Rummanah Aasi
  When author Cassandra Clare announced she was writing a prequel to her best-selling series, The Mortal Instruments, I was listening closely. As more details were made known, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy. I was fortunate enough to meet Clare at a presentation and signing at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL, where she generously answered her fans' questions and sign books.

Description (from book's panel): 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.

Review: Clockwork Angel takes place approximately 150 years before the Mortal Instrument series and its setting is in Victorian England. Victorian England is my favorite literary time period, which is closely followed by the Romantics. The English major in me was excited and curious to see how Clare pulls off Victorian England in her book and she does it remarkably well. Clare covers the everyday Victorian lifestyle from fashion to people's mannerisms. I loved how each chapter of the book is prefaced with a quote from Victorian literature. I had a blast trying to figure out how each passage correlates to the chapter as well as the whole book.
  While there are inevitable similarities between Clockwork Angel and City of Bones in terms of plot structure and characters, Clockwork Angel does hold its own. All of the characters are fully drawn out and have unique voices, including the diabolical villain. Our heroine, Tessa, is spunky, intelligent, determined, and stubborn. She refuses to be passive, which is how women were considered to be in Victorian England. In fact, what I found most appealing in Clockwork Angel are characters who are constantly fighting against stereotypes in their society whether it be racial or gender stereotypes. There is also a struggle of accepting ones true identity, which is equally fascinating.
  Will is the handsome, sarcastic, witty bad boy who loves to make others believe he is worthless. Fans of Jace in the Mortal Instrument series will be instantly drawn to him. For me, however, I was drawn to the quite, well mannered, and incredibly sweet Jem who has a dark past. I can't wait to see how these characters develop in the sequels of this series.
  Some people have complained that Clockwork Angel is a bit hard to get into, but I didn't find that to be the case at all. There was enough battle scenes, humor, and romantic tension throughout the novel that held my attention. I never felt bored nor did I think the story lost its pace. Though some of the plot twists were predictable, I was caught off guard on a few, particularly the mystery of the Magister. Actually, I found this novel easy to follow unlike City of Bones where I was constantly trying to sort out the world building and the numerous characters introduced all at once. Clare does a good job in providing enough and clear background information for those who may not have read her first series. While reading the Mortal Instrument series is not required, readers who have read the series will be given added bonuses with the connections they can make between the two series. The book does end with a cliffhanger, so be warned, but the ride is so worth it. I can't wait for round two!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is mild language and there is PG-13 violence in the book. I'd recommend this book to grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: The Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray, Prophecy of Sisters by Michelle Zink, or The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare
5 Responses
  1. Jenni Elyse Says:

    Your review is very well thought out. And, I agree with what you said. I was drawn to Will, but I do like Jem as well. I can't wait to see what happens in the next two books. Hopefully, it won't be torture to wait for them.

  2. Hermana Maw Says:

    Great review. Thanks!

  3. Safoora Says:

    I got this book ages ago, but have still yet to crack it open....I think I'm just waiting so I can savor it. Great review, Rum!

  4. great review! this looks so good, i'm hoping to read it soon!

  5. Nat Says:

    Excellent review!!! I loved this one too. Clare is the best.

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