Tessa Gray descends into Victorian London's dark underworld to search for her missing brother, with the mysterious Shadowhunters as her only allies.Amazon.com Review
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.
Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Cassandra Clare, Author of Clockwork AngelQ: How does your new series, The Infernal Devices, relate to your previous series, The Mortal Instruments? Do new readers need to read The Mortal Instruments before they read the new series?A: The Infernal Devices take place in the same universe as The Mortal Instruments, but a hundred and fifty years before the events of the Mortal series. You absolutely don't have to read The Mortal Instruments first; I've gotten very enthusiastic feedback from people who started with Clockwork Angel. However, if you are a fan of the Mortal Instruments, you'll see familiar family names--Lightwood, Wayland--and get to see what the ancestors of the characters you already know were up to in the Victorian age. There is at least one character who crosses over both series: the immortal warlock Magnus Bane. For those familiar with the Mortal books, it should be fun to meet him again; for those who haven't read them, it should be fun to meet him for the first time!Q: Do you have a favorite character in Clockwork Angel? A: Like Tessa, I'm torn between Jem and Will! They were both so wonderfully fun to write. Despite having a close brotherly bond, they're really opposites in personality. Will is a character who hides almost everything about himself; Jem is a character who is almost unendingly open and kind. Of course, when either kind of character reaches their breaking point, you have those moments of high drama and intensity that are catnip to writers!Q: What characteristic or personality trait does Tessa possess that you most admire? A: She is extremely persistent and unwilling to give up. When she's imprisoned, she doesn't stop trying to escape; she never stops trying learn new information; she never stops looking for her brother. She never fades quietly into the background; she plants her feet and asks questions--and gets answers, often from the unlikeliest of sources.Q: How much research did you do for Clockwork Angel? What was the most interesting thing that you learned?A: Starting in January of 2009 I took a six-month period of reading only books written during, or set in, the Victorian era--both fiction and nonfiction. I have an entire bookshelf now dedicated just to Victoriana. I also hired a research assistant who dug through primary source materials to find me letters and diaries written at the time. I was especially keen to find diaries of Americans traveling abroad, since Tessa is an American in London. I wanted to get a sense of what her impression as a foreigner would have been. One of the creepiest things I learned about was Victorian death photos, where they would prop up corpses to seem alive and take photos of them for their loved ones to have as keepsakes.Q: Which type of character is the most fun for you to write--the hero or the villain? A: There's a huge appeal to writing both, but there's something special about creating a really good villain. The villain stands outside society. He or she can say or do anything without fear of what the consequences will be for his/her relationships with the other characters. Sometimes the villain is the only one who can speak a vicious or painful truth and get away with it.
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Customer Reviews (154)
A Darkly Woven Story - Missing Only a Few Pieces
As always, Cassandra's strong point is in her characters, not her plots. Of course, there really isn't anything wrong with this plot - it starts out well, has enough action, and a few delicious scenes with evil, dead-eyed clockwork creatures advancing like mechanical zombies. Unfortunately, the brilliant idea of clockwork creatures seemed a bit dull, considering they were not in the least bit scary and were basically chopped into sparking scrap metal on every occasion. As in the Mortal Instruments, there were a few scenes that made my heart start to race, my eyes drinking in the words so fast I missed a couple of sentences, all the while thinking, "SQUEE!! This book is beautiful!" Somehow, after these scenes, I never found the proper satisfaction I was looking for. You know the feeling - when after reading a book, there's a bit of a warm glow in your stomach, as if you've just left the theatre after seeing a good movie. Despite all of her fantastic ideas, sometimes it just...I don't know, gets a bit boring. The plot, as I said, seems like it should work, but it just feels like a filler, a bit of background to add substance to the characters. Clave, Enclave, Ruins, blah, blah. How many times can you say, "Quick, gang! For some touchy supernatural political reason, we have to go and slice some people in two! Yay!" That sounds cool. It should be. But that's all they do. Through the whole book. Boredom strikes again, so I put the book down to go get a more interesting snack.
Cassandra's best characters are her male characters - Will, Jem, and even Henry I thorougly enjoyed. (Henry had loads of potentional. I thought he would be fantastic from the moment he said, "Oh, I remember you! You bit me!")The overall atmosphere of the book was rather dark and moody, set off by the ever-present London rain. However, in some way or another, this book falls short. I like Tessa a great deal more than I liked Clary - she has her moments of dry wit and outbursts which are entertaining - but setting aside these moments, she's not thrilling. (And she is quite a lot like Clary. Like, Will is basically Jace. Oh, and Jessamine, really? No, Cassandra, really? Does every girl in every institute through Shadowhunter history have to be a jerk, so the newly arriving main character does not have any competition?) The one other thing was the villain of the book. Not terribly memorable. Sorry - he's just okay.
Despite all my complaining, I really did like the book. Ask my mum, if you will - she had to constantly steer me away from oncoming walls. (I have a terrible time reading and walking, I must admit.)
