Author: Cassandra Clare
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (August 31, 2010)
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.
Arriving in London with the expectation of meeting with her brother, Tessa Gray leaves her lifetime home in New York and is quickly taken by two ladies called the Dark Sisters. After some grueling torment, the Dark Sisters find that Tessa, indeed, has the power to change into any person--dead or alive--by holding a trinket that was once theirs. From this discovery transcends the events that later follow when Tessa is rescued by a Shadowhunter named William Herondale. Keeping her safe at the Institute was the only solution possible, so the Shadowhunters thought. When new evidence is found that the reason for Tessa's kidnapping was more deeply cultivated than anyone thought, the Nephilim set out to find the Magister, in pursuit of stopping a formidable war.
I thought that the characters of Clockwork Angel might have been the best part, but when it got to some serious action, I was proved terribly wrong. The characters: Will, Tessa, Jem, Jessamine...Every single one had their unique personalities and histories that you can only find in a Cassadra Clare masterpiece. While I regret not having read City of Glass, I'd recognize Clare's style of writing and character-developing anywhere. The poetry and quotes introduced by Tessa's love of novels and books was a fascinating break to find in the blood and gore of the Shadowhunter mentality. And although I prefer the latter and didn't really partake in Tessa's brief belief that ladies were not meant to fight, it only added to the difference and era to be expected from London in 1878. In the Institute, Tessa learns about the world of Downworlders--what she is--and Shadowhunters, their background and way of life. It was excellent world-building on Clare's part and made an incredible guide for a newbie just diving into a new view of the universe they assume they've known they're whole lives. To quote something slightly from the book, as if from looking at the world as a flat surface to a round globe; paraphrasing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the twisted humor in the beginning and the Shadowhunters that came with it. Will and Jem seem to be a perfect match as they're so different. Both have different pain-filled stories to tell, and they even differentiate in the point of sharing who they are with others. All-in-all, from the cast of characters to the world-building and developing, Clare did a great job in creating this conjoined world and prequel of her original The Mortal Instrument series. I will be keeping my eye out for the rest of this series and can't stand that I must restrain myself for another year for the next installment in The Infernal Devices series.
Recommended to YA readers that have enjoyed Clare's work before, and even newbies that are just starting to discover her awesomeness.
Source: Simon & Schuster