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Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)Clockwork Angel
Written by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
NOT a publisher requested review

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Summary (Courtesy of Barnes and Noble):
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.
 Another perfect offering from the always brilliant mind of Cassandra Clare. Beautiful imagery, a really awesome steampunk theme, striking characters and an action-packed story that will suck you in and never let you go. Full review after the jump. WARNING: SPOILERS!

I will start this review with another warning: if you read this book, you will be hopelessly addicted to yet another series. Cassie Clare does not disappoint in this prequel/companion to her Mortal Instruments series. Even the most critical part of my brain could find little wrong with this book, if anything at all. It's smart, funny, emotional and exciting all rolled in to one delightfully sexy steampunk package. I don't think I've gone into such serious book withdrawal since I finished Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire last year and had to wait for Mockingjay's release, and anyone who knows me can tell you that was rough times.

Clare has a way with creating characters that both infuriate and endear themselves to you. In the Mortal Instruments, it was Jace Wayland. In Clockwork Angel and the upcoming additions to the Infernal Devices, it's Will Herondale. In the words of one of my Twitter buddies, he is "sex on legs," with his striking appearance of black hair, dark blue eyes and pale skin. He even looks amazing with a bruise-and-cut-filled face, unlike most people. Strong, protective and beautiful are just a few of the traits you initially see in Will. He's hilarious and cocky, much like Jace in the other series, and suffering internally from unseen damage from his childhood. If I had any complaints about this book, it would be that Will was far too much like Jace, at least early in the book. He is truly damaged, however, in a way that Jace was not. He seeks out ways to make himself the bad guy, though deep down it's obvious he isn't. He's one of those guys you want to take home and make better.

Clare also has a way of keeping things balanced by having a truly wonderful male character that is central to her heroine's life. In this case, it was Jem, who I fell in love with almost immediately. While Will takes his tragic past and turns it into an angry force, Jem turns his into caring and compassion. Smart, good-hearted and beautiful in his own right, Jem is a worthy opponent to Will for the affections of the female lead, Tessa. And Tessa is an awesome lead character. She's strong, smart and loyal, to a fault at some points. I really can't wait to see how this all plays out, especially finding out what Tessa is, exactly, and what happens to Jem. I'm itching for Clockwork Prince to come out!

As always, Clare's writing is impeccable. Everything is perfectly described, visual without being too wordy. The story is gripping and raw, pulling on the heart in a way that is seldom achieved in some stories. I hardly cry when reading any books, but a supporting character's death brought tears to my eyes. This story had everything you could hope for and more.

All in all, I say go out and buy this book right this second. It's worth every penny and then some.

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