Quick & light but too similar to her other books, 2.5 stars
In Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1), Tessa Gray comes to London to meet her brother after a ticket is sent to her in America. When her brother doesn't appear and two women called the Dark Sisters abduct her instead, Tessa finds herself drawn into the city's magical underworld for the misuse of powers she never knew she had. Later freed by the Shadowhunters, including the caustic and beautiful Will, Tessa begins to learn her place in their world as she continues her search for her brother. All the while, the Shadowhunters must fight increasingly dangerous and suspicious enemies, including ones that still want Tessa for themselves.
Like in her City of Bones (Mortal Instruments) (MI) series, Clare has created an easy, quick, and sometimes entertaining read in CLOCKWORK ANGEL. Tessa was a likable protagonist, who's battling between Victorian norms and her own wishes to be more outspoken. Secondary characters, like Sophie, Thomas, and Charlotte, were interesting and sometimes more complex than the main characters. Favorite characters from MI appeared, including Magnus Bane, and readers get to learn their history. Some interesting plot twists emerged as things picked up near the end. This novel also contained the tightest, least flowery language I've ever read by the author.
The main downfall of the book, however, was that it felt entirely too similar to her previous books. The set-up is nearly the same: three young Shadowhunters at an Institute and a new girl - a girl who is quiet and naïve and something she never knew - now thrust into a world she didn't know existed. A main villain emerges and his nefarious plan will undoubtedly span across the trilogy. There's even a question of unclear parentage among one of the characters. Characters from MI are interchangeable with these new ones, with Will obviously a stand-in for Jace and Tessa so like Clary. Instead of Jem (the other young, male Shadowhunter ) being too much like Alec or Simon from MI, the relationship between Will and Jem was uncannily similar to the Ryves brothers in Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon trilogy. Pacing lagged significantly for the first 300 pages, and repetitive language patterns emerged that one can recognize from her other books. The steampunk elements felt unnecessary and underdeveloped, and there were contradictions in this mythology. Many plot points were left unexplained, and a cliffhanger ending results. Even with this cliffhanger, a sense of predictability looms regarding certain relationships and events. The sense of setting and time also failed, in that I never felt the characters were truly in Victorian England based on their interactions and language.
Though I found CLOCKWORK ANGEL to be unoriginal and predictable, I'm sure that many fans of Clare and the MI series will love it nonetheless.In the coming two books, I hope Clare brings more originality to her characterization and plot and a better sense of time and place to make for a more enjoyable read.
An amazing prequel to an already amazing series.
I absolutely loved this book.The way it is tied and connect with the mortal instruments series is phenomenal.I was hooked by the 3rd page.
Love those Shadowhunters
Had no idea I was going to re-enter the world of shadowhunters and demons.When I recieved the book and looked at the cover to find the runes on it, I was so excited. And,even though the book is billed as a pre=quel, it brings back all those memories of the Mortal Instrument series.I love reading books that provide a lineage to character(s) in other series.Here it William Herondale -Shadowhunter, who possesses all those qualities which Jace possesses in the other series but why not, Jace is a decendant of the Herondales. If you haven't read the Mortal Instument series you really must. I cannot wait to see what happens to Tessa and the others as the series unfolds.Could Casandra somehow imply that the shapeshifter in Tessa is the basis for possibly werewolves or others.Lady Camille Belcort surely gets around and could we possible see her in the novel with Simon.All in all this book had placed me back in a realm that I wished I could have been destined for.Keep bringing on those great Shadowhunters especially the Herondales.
She came to London expecting to make a new life with her brother. She did not expect to be kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured into learning to use a power she hadn't even realized she possessed - a power that all too clearly indicates she is not quite human.
After the death of her Aunt and guardian, sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray finds herself quite alone in the world. Practically penniless, Tessa seizes the opportunity to leave New York behind and join her brother in London. But Tessa doesn't find Nate waiting for her when she arrives in Southampton, she is met instead by the Dark sisters. The two sinister old women imprison Tessa and force her to learn a terrifying truth - she has the power to transform herself into any other person, living or dead, simply by holding one of their possessions.
Rescued from the Dark sisters after almost two torturous months by the enigmatic Will Herondale, Tessa finds herself a guest of the London Institute, home of the Nephilim or Shadowhunters. From her new hosts Tessa learns of the true world that most never see, a world that includes demons, vampires, warlocks, faeries and all manner of creatures she can scarcely believe are real. It is to this world that Tessa and her horrifying power belong.
The Nephilim want Tessa to use her power to assist them. She in turn needs the Shadowhunters to help her find her missing brother. As Tessa forms an uneasy alliance with her hosts, she finds herself drawn to two boys, very different from one another and yet the best of friends. Jem is kind, gentle and mostly truthful, yet he is hiding a deadly secret. Will is difficult, moody and keeps everyone around him at a safe emotional distance. Tessa will need both their help and perhaps something more as they track her brother through London's dangerous shadow world.
Once again, I find myself amazed by Cassandra Clare. (I don't know why I'm amazed, since the Mortal Instruments books proved she has the chops to go toe to toe with anyone, but I am.) Ms. Clare has taken the Nephilim and the incredible world she created for the Mortal Instruments back about 130 years and across the ocean and delivers a story that is breathtakingly complete - great plot, great characters and a world that is three dimensional and utterly unique. Clockwork Angel mixes urban fantasy with historical fiction, stirs in a dash of steampunk and turns the whole thing on its head. It's brilliant.
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