was expecting...
The Victorian setting is really amazing and the characters complex and compelling. The world building is genius so it is really difficult not to get completely absorbed into the story.
Really good and extremely addicting. ( )
  FilipaCorreia | Jun 30, 2016 |
So this was so much better than I expected. It was slow-paced, but not in a bad way. I very much enjoyed learning each of the characters, even the ones I hated, particuarly Jessie. She was awful. Will was a jerk, and I can very much see the resemblance of Jace to him; reckless, arrogant, and too pretty for his own good. Jem is a sweet muffin and I hate so much that he is 'ill'. I fear he will die in the next book and if not, then obviously in the third. Like Clary, I feel like Tessa has chosen the wrong boy to love. Jem I think is the better choice even with the looming of his eminent death.

My only complaint: NOT ENOUGH MAGNUS! He is my personal favorite character of the whole TMI/TID series. He's the most fun, which of course is why we don't get enough of him. I know we have The Bane Chronicles, but it'd be so much better if he was the star of his own series. But I digress...

This book was pretty good and unlike with The Mortal Instruments, I'm bothered by Tessa's naivety, but not because I think she's foolish. This is a different time where women were treated as weak, and possessions of the men in their lives--even among the Shadowhunters-- so it makes sense for her to be clueless and frightened and looking to someone else (a man) to save her. Clary is just foolish and selfish, but I'm getting off track.

Tessa being uninformed or surprised by strong women who could fight is understandable and even pitiable, because that is what woman of that era were spoon-fed from birth. But she is obviously undergoing positive changes. She fought to save not only herself, but her friends, and was even willing to sacrifice herself to thwart the villian. She showed so much more spunk and good sense that Clary, which is ironic considering the different times they lived in. Logically their behaviours should have been opposite.

All-in-all I enjoyed this and want to read the next book not just because of morbid curiosity like I did with the previous series, but because I truly want to see what happens next. Plus the prospect of more Magnus is always a good one.

My other complaint: while the narrator did a great job reading and using different voices for the characters, her pronunciation of a few words was wrong and it bothered me. ( )
  PriPri77 | Jun 26, 2016 |
I know this book is meant to be amazing and wonderful but I just wasn't amazed and wondered about it. Good story plot though. ( )
  mariahsidhe | May 12, 2016 |
Good book

I like learning about the earlier characters. I also like he setting and time era. It helped make the story even more interesting. ( )
  cool-mom-e | May 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 294 (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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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.
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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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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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