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.
It took me a long time to read this book and I'm not even sure why! It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2010 (along with Mockingjay) and I just couldn't find a big enough block of time to sit down and read it properly. Curlypow has already done a review of Clockwork Angel. You can read it here.
So let me tell you, Cassie Clare certainly didn't let The Mortal Instruments fans down with this one. It jumps right in with an action packed sequence as you try to figure out what the heck is going on with Tessa and her kidnappers. One of the things that I did enjoy was how they talked a bit more about the Institute and you learned about the people running it. To be honest, I did not find the story to be as exciting as The Mortal Instruments but I am certainly interested in seeing what Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess have in store and I did still enjoy the read. It was highly entertaining and well worth reading.
Because it is such a complicated novel, I'd like to share a few of my favourite quotes instead of commenting on more of the storyline -
Tessa remembering a comment by Aunt Harriet
"...you could know a man not by what his friends said about him, but how he treated his servants."
Will commenting on Agatha's cooking
"I intend to marry Agatha myself. She may be a thousand years old, but she makes an incomparable jam tart. Beauty fades, but cooking is eternal."
"One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us."
Like The Mortal Instruments, we have our heroine (Tessa), the troubled bad boy (Will) and the friend (Jem). The similarities end there though as these are completely different characters and their relationships are also very intricate and different from Clary, Jace and Simon. For instance, Will and Jem like the same girl but they are also involved in a close friendship whereas Jace and Simon were rivals but did not know each other well. Tessa seems to be more academically intelligent than Clary whereas I felt that Clary was more street-smart. It would be interesting to see what would happen if all 6 of them met up for coffee. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for THAT conversation!
When you do finally get a chance to read this one, make sure you have a nice comfy chair, a good block of time and a large cup of your favorite hot beverage 'cause it's worth reading from cover to cover. In fact, I think I may just do that before the year is up...read it one more time (with feeling)!
On a final note, if you have read the story and are up to date on all of Cassie Clare's books, just out of curiosity, are you fan of Will, Jace, Simon or Jem. Personally I'm a fan of Jace...but to be honest, I think I might be slightly influenced by the Mortal Instruments book covers....