Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.A Clockwork Angel is the first book in Clare's new Infernal Devices series. Now, it's been awhile since I've read the Mortal Instruments series. So I had a bit of trouble trying to recall all of the background on the Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Because the characters in A Clockwork Angel are the ancestors to Clary, Jace, etc. I kept trying to relate them back to the Mortal Instruments series. However, I have a horrible memory when it comes to recalling books. I read so many and I just don't retain a lot of the details that other readers seem to be able to recall. It's such a pain! I was kind of frustrating myself trying to remember all the stuff from the Mortal Instruments series that it was hampering my enjoyment of the story. So when I decided to just stop trying recollect everything and enjoy this as a stand alone title and not how it related to the Mortal Instruments series, I was able to immerse myself and enjoy the book. And enjoy it I did! I LOVED this book. I think I'm going to end up liking this series more than the Mortal Instruments series. I think the world that Clare has created works so well in the historical context. I think that is part of why I enjoyed this book so much!
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.
The characters Clare has created with Tessa, Will, and Jem are complex. Tessa, clearly holds traditional views of women in her society. I think these views will be tested and eventually altered as the series progresses. In this book we already saw Tessa growing more independent and stronger. Doing things I don't think she ever imagined she could do.
I love Will. He's clearly a tortured hero, which is one of my literary weaknesses. I love his self deprecating, sarcastic sense of humor. I love the banter between Tessa and Will. I cannot wait to discover what his deep dark secret is!
Jem is the antithesis of Will. While I didn't love him as much as Will. I think he's an interesting character especially with his "handicap". I don't see him as a love interest for Tessa; I think it's all about Will for her. But I think Jem is and will become a great friend to Tessa. But I am decidedly Team Will, no doubt!
I loved the idea of the clockwork army, so creepy and the whole book has that Victorian horror novel kind of feel to it. I mentioned before but I really think Clare's world works really well in this historical setting. This was an excellent start to what promises to be another excellent YA fantasy series!
Be sure to check out the website for The Infernal Devices series. There's background information and even character sketches!