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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Hooke

Review of 'Clockwork Angel'

By Cassandra Clare, 2010, Walker Books

Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror, Romance

Rating: 👻👻👻 1/2 (3.5 out of 4 boos)

“In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…”

What’s the main character like?

Although there are a handful of chapters dipping into the minds of characters like Will and the matriarchal Shadowhunter figure, Tessa serves as the heroine of this tale. Her personality didn’t grab me at first because I was more wrapped up in the intricacies and instant excitement of the plot. Once things slowed down, however, and I saw Tessa’s reactions to the dangerous world around her, I grew to like her quite a bit. She has set ideas about how females of her time should behave, yet she constantly finds herself defying rules and representing girls in a positive light. My other favorite aspect of her is that she’s an enthusiastic reader. Also, Clare writes her as “pretty,” but she never dwells on this idea as the most significant part of who Tessa is.

How scary is it?

I had no nightmares on account of this book, but Clare has a special talent for describing gore and supernatural creatures in a way that makes me want to relish in her sentences. I’m a sucker for well-written horror that seems to pay homage to classics like Frankenstein and Dracula. But if graphic descriptions of vampires, demons, and blood disturb you, you may find this book a bit too scary to read.

Who might like this book?

A huge duh, but readers who enjoyed the Mortal Instruments series would enjoy Book One of this prequel series. Readers who enjoy classics like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights or other dark classic love stories may also enjoy many elements of Clockwork Angel. Anglophiles, especially those who love the Victorian era, will be attracted to Clare’s blend of historic London with a fantasy world.

What did I like best?

I liked the last half of the book, once I knew who all the characters were. I enjoyed not being able to guess exactly how the book would end. I also like the romance because it isn’t fluffy. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, which I love because of how frustrating the Jane/Rochester relationship can be. Clockwork Angel puts me in that same kind of head space with a couple of its characters (just kiss already!).

What wasn't my favorite?

The first fifty pages were slow for me, even though the plot was pretty exciting right away. There was nothing wrong with them. I’m just not a huge exposition fan, and there seemed to be so much to explain in terms of setting and characters and situations.

What was my personal experience reading this book?

I’m one-hundred percent unaware of what happens in the Mortal Instruments series, even though that series was written before the Infernal Devices series, which Clockwork Angel is part of. I’ve never even seen the movies. I don’t know if it’s the same characters. Maybe I’m missing out on the significance of certain things, but I had no trouble understanding the plot. If you’re a stickler for reading books chronologically, start with Clockwork Angel. If you’re a stickler for reading books in the order they were published, start with the Mortal Instruments series. I think you’ll be good either way, but maybe I’ll change my mind after I get around to reading the Mortal Instruments series and think, “Oh, no, I wish I’d read this first!” I’ll get back to you on that.

Have you ever read a book series out of order? Or seen a sequel to a movie before seeing the first one? Did you regret it...or was it no big deal? Post about it below!

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