Clorkwork Angel by Cassandra Clare was majorly on sale at the airport on Sunday as I embarked on another work trip. I thought I would pick it up to read on the plane. Confession: I immediately loved the cover of the novel and had read all about the appearance of another addition to the popular Steampunk genre.
Orphaned Tessa Gray is desolate when her aunt dies knowing that the meager life she led is a comparative solace to the loneliness of being all alone as a young Victorian woman. When her brother sends for her, including a steamer ship passage to London with his telegram, Tessa embarks on a journey across the ocean to the vast, dirty and mystical world of London. Things take a nasty turn when she is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters and made to practice and hone her, until now unknown, shape-shifting ability to help them plan their own infernal purposes. A chance encounter with a dapper young hero named Will transplants her to the world of the Shadowhunters: a community strongly linked with the supernatural. Demons, vampires, goblins and other creatures of the night now populate her world and as Tessa draws closer to this esoteric community and becomes more and more attached to Will and his gleaming, fragile best friend Jem, Tessa learns that she and her brother are part of a much larger mechanism propelling the city from underneath.
A dark, sinister and enchanting tale of human device stripped of soul ( sometimes literally), Clockwork Angel is an engaging, rapid-fast addition to the urban fantasy genre. I really liked Clare’s London: vaguely painted and outlined so that the reader can import their own ideas and colour in the lines. I also enjoyed the peripheral characters and was impressed at how well Clare developed them. It is quite obvious she knows her “World” like the back of her hand and all of the players within it. Finally, the erudite quotes that well-represent each chapter, and flashed at their headings, and the informed way she inserts literary references and Tessa’s affinity to books that feel like home to her, was welcome. Perhaps most welcome was Clare’s understanding of the publishing world of the era. She didn’t slip up once at knowing what would be available and by whom. I was pleasantly surprised. She shows great knowledge and depth in her writing for teens. There is, of course, a love triangle and it will be interesting to see how fellow readers make their choice for which of the dazzling heroes and why. I am very sternly set on my “pick” and would love to discuss if anyone wants to throw their two cents in.
I will definitely read more of this fun and smartly dark series and hope that Clare publishes the next installment shortly. Tessa becomes stronger and more willful as the story progresses and teenage girls should find plenty to admire in her ( more than they would ever find in that stupid, white-faced, fall-over-at-the-drop-of-a-dime- Bella Swan). A smarter offering in this genre --- Readers who enjoy the love triangle of Twilight will find a vastly superior plot and character vehicle here and those pining for the resurrection of the Hunger Games will enjoy its spirited kick-ass heroine and the boys who pine for her. Good Times.