Monday, 13 September 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare


Clockwork Angel
by Cassandra Clare

Summary: 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.


I'm not really sure how to review this one - I loved it... but not quite in the same way or as much as I loved The Mortal Instruments series.

There were a lot of similarities between the two series (or at least it felt that way), some of which were the things that made me love City of Bones so much (like the whole Jace being the good-but-bad boy with the sarcastic humour and confidense - Will was just like that too), but in Clockwork Angel for some reason it just wasn't executed as well.

With the Mortal Instruments series, I was hooked from the first page and couldn't put it down - but with Clockwork Angel, while I did adore the story, I would find myself just reading a chapter or two at a time and sometimes going a few days without reading it... which isn't a good sign, because it means I wasn't desperate to find out what happens, it was only the last five or so chapters that had me hooked.

I found myself skimming over some of the descriptions nearer the end too, because it was like - okay, this is an action/tense scene, I don't really care much about what the room looks like. It was just distracting and annoying getting through that stuff to get to the good bits a lot of the time. Don't get me wrong, Cassandra is a great writer and her descriptions are good - but the book is really big, and a large part of that is because it's bursting with description of London or the interior of houses or the Institute... and a lot of it felt unneccessary (but that's just a personal preferrence, I like description, but not too much).

Will... perhaps he is the reason I wasn't as fond of this book - he just irritated me. While the attitude worked on Jace in TMI, on Will it was just plain annoying and if he were real, I would have kicked him in the crotch for being an asshat. He did have his redeeming moments, but they just weren't enough to make him a likeable character, his bad qualities outweigh the good.

But, there is a lot of mystery surrounding him and his past so maybe once that's unravelled in the next books he won't be so bad, I'm willing to keep an open mind about him. It's just awful that I'll need to wait like a year to find out if he really is the awful excuse for a character as he seems to be.

I didn't have much of an opinion on the other characters, not even Tessa - I didn't love her, I didn't hate her... she was just the eyes for most of the story and that's it. Now Jem on the other hand, he was my favourite character, he was lovely and I felt so bad for him and if there are "teams" for this book then I'm most definitely Team Jem (kind of funny, because I usually root for the bad boy).

The ending - I didn't like it. Now, I'm okay with cliff hangers if they're done well but this was just annoying because there were so many loose ends left untied and then BAM! We're left with a huge cliff hanger too? Lanna's head, meet Desk. Lanna's face, meet Palm. (This may seem like a negative point, but I guess it's a good sign that I actually care enough, if the book wasn't awesome then the cliff hanger wouldn't bother me because I wouldn't care what happened next - but the wait is going to be so frustrating.)

This review is seeming kind of bipolar - I said I loved it but I've mostly talked about the negative things. I honestly did love it, it had all the charm of The Mortal Instruments series... it's just not as easy to pin point or explain what I loved about it and I didn't like it as much as with TMI and I didn't connect to the characters or their relationships as well and some aspects of the book were just like "well, this isn't new, we've seen it all before in TMI so the novelty has worn off."

...And apparently I'm back to the bipolar reviewing again. Summing up positively, take two: I love the book, I really do recommend it (especially if you liked TMI) and if I had to rate it, it'd probably get 4 stars out of 5.

After some reflection, I've realised that a lot of the thing's lowering my opinion of the book weren't so much about Clockwork Angel itself... but because I loved TMI series so much, so it set expectations and I couldn't help but compare the two (it'd be like if J K Rowling wrote another book series, it'd be difficult to live up to the standard of Harry Potter). Just thought I'd mention that because it explains why my review seemed negative when my opinion overall was that I loved the book.

Later.

So, here's our first ever DOUBLE review.  I finished the book a few days before Lanna, but I fail at doing my reviews in a timely matter.

I'm kind of a mixed opinion on Clockwork Angel. I didn't have many problems with the book, but I didn't love it. I was wow-ed by all of the twists I didn't see and the action that was in the book, but there was just something missing from it.

Personally, I loved Will. Call me crazy, but he didn't seem truly bad to me. I'm all of the into psychology and such, so when I see someone like Will, I instinctively want to know why. There was a definite reason for the way he was and I just want to know why.

I loved a lot of the smaller characters, honestly. They added so much life to the book. I liked Jem and Will and Tessa as characters, but the side characters were the ones that were unique and different. I wanted to know more about the other Shadowhunters and their "helpers". Tess and Jem and Will were just like the typical characters in any love triangle to me.

I DID like Tessa a lot though. She was strong and independent. A better sister than I could ever be. Sometimes it did seem like she was just the eyes for the story, like Lanna mentioned, but a lot of the time she did seem to be a good character.


I was pretty drawn into the story, but it got really bad for me during the second half of the book. I sat in my bathroom (which IS my main reading place, actually) for three and a half hours to finish the book. It was 2 am and quite thankfully, I had no school the next day or I would've died! And then the ending was killer. I wanted to slam something into the wall. Possibly one of the character's faces...


I either adored this book or felt pretty meh about it. I think I'm somewhere in between...if I decide I absolutely hate it and none of you should touch it, I'll let you know. ;)


--Julie

2 comments:

  1. Brilliant review :) I liked Clockwork Angel, but I thought the characters paralleled The Mortal Instruments' characters too much haha

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cassandra Clare has written such amazing books with these Shadowhunters series, i have read them all, and i cant wait to read the next one when it comes out!!

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