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Clockwork Angel (2010)
by Cassandra Clare
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Love this series.
A series I love even more than the original mortal instruments, great setting, characters and plots, also makes clever links between the other later characters/stories bounce back and forth between the different series
I love this one, but then my favorite character for this trilogy was Jem, so...
I'm still giving this one a four but my feelings about it are far more complex than my feelings over The Mortal Instruments. I was very conflicted for about the whole first third-to-fifth of the book about how the set up parallels were far too much exactly the same not to grate.
Pretty Capable Girl, who is not all that aware she is pretty or capable, and who is not-quite-human falls into The Institute/Shadowhunter hands through mysterious circumstances and must be educated/protected. The Institute for the most important part consists of three children. One extraordinarily beautiful-but-vain girl, one fragile-sensitive-boy and one reckless-self-preservation-lacking boy (who just happens to apparently have future-passing-genetic traits towards quoting things in other languages).
Someone try to tell me this does actually paraphrase itself as being both series.
Things I really, really, really liked?
Charlotte's age. Henry's bumbling. Seeing different sides of Camille, and more of Magnus, who really seemed normal for himself. Gaping when I'd recognize names. The whole of Agatha, Thomas and Sophie existing and how fraught (with the balances of love, humility, jealousy, loneliness, and gratitude) all of their positions seem to be. Jem's disability.
I teeter totter back and forth on how much do or do not like that the second trilogy of The Mortal Instruments and the whole of The Infernal Devices are going to be unavoidably, intertwined up in each other. The events of Infernal Devices are already all over The City of Lost Angels. Which means if done right (and extensively planned) this could knock my socks off with brilliance. Or it could be a massive let down (if not well planned previously).
I have so many theories about where this one will go already though. Especially how the whole of Will, Jem, Tessa, and Magnus thing will work itself out. And I have a feeling, if it is done right, it will utterly break my heart before it is done. And though I still waffle on whether I like Tessa at all, this is my favorite quote of the book, which is hers while she's being all prickly at the person she usually is:
"Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry."
I really enjoyed this book. I like the characters.
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.
3.5 out of 5 stars! This story, being based in 1878, was sooo interesting to read how much things were different for them "back-in-the-day" compared to how the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders were living during the The Mortal Instruments Series. Plus ... the added bonus of trying to see whom is the ancestor of whom. This novel is everything that I could have hoped for ... and love triangle between Tessa and two great guys (and best friends) Will and Jem (James), along with mystery and then major plot twists at the end. And, so far, except for Tessa, everyone really isn't who they seem. I can't wait to see what will happen in the nest book called the "Clockwork Princess" coming out in 2012!!
Read more of this review and a TEASER here: https://frommetoyouvideophoto.blogspot...
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Wikipedia in English (1)
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.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.6 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 21st Century
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Given all the hype for this book series I gotta say... its less than I expected and for a book that demands muscle use... It feels like running a race expecting a cake at the end and being given a carrot.
There was so much unecessary depth to this book that even when I skimmed and skipped parts it made no difference. and I admit I skipped a lot of the Charlotte parts of the story. Her character bored me to much.
However I do find Tessa an acceptable lead character I fear she is gonna fall into the blatant love triangle crap that no teen book of today seems to be able to just push aside. though it hasn't happened yet.
The two guys who I assume she's gonna fall for seem awesome enough. One nicer and more sweet than the other. same sh*t different title.
plot was obvious but the read was good. I can't make my mind up if I enjoyed it or not as a lot of the book was just there and some of it was kinda gripping.
I think if the covers were different people would have judged the book more harshly.
I'm part way through the second and it doesn't seem to be improving ( )