Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)
by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: August 31, 2010
2010 Margaret K. McElderry Book
Hardcover Edition; 481 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Historical/Paranormal
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
4 / 5 Stars
Tessa Gray descends into Victorian London's dark underworld to search for her missing brother, with the mysterious Shadowhunters as her only allies.
While I truly did enjoy this book from beginning to end, and thought there were some really great elements in this story, I did feel like there was something missing, although I couldn't quite put my finger on it. The story was entertaining, full of suspense, quick-paced, and although I enjoyed the set-up for future storylines, I felt like something was missing at the heart of the story.
First of all, it took me quite a while to feel anything for Tessa, and a feeling of connection with the main character has always been really important to me when becoming involved in a story. While I felt sorry for her plight, I just couldn't quite feel that connection with her, and the necessary sympathy that needed to come with her situation. While I thought she had guts, courage, and determination, and I liked how she was also searching for information on her situation and the people around her, I did think she was a little cold and didn't quite show the sympathy she needed. Luckily, that changed around the halfway mark in the story and I could feel myself warming up to her gradually as the story unfolded and I was happy about that. I just felt like there was some 'soul' missing to Tessa. However, I really enjoyed Will and Jem and couldn't get enough of those two characters. The image of 'light and dark' kept coming to mind and I was enthralled by their stories and their personalities. Although Will could be cruel and I was never sure of his loyalties, I always seem to be attracted to the darker personalities as I find them more interesting. I also think that because Ms. Clare only gives us teasing clues as to his history that it makes him that much more interesting as well; there just seems to be so much depth to Will's character that I can't wait to learn more about him.
The setting of the story always puts me in mind of Gail Carriger's London, and I love this setting. I love how everything seems so dark and secretive, with glamours and magic, and a secret side to London that only a select few know about. I have always been attracted to stories about ancient powers, and secrets, and magic, so this kind of story is right up my alley. While I did find some aspects to the storyline somewhat predictable, I am happy to say the moments were few and far between, and the twists and turns make this novel edgy and creative and fascinating. I found the clockwork army to be quite creepy and as the novel reached its final resolution, there were some things that happened that were unexpected and creepy. Loads of fun!
One of the things I did enjoy in this novel was the interplay amongst the young ladies in this novel to behave like young ladies or to be shadowhunters, something that is very contradictory. I think Ms. Clare did a wonderful job highlighting the dichotomy between the two and the conflict this would present to young ladies brought up during this time period. There were some edgy moments which definitely brings out the mannerisms and attitudes of people who lived at this time. Tessa and Jess were two very different young ladies and I love how Ms. Clare plays them off of each other; yet, Jess could be as strong and capable as any shadowhunter out there.
While there were some things I thought were missing from this novel, there were so many wonderful and great things about it too. I love the setting and the many different characters make the interplay fun and interesting. There was suspense, mystery, action, twists and turns, and even some romance. I am definitely looking forward to the next novel in this series, Clockwork Prince, in 2011.