Friday, October 15, 2010

Clockwork Angel

Rating: 4 out of 5 Automatons

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother in Victorian England, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organization called the Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she has the power to transform at will into another person. 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, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. She soon finds herself fascinated by - and torn between - two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and Will, whose volatile moods keep everyone at arm's length. As their search draws them deep into a 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. (Book Description on front and back flaps)

I absolutely loved The Mortal Instruments trilogy. It introduced me to a world of Shadowhunters, angels, demons, warlocks, and fairies all in the bustling streets of New York City. The characters in those books are delightful, strong, and funny and the plot and the action never ceases.

When I first found out that Clare was going to write a prequel to the MI trilogy, I cringed. Prequels are hard to do right. Further, when I read the plot for the first book Clockwork Angel I could not help but see the similarities between the MI trilogy and the Infernal Devices. Mostly in the characters.

Tessa and Clary: Change Clary into a tall, dark-haired girl from New York living in Victorian England and you get Tessa. They are both strong characters, but I seemed to like Clary more than I did Tessa despite their obvious similarities. Oh and both are helplessly attracted to the guy that treats them like dirt.

Will and Jace: Dye Jace's hair black and turn his eyes blue and put him in Victorian England's suits and you get Will. Granted, Will has an English accent, but they both have the sarcastic sense of humor, the tortured past, and an undeniable attraction to a girl they should not be attracted to. While Jace chooses to be in love with a girl that just might be his sister, Will shows an attraction to a Downworlder.

Jem and Alec: Turn Alec into an albino and you get Jem. However, Jem is much more likable a character than Alec is. Both, though, are the trusted friend above all else to the bad boy. The twist in this is that Jem also likes Tessa where Alec actually is somewhat in love with Jace. So many love triangles my head is spinning.

Jessamine and Isabelle: Both are gorgeous girls who do not want to be Shadowhunters. Their determination is to be normal. Again, though, I liked Isabelle more than Jessamine who is so unbelievably selfish that you just want to reach through the pages and strangle her where Isabelle has a few more redeeming qualities.

All in all I think the characters in MI are more likable. The characters in Clockwork Angel seem like carbon copies of Clare's previous characters that I had grown to love.

Now that I have said that I must say that, despite all these things, I still enjoyed the book. I love Clare's writing. Some people get bored with her descriptions. I remember reading City of Bones and just being amazed because it seemed like her words just jumped off the pages and pulled me into another world. Each word was sparkling with imagery and magic. This book has some of that same flavor but it is not as prevalent. It felt a little more stripped down and uncomfortable at times. There were moments I kept thinking "This is Victorian England. I don't think they would really be talking like this." But Clare has managed to modernize Victorian England in a pleasing way.

I gave it 4 out of 5 automatons simply because it lacked the same luster that the other series did. The writing was not as good. I almost gave it 3.5 but what Clare lacked in originality she made up with the introduction of clockwork creatures and being brave enough to make a story in Victorian England that feels like it could be happening anytime. I am still a huge fan of Cassandra Clare and I look forward to the next installment in this trio as well as the second trilogy in her Mortal Instruments series.

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