Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices, #1
Format: Paperback, bought
My rating: 3.5 / 5
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...
-- As seen on Goodreads
I have a mixed relationship at best with Cassandra Clare’s writing style, so I’m pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed Clockwork Angel as much as I did. Comparing it to my feelings after reading City of Bones a few years ago, I greatly prefer the beginnings of this trilogy. The book is set in Victorian London, and while I do think it got the broad picture of the era across well, it wasn’t as immersive or engaging as I was expecting. I have a mixed relationship with Steampunk books in general – give me subtlety over being smothered in steampunk any day, please and thanks – so I’m really glad it was more on the subtle side here.
Moving onto the characters: Tessa Gray seems like an interesting main character – she seems to have a spine, so that’s an improvement over Clary. I preferred her at the beginning of the book, but by the end she seemed to weaken a bit, and I hope this isn’t a downward trend that’ll show up in the next book. When two potential love interests show up in a story I usually prefer one over the other and never doubt my decision ever again, so it’s a nice change to genuinely like both Will and Jem here. I’ve seen LOTS of love and swooning over William Herondale over the years so I kind of knew what to expect – a concentrated version of Jace Wayland. James Carstairs, on the other hand, I didn’t know anything about, and I’ve got to admit, as intriguing as Will is, Jem is just a complete sweetheart and I have a big weakness for kind-hearted characters. I’m really looking forward to seeing how all their characters develop over the rest of the trilogy.
While I did enjoy the story overall, I did have a few issues. The beginning was really good, but things started to slip after a bit and the story started to dawdle along without anything of relevance happening. I wish the pacing was a bit snappier, and I’ve notice I had a similar complaint in the last book of Cassandra Clare’s that I read. I hope it’s not going to become a trend! As for the story overall, well, I feel like I’ve read it before. I can’t help feeling like it’s a rehashing of City of Bones set a few hundred years in the past. I really hope my opinion changes when I read the second book, so I’m willing to reserve judgement for the time being, anyway!