Clockwork Angel

Posted by Cobalt | Posted in , , , | Posted on 6:30 AM

Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

Tessa Gray has a problem. Several problems, actually. Her aunt has died suddenly, leaving her an orphan in New York in 1878 with no worldly belongings and little cash. Fortunately, her brother Nate has just sent her steamer tickets and a letter, inviting her to come live with him in London. Except that when she gets there, Nate is not, and Tessa is kidnapped.

Oh, dear.

This is actually a prequel to Cassandra Clare's bestselling Mortal Instruments series, but you don't need to have read those to enjoy Clockwork Angel. Honestly, besides one lovely side character and a few surnames, I didn't recognize much - though it should please fans of the 'later' books.

Also, do not fret: this may be set in Victorian times, but there is no shortage of blood and battle and even some scandalous drenched-shirt action. After all, Clare specializes in three things: action, witty banter, and sizzling chemistry (with some banter on the side).

Tessa is a great protagonist; she is tossed into an overwhelming supernatural world and yet avoids becoming either a) google-eyed and passive or b) improbably adept and Chosen One-ish. The second option was a definite possibility, since Tessa soon discovers that she may not be altogether human. Which is rather a nasty shock.

But, our heroine keeps her priorities straight! First, she must find and rescue her brother from Certain Peril. And if this means consorting with the Enclave, a secret band of supernatural warriors pledged to defend the human race, so be it. And if that means dealing with Will Herondale, a beautiful, magnetic boy with a worrying lack of self-preservation instinct or respect for personal space...well, all in the name of duty!

Will is the obligatory devil-may-care-but-I-sure-as-hell-don't male lead, but I found myself more interested in the other characters through most of the book. And they are well worth the attention, especially Jessamine, a Shadowhunter who is trapped as warrior in a society that values gentle wives -- and the way that she deals with this is fascinating. Yet also frequently annoying.

This book is the first in a trilogy, so do not be surprised at cliffhangers! Because Clare has a nasty habit of those. But I care far too much about the characters now (and my love for Victoriana is neverending) so I'm just going to have to wait with the rest of you. Oh, the pain!

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