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Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Review & Giveaway: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Reading level: Young Adult 
Hardcover: 496 pages 
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (August 31, 2010) 
Language: English
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound 
Excerpt: Chapter 1

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.

Book Opening: 

"London. April. 1878
The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

William Herondale jerked back the dagger he was holding, but it was too late. The viscous acid of the demon's blood had already begun to eat away at the shining blade. He swore and tossed the weapon aside; it landed in a filthy puddle and commenced smouldering ike a doused match. The demon itself, of course, had vanished—dispatched back to whatever hellish world it had come from, though not without leaving a mess behind."

Notable Scene: 

"Tessa took a long breath of the foggy air. It tasted of city, metal and ashes and horses and river water. "I just—I feel sometimes as if I can't bear it. Any of it. I wish I'd never learned what I was. I wish Nate had stayed home and none of this had ever happened!"

"Sometimes," Jem said, "our lives can change so fast that the change outpaces our minds and hearts. It's those times, I think, when our lives have altered but we still long for the time before everything was altered—that is when we feel the greatest pain. I can tell you, though, from experience, you grow accustomed to it. You learn to live your new life, and you can't imagine, or even really remember how things were before."  -Page 308

Sixteen-year old Tessa Gray has a voracious appetite for reading. But the last thing she expected when she came to London was to cross paths with the types of creatures only ever brought to life in popular fiction. Unfortunately for Tessa, fiction has become fact and life will never again be the same. Not only is she kidnapped and tortured by the Dark Sisters, but she learns she's not exactly quite so normal herself. Determined to find her brother, Tessa teams up with the Shadowhunters, an eclectic bunch of young demon slayers. But will she live long enough to find out what happened to her brother? And why do dark forces within the city want to capture her and gain control over her newfound abilities?

 Prepare to fall back into time with Clockwork Angel.  Much like Tessa felt as she took her first tentative steps off the steamliner ship and onto the dreary Southhampton dock, I found myself being pulled into the shadowy world of Old London. Except unlike her, I didn't ever want to leave. CLOCKWORK ANGEL ensnared me—hook, line and sinker. 

Cassandra Clare lured me in with her addictive, intense writing. I loved the attention to detail. There was everything you'd expect prevalent during that time—women bustling about in period dresses, focused on  finding husbands and maintain their place in the home, horse drawn carriages clickety-clacketing down cobblestone streets illuminated only by gaslight.  Just your typical Victorian era scene, right? Wrong. Almost immediately, the reader is plunged into a world where clockwork automaton armies are being amassed, demons lurk in dark corners and vampires prey on the city, using their glamour to keep humans from being any real threat.  

The Shadowhunters were an amazing cast of characters. All were dedicated to fighting evil, yet I couldn't help but feel like they were each secretly grappling with personal demons of their own. It fascinated me to catch glimpses of their true personalities and learn about the circumstances which brought them to the doorstep of the Institute. Tessa was by far my favorite. I loved how her character progressed from slightly naïve to clever, strong-willed survivor. She never stopped trying to do the right thing and to find out the truth. Will Herondale was my second favorite character. I loved his bristling personality—he seemed to be trying to make everyone despise him by acting improper and derelict, but there was so much more to him than that. It was obvious Will was hiding a lot of pain under his rough exterior. Although many a time I wanted to smack him for being such a hot head, I loved the tension between him and Tessa. Take this passage for example—

"Are you cold?" Lacing his fingers with hers Will took her hand and pressed it to his cheek. She was startled by the feverish heat of his skin. "Tess," he said, his voice thick and soft with desire, and she leaned toward him, swaying like a tree whose branches were righted by snow. Her whole body ached; she ached, as if there was a terrible hollow emptiness inside of her." - page 290

Jem  was the perfect counter balance to Will. Kind and sensitive, I felt sympathetic to his character. Jessima was a bit of an enigma. Obviously talented, she despised her role as a hunter and wanted nothing more than a normal life. I'm interested in what will become of her character in future books. Sophie the parlor maid was not part of the Shadowhunters but I felt a strong attachment to her character. She was such a good person; one who had been through so much in her life. I hope to see more of her in the next book as well.

CLOCKWORK ANGEL constantly threw me for a loop with its many plot twists and turns. I did not see any of them coming. This is an action-packed book, with a solid dose of urban fantasy and a hint of a love triangle. I haven't yet read the Mortal Instruments books, but after reading this one, I'm definitely going to check them out. Can't wait for CLOCKWORK PRINCE, releasing September 2011.

Side Note: After reading the book, I feel as if I must acquire my own clockwork angel necklace like the one Tessa owned. Anyone else fall in love with that necklace?

Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Teheran, Iran and spent much of her childhood travelling the world with her family, including one trek through the Himalayas as a toddler where she spent a month living in her father’s backpack. She lived in France, England and Switzerland before she was ten years old. Since her family moved around so much she found familiarity in books and went everywhere with a book under her arm. She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she used to write stories to amuse her classmates, including an epic novel called “The Beautiful Cassandra” based on a Jane Austen short story of the same name (and  which later inspired her current pen name).

After college, Cassie lived in Los Angeles and New York where she worked at various entertainment magazines and even some rather suspect tabloids where she reported on Brad and Angelina’s world travels and Britney Spears’ wardrobe malfunctions. She started working on her YA novel, City of Bones, in 2004, inspired by the urban landscape of Manhattan, her favourite city. She turned to writing fantasy fiction full time in 2006 and hopes never to have to write about Paris Hilton again.
Official Website & Blog 


I have TWO finished copies of Clockwork Angel up for grabs.
One grand prize winner will receive a signed Clockwork Angel poster and journal. 

Official Rules:
1.You must be 13 year or older to enter.
2. Open to entrants with a valid U.S. mailing address only. 
3. Entries must be received by Midnight EST on October 8th 2010. 
4. Once contacted, winners have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.
5. To enter to win, simply fill out the form below. Good luck! 


Melissa said...

I'm not entering because I have a copy, but great giveaway! I wished I'd loved this book, but I ended up just liking it. I was sad how similar the characters were to TMI...but that's just me haha great review! :)

Meredith said...

Thanks! I still don't have a copy of this book!

brandileigh2003 said...

I like the scene you mentioned! And Will and Jem are perfect balances.

That attic scene sure was hott too especially for time period.

Thanks for review and giveaway.

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

latishajean said...

Great giveaway thank you so much!

Mary (BookHounds) said...

This is such a wonderful read!
I just posted this at win a book!

Books Dudes Will Read said...

I really love how thoroughly you review! And your contest is Excellent. The Mortal Instruments was one of my favorite recent reads. I can hardly wait for the next installment.

vvb32 reads said...

i reeeeeeeeeeeeeally would like to read this one ;-D

Amanda said...

Great review! I am new to your blog so thanks!


libraryofmyown at gmail dot com

Maidenveil said...

I would love to get a necklace too like Tessa's! The book was awesome. Can't wait for the next books. Fantastic review :D

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

thank you!

katsrus said...

Thank you for the giveaway.

linaramz said...

Been wanting to read this! Thanks for the giveaway!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Awesome review as usual :)
I love when you talked about your connection to Sophie. I adore characters who struggle to be good.

(This is not an entry) :)

Reena Jacobs said...

Thank you much for the giveaway!