Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Published: 31 August 2010
Length: 478 pages
Warnings: kissing, vampires, demons violence
Other info: Sequel to The Mortal Instruments and a series in its own right. Cassandra Clare’s website is here, and you can find her on twitter.
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.
Review: first, I am going to try not to relate TOO much to The Mortal Instruments (hereafter known as TMI). Mainly because I can't particularly remember details of TMI, and I didn't particularly enjoy them. (Note to self, re-read and review one day) But this is more memorable than TMI, so is automatically better. Will shut up about TMI now.
Tessa's brother Nate has asked her to move from New York to England, which she does. She is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters, a couple of demonic necromancers (as far as I can tell) and spends six weeks being tortured/trained to shape shift into the form of whoever’s random belonging she is holding at a time. This talent includes shape shifting into forms of dead girls, which is a little disturbing when you think about it.
She is freed by the totally unlikeable Shadowhunter William Herondale, but of course Tessa finds him handsome creating two points of the compulsory love triangle. Tessa goes to the Shadowhunter institute, and at some point meets Jem, sickly pale boy who she, of course, falls sort of in love with. The rest of the book is infiltrating the vampire meetings, rescuing Nate, saving the Institute from being invaded by clockwork automatony things, learning about the Shadowhunters, and of course obligatory romance.
I liked the Victorian setting, because that's what I'm in to. There was a lot of description, which I really liked, as it brings the setting alive, but at some points, there was a bit too much, if you get what I mean. It slows the story down a little too much sometimes.
I actually properly understand the Shadowhunters now! When I read TMI, I didn't really get what the Shadowhunters were about, and how their society worked. Not sure what happened in Clockwork Angel, but now I do. Yay.
The story was good, a good amount of twists and turns when you least expect them. However it was slightly typecast, slightly samey to TMI (sorry, I said I'd try not to talk about it. Try.)
I liked Tessa a lot, probably because her ability to shape shift at will is awesome. Jem is interesting, and I really want to find out what exactly is wrong with him (if it was mentioned in Clockwork Angel, I didn’t notice it. Please tell me if it’s known. If not I'll wait.). William as I said before, unlikeable and annoying. The rest of the characters are good stock characters, all of them with full backgrounds which I really like in books. It makes you get closer to the characters, which I think is important in books to actually like them.
The clockwork automatons were sort of boring. They’re slightly interesting, but I just felt as though I couldn’t care less about them. They're just there in the book.
I like how it isn't centred JUST on the romance. There's a full sense of the Shadowhunter and Downworlder worlds added into the story and while the romance isn't something added in as an afterthought, it doesn’t totally drive the book.
Overall: Strength 4 tea because it was very good, but some things like William and the sameyness and long-windedness ruin it.