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Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices) by…

Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices) (edition 2011)

by Cassandra Clare

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4,3802711,125 (4.12)140
Title:Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices)
Authors:Cassandra Clare
Info:Margaret K. McElderry Books (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library, Read 2012

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: A Novel 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 (269)  Italian (2)  All languages (271)
Showing 1-5 of 269 (next | show all)
Hmm, okay. I had read the The Mortal Instruments books (well--1-3 anyway), mainly because I had heard of Clare from her days as a HP fanfiction writer and was curious. I liked them okay, but they didn't become new favorites. However, I heard lots of good things about the Infernal Devices books even apart from TMI fans, so I definitely wanted to give it a try--especially since it's still a novelty for me to read good YA books featuring Asian protagonists, and quite exciting.

Overall, I think it does better in all the things I liked about TMI, but still has the aspects of TMI that ultimately made it not a favorite for me.

So, what are these things?

This sounds so weird to say, because clearly TMI and TID are both really fleshed-out urban fantasy series, and yet I find that what I enjoy most in them is the characters, dialogue, and romance. What I don't enjoy is the heavy paranormal/witchcraft (admittedly, I'm just never a fan of that), and the graphic violence. At least, much more graphic than I, the queen of squeamish readers, am comfortable with.

That's not to say that I wish Clare had removed all the urban fantasy elements and made this a YA contemporary romance. I did enjoy the overall plot elements, and thought it was well-constructed, with a couple of huge wild turns that kept me guessing, but not in a bad way (i.e., in a way where I feel so ill and dissatisfied with the ending that it'll be difficult for me to ever trust the author again; see [b:Mockingjay|7260188|Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)|Suzanne Collins|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1358275419s/7260188.jpg|8812783], most notably). Also, I am fully cognizant of the fact that part of what makes the romance work here ist hat it doesn't take over the book and become melodramatic; it can be prominent, but more understated, because there's a lot of other stuff going on, and I like that.

But ultimately, ah! I'm just so squeamish, and even the concept of shape changing and carving runes into your skin freaks me out--not to mention the actual killing and violence.

But I do think Clare has done some solid world-building (clearly--how many books are in this world, exactly? More than 8). The exposition sometimes felt clumsy to me--in the beginning of this book, for instance, I was jarred a few times with very nearly info-dump passages. I admit, though, that I was later impressed by some of these tactics--e.g., Tessa reading The Shadowhunter's Codex before falling asleep wasn't my favorite, but the fact that she kept reading it throughout meant that Clare could nicely slip in a few details here and there on things she had read.

What I loved most, though, were the characters and dialogue. I'm consistently impressed with how Clare creates such a huge ensemble cast that looks, sounds, and feels distinct from each other. The dialogue is generally witty and fun.

Even the love triangle, which I'm not always a fan of, didn't put me off in this book. I liked that Tessa was so blessedly normal. By that, I mean: not the Queen of Klutz, like Bella in [b:Twilight|41865|Twilight (Twilight, #1)|Stephenie Meyer|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1361039443s/41865.jpg|3212258], and a slightly more independent but nevertheless realistic product of the Victorian era she's living in, without lambasting those who buy into its role for women more wholly, like Jessamine. Not ridiculously skilled in combat (for indeed, where would she have learned?), but not totally helpless and self-pitying either. Compassionate, vulnerable, but with a desire to help and be strong. I like her a lot. And yes, definitely more than Clary.

I also love Will and Jem, naturally. But--and here I'm worried--I usually can tell, subconsciously or consciously, which character in a love triangle the author is trying to bias us towards, and I usually agree, but in this case, I'm terribly afraid that Clare is trying to make us like Will more (giving him more individual scenes, complex stories, sometimes even better dialogue lines, etc.)--but I still like Jem more. He's actually straightforward, gentle, and kind, and communicates well and isn't easily offended, all things that are more important in an actual relationship. I like both of them, though, and I like their friendship a lot, too. (Total digression: I think the dichotomy often presented in love triangles of passion vs. stability is a silly one, and often false. Ideally shouldn't one person be a measure of both in order to be someone with whom one can have a healthy, functional relationship?)

Long, long review on my thoughts, but basically, I'm a fan, though there are elements that are difficult for me to stomach. I'm not sure how many books are in this series, but I'll be eager to keep reading on for the characters for now. ( )
  elephantine | Nov 27, 2015 |
Started January 26th, 2014.
Great world. Interesting characters, some of them scheming baddies, and even of the good people, not all are likable, but most are complex and not entirely good or bad. Great fight scenes, and the entire book is rather fast paced.
In the end you want to read on, as some mysteries are not solved.
As I bought this with the next 2 books [b:Clockwork Prince|10025305|Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)|Cassandra Clare|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1369780827s/10025305.jpg|6674845] and [b:Clockwork Princess|18335634|Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)|Cassandra Clare|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1376663659s/18335634.jpg|6309710], I will just take a short breather with another book and then read on.
Highly recommended.
( )
  Ingo.Lembcke | Oct 27, 2015 |
Enjoyed the steampunk elements and overall story and characters, but it was a bit on the long side. Will definitely check out the next book in the series. ( )
  PerpetualRevision | Oct 25, 2015 |
When I started this, the first few pages didn't have much of an exciting hook to drag me in... but I continued on nonetheless and was SO glad I did! The plot became ever mysterious and riveting and even managed to surprise me with a few unexpected twists. Excellent read, moving on to the sequel! :D ( )
  kirako | Oct 16, 2015 |
This young adult novel blends paranormal fantasy with steampunk fiction in a tale about Tessa Grey. Tessa's Aunt passes away so Tessa comes over to London from New York to join her brother who has sent her a ticket for passage. She is met by two women who say they are charged to transport her to her brother, but they have other plans. Tessa soon learns that this new world is really where she belongs. This novel is full of adventure, mystery and intrigue.
I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of Shadowhunters (Nephilim - half angel/half human) and Downworlders (the world of paranormal - vampires, werewolves, warlocks, etc). This was a fresh and interesting take on the rules and lifestyles of these fantastical creatures. I thought the blending with steampunk fiction, which is gaining popularity, really gave the story more depth and interest. It ends with a few unanswered questions and leaves you wanting the next installment of this series. ( )
  jaimelee77 | Jul 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 269 (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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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