When Tessa Gray arrives in London on a ship from New York, she's eager to see her brother, Nate. But before she can find him, she's intercepted by two women, known as the Dark Sisters, who kidnap her and force her to learn how to use the strange magical powers she never knew she had, all the while promising her that she is lucky, and she will soon meet the sinister Magister. Terrified and confused, Tessa is rescued by two young Shadowhunters , Will and Jem, and is taken to The London Institute, where she learns that her powers are just the beginning of a strange, magical world she never knew existed, full of wonder, but also full of hate, prejudice, and danger...and Tessa is in the center of it.
Clockwork Angel, the first in Cassandra Clare's new Infernal Devices trilogy, is a descriptive and elaborate book and a strong start to what is sure to be another knock-out trilogy. It takes about thirty pages or so before the book, which is set in the Victorian era, to reach familiar ground readers might be looking for, but once it does, the book unfolds quickly and smoothly. The times dictate that the mannerisms are a bit more refined in the characters, but Clare manages to sneak in plenty of humor and fun alongside the darker and riskier action scenes. There are a plethora of excellent new characters readers are introduced to, and each one is very realistic, and many have their secrets and mysteries--for Tessa, it is her heritage, and Will and Jem both have hazy backgrounds that are bound to become bigger issues later on.
One conflict that Clare portrays quite well was the struggle for the women Shadowhunters to be proper young ladies and women that society demands while balancing the Shadowhunters' need for strong fighters. Two characters, Jessamine and Charlotte, while on opposite ends of the controversy, both have to deal with it in their own way, and it's an issue that sets Clockwork Angel apart from Clare's previous work while at the same time making the setting more believable.
The idea of a clockwork army is brilliant, and the forethought and plotting that went into the book is impressive. There are plenty of intriguing mysteries and labyrinthine twists toward the end that will leave the reader far from where they were at the beginning of the book. Clare's talent for writing well-developed and entertaining characters and her fearlessness when it comes to creating dramatic, complicated conclusions to her books will garner Clockwork Angel plenty of attention and will leave readers impatient for the sequel.
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