Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Book Review: Clockwork Angel

Before I left school, probably when I was procrastinating on studying, I glanced through the catalog of the library near my home and discovered that they had both of Cassandra Claire's new books and requested both of them, good thing since I was 15th in line for City of Fallen Angels and about sixth in line for this one. For whose who aren't familiar with the series, this is the start of a new series, The Infernal Devices, and is set in the same world as her other series, The Mortal Instruments, but over a hundred years earlier in Victorian times. Since there are a couple of long-lived characters in this series there is a small bit of crossover but I don't think that someone needs to have read/even know the general gist of TMI to read this one (also, not abbreviating that again, that's just awkward).

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
In a rather nice touch, this cover looks similar to the covers for the first series (one of the major characters against a backdrop of the city) but has a few differences (like the character being in parallel and not having their face obscured). I like the color scheme a lot although I do wish it was Tessa on the cover (I'm assuming this is Will on the cover) instead since the story is told mostly through her point of view for this book.

Summary: Tessa, a girl from the US who is now on her own, finds herself traveling across the pond to Victorian England in search of her brother but instead discovers a world of magic with warlocks, vampires and werewolves all at each others throats and constantly wary of Shadowhunters, the humans who keep the peace. Tessa alerts the Shadowhunters to an underground plot to create an army of clockwork monsters to overthrow them all and must come to terms with the idea that she herself is not quite human.

The Good: The story has a good sized cast and all of them get at least one good scene and there is a surprising number of badass normals, many more than in The Mortal Instruments. Another nice improvement is that, while part of the conflict is wrapped up at the end of this story, it feels very much like a series instead of a few books with the same big bad creating new problems each time (although I may feel differently by the end of the series). There is a sequel hook at the end of course (several actually) but even with those I would be content to read this as a stand-alone book. 

The Bad: From the way the book is written it seems rather clear where the love triangle is going (one character has a death flag and the other is a narrator at times, either one would be a big clue) and that begs the question, why write a love triangle in the first place anyway? True I’m not a huge fan of love triangles, and I would prefer the pairing I don’t believe is going to happen, but it still bothers me. I was also sad that Mangus Bane, who was a fairly important side character in The Mortal Instruments (and it seemed like the author hinted that he would have a large role here was well) had a very tiny role and he was also the only non-straight character in the entire work which was also sad. Sure there often aren’t a lot of LGTBQ characters in period works but nothing says that you can’t have them, plenty of other authors have found ways to work those kinds of characters in.

I didn't enjoy this book as much as I hoped it would, especially since I saw about a million, fangirlish reviews for it (yes it was THOSE reviews that helped motivate me to start this blog) and didn't find anything about this book to be extra-special/special enough for me to remember it and suggest it to friends. Perhaps I'll like the series better after another volume (ie, after the character development kicks in)  but for the moment I'm not holding my breath. 

Also, forgot to say this earlier but, I'm NOT going to post a movie review tomorrow since I just haven't had any time to watch anything, still catching up with anime I missed while I was gone. I will post something new tomorrow to make up for it and things will go back to normal Sunday, sorry for all the weirdness!