by Cassandra Clare
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Ages 14 - 17
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.
As usual, I'm the last person on earth to read this book. With the Mortal Instruments movie out (based on the books by the same author) I thought maybe, just maybe, I should see what all the fuss is about. What I understand is that the Infernal Devices series is a pre-quel to the Mortal Instruments series. Clockwork Angel is a steampunk/paranormal mash up set in Victorian England inhabited by warlocks, werewolves, vampires and, of course, Shadow Hunters.
I've been pretty open about the fact that I don't care much for books with vampires and werewolves. I tolerated the Twilight series, and barely dragged myself through Shiver and a handful of others. But I'm pretty much burned out on that stuff. Truthfully, I had no idea Clockwork Angel was another paranormal story when I started in. And you know what? I really loved it. The author takes a rather over-used theme and gives it a unique and creative twist mixing the supernatural with steampunk killer automatons. The characters are all quite interesting and kept me guessing all the way through. I did figure out the final plot twist well before I should have, but Clare's writing is so fresh, so compelling I still went rigid with anticipation waiting for the hammer to fall.
All in all, Clockwork Angel is one of the most inventive and exciting tales I've read this year - right up there with Rick Yancey's The Monstromologist, which I loved, loved, loved. A must read for anyone up for a fast-paced supernatural thriller - even if does have vampires.