Title: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy > Paranormal
Synopsis: 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…
Final Rating: ★★★★☆
Would I recommend? For fans of low-fantasy and adventure novels.
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Actual rating: 4.5
While I had heard mixed reviews regarding Cassandra Clare’s ‘The Mortal Instruments’ series, I had heard nothing but fantastic things about this one. Historical settings in fantasy arouse my interest far more than urban settings for some reason, which is also why I was looking forward to reading this a lot more than I was looking forward to reading TMI. But, I wasn’t sure what order to read Clare’s books in. Upon research and inquiries, I was told to read her books in publishing order, so that’s what I’m doing. After three TMI books, I finally got to the book I had been looking forward to the most.
Not only is that cover gorgeous, the book is fantastic as well. Despite having extremely high expectations, I was not disappointed. It may even have gotten a full five-star rating from me if I hadn’t been totally caught up in midterms and the house-move, but because it took me a long while to read it, I gave it a 4.5.
All-in-all, this was a really entertaining read with fun, nuanced characters, a gripping plot, a beautiful setting and light, easy-to-read writing. I’ll definitely be continuing on with the series.
I don’t usually like comparing books, even if they are by the same author, but I can’t help it in this scenario. TMI and TID are both set in the same world, the lore and fantasy is the same and the writing is very similar. Although TMI is a very entertaining and fun series, I feel that the Victorian London setting of TID does more for the world and the setting than the modern setting of New York ever did. The historical setting makes the going-ons so much more ominous and dark, and less tacky too.
I loved the concept of the clockwork robots. I thought that was very clever, and even though I didn’t get the answers I was hoping to get, I was still intrigued enough to carry on with the series. There were twists and turns throughout the book, and the main twist was completely unexpected. I usually tend to guess what’s going to happen in YA novels, but for this one, I was totally taken aback. The action kept me on the edge of my seat, and this book was never dull.
I will say that sometimes there’s so much action that it starts feeling forced. I thought the same about TMI. It’s like Cassandra Clare is afraid that people will stop reading if there’s a slight lull in the middle of the novel; that’s not true. There’s no need for constant action- in fact, lulls are sometimes good for other things like character development etc.
I didn’t really care for the characters in TMI. I liked Simon and Alec and Magnus and Isabelle, but the main characters did nothing for me. That was not the case in this book. I was completely invested in the protagonists and the secondary characters. They were so much more real and nuanced. Clare does a really good job of constructing the tortured, brooding love interest, but this trope was so much better carried out than it was in TMI. There was no insta-love. It developed, and it was a pleasure to see unfold.
Tessa is a great main character. She’s feisty, she’s smart, but she’s reckless. Even though I didn’t relate to her, I still understood her completely. She has a mission: to find her brother. And often, family takes a backseat when romance comes into the picture, but that doesn’t happen in this novel. Will Herondale is an interesting character. He’s very well-developed, and although I don’t know much about his past at all, I’m still completely invested in him. Jem is a different character; his character is not something you see in books often. Or at least that’s what I think. He’s quiet and mysterious, but he’s kind and caring, and he has a strange past that he’s not open about but neither is he especially secretive about it. I can’t really explain how I feel about Jem as a character, but I can say that he doesn’t get nearly enough credit!
I’m now a fan of Clare’s writing. At first, I thought it was nothing special. It didn’t pop. But now, I’ve come to realize that that’s what makes it so fun to read. She doesn’t force strange metaphors down her readers’ throats, nor does she use extremely flowery language to establish her English skills. It’s surprising how clunky people’s writings are sometimes, just because they feel that they need to prove something. Cassandra Clare, despite being such a big name in the YA industry, doesn’t do that. Her writing is effortless. It flows and it’s a lot of fun to read, and that’s exactly what reading should be about: fun.