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.
--Description courtesy of Amazon.com
Clockwork Angel is the first book in the Infernal Devices, a prequel series to the wildly popular Mortal Instruments series. Set 140 years prior to the Mortal Instruments, in Victorian London, we get to meet some old friends (Magnus Bane, anyone?) and ancestors of other characters.
I have heard talk that this book is just like the Mortal Instruments, with the same basic characters and situations, just set in a different time period. While there is another love triangle, I don't agree that this is just a repeat of a successful story. Jace and Clary from the Mortal Instruments are distinctly different from Will and Tessa. Jace, for example, is mysterious, brooding, but captivating; Will, on the other hand, is just frustrating. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he were bi-polar, that's how fast his mood can change from hostile to romantic and back again, all without any explanation. I hope Cassandra has a really good reason for his behavior! Also, Clary is more of a gung-ho fighting type; you know she is a strong person. Tessa doesn't seem that way, at first; her strength is more hidden, but ultimately we see that she is even more stubborn and iron-willed than Clary. Tessa just hides it under impeccable manners.
There are a myriad of beautiful poetry selections from Victorian authors interspersed throughout the book. I love a good, pertinent quote, it can really add to the story, and it was obvious that the author took care in selecting poetry from Oscar Wilde, Robert Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and others of the era.
What I love about Cassandra Clare is that, though best read in order, each book in the series can be read separately, and will stand as a complete story. Many authors use the "middle" books in a series only as a means to advance the "end" story; while sometimes necessary, it can be very frustrating to the reader. Clockwork Angel can be read before or after the Mortal Instruments without any confusion.
Fans of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series will undoubtedly be pleased by this new series debut. I can't wait for the next installment!
"That was enterprising." Will sounded nearly impressed.
Nate smiled. Tessa shot him a furious look. "Don't look pleased with yourself. When Will says 'enterprising,' he means 'morally deficient.'"
"No, I mean enterprising," said Will. "When I mean morally deficient, I say, "Now that's something I would have done."