Hardcover, 496 pages
Grades: 9 and up
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.
I've had the three books that make up the Mortal Instruments series sitting on my shelf for quite some time, patiently waiting for me to pick them up and read them...did I mention that they're all signed too? After having heard so many great things about the series, it's a wonder I haven't touched them yet. But, you know the story, time gets away from you, review copies take priority, etc., etc.
Then came my opportunity to review Clockwork Angel, the first book in the Infernal Devices series, which gave me a glimpse into this world created by Cassandra Clare. By golly, I loved it! (Yes, I just said by golly, lol)
I wasn't sure about Tessa's character right away. She seemed a bit rigid or cold. As the book progressed, all of the characters grew on me considerably. I have to agree with the general consensus that Will needs a good smack upside the head (as many literary characters do), but what the future unfurling of his story holds has got me in a tizzy...the anticipation may just about kill me!
Clare has developed this whole fantastic, dark, Victorian Era landscape, with a touch of magic that makes the reader wish they could be transported into it. She represents technology as it would have been at the time but with these creatures, these mystical beings manipulating gears and such to fit their grand designs, yet still held in check by the limitations of that particular time. I think Clare has done a wonderful job of piecing it all together. I also think this would play out very well, visually, on the big screen, especially scenes with The Dark Sisters. The Silent Brothers are fairly creepy too...
I was shocked at a few things that occurred in Clockwork Angel. Clare does not hold back in the least, pulling at the heart strings and showing no mercy where some of the more likeable characters are concerned. Want to know what I'm referring to? Read the book! I swear you won't regret it.
The unfortunate part is having to wait until September 2011 for the next book in the series, Clockwork Prince, to be released. In the mean time, I am more encouraged than ever to pull City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass off the shelf and read on about the Nephilim.