Title: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication date: August 31, 2010
Source: ARC from a contest
(Thank you, Nicole at WORD for Teens!)
Dark, Victorian, Shadowhunter-y goodness! Cassandra Clare has a knack for writing delicious, character-driven stories that I can't put down, and Clockwork Angel is no exception! Tessa Gray is an intelligent, book-loving heroine with a coveted (and creepy) supernatural ability. Although she is new to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, she has an observant nature and does not shy away from asking questions, so she manages to learn quite a lot about their world very quickly. Aside from her newly-discovered talent, Tessa is a fairly typical 19th century young woman. She is much more comfortable quoting Dickens than she is wielding a weapon, but she doesn't cower helplessly in the face of danger either. Her courage, compassion, and insatiable curiosity make her a girl to be reckoned with, and I am excited to see how her character will continue to develop over the course of the next two Infernal Devices books.
Then there are the boys... one dark, one light. Will Herondale is often hilarious, frequently rude, and consistently determined to keep his image as tarnished as possible. He seems to suffer from troubling Hyde-like mood swings that repeatedly propel him toward darkly-amused cruelty, and a secret from his mysterious past has given him a harsh, fatalistic attitude. Only Jem, who never questions Will about his past and who tolerates his mercurial temperament with a calm patience, sees Will's well-concealed vulnerability and heart. Jem Carstairs is thoughtful, even-tempered, and soothingly philosophical. But he has a tragic secret of his own, and it is one that some Shadowhunters do not view with compassion or understanding. I've always had a major weakness for broken boys. In this case, one is emotionally broken, one is physically broken, and both are deliciously swoon-worthy. Will and Jem share a brotherly devotion to one another and both find themselves becoming increasingly attached to Tessa. Have I mentioned that I truly cannot wait to read the second Infernal Devices book?!
Need more reasons to pick up this book? How about the spooky gothic atmosphere of the foggy, gaslit streets and the shadowy interior of the fortress-like London Institute? How about the full cast of well-developed secondary characters with distinct voices and all sorts of weaknesses and hidden agendas? Not convinced yet? Did I mention the nightmarishly horrifying steampunk elements and the complex villains?
Still not convinced? Scroll over the *SLIGHTLY SPOILERY* text below to read about a few more reasons you may want to pre-order Clockwork Angel as soon as possible. Did I somehow forget to mention that this book features the eternally-fabulous Magnus Bane at a Victorian party (wearing breeches and an elaborate brocade jacket)? Have I mentioned that two of the main characters are avid readers, so there are lots of excellent (and occasionally worrisome) literary references to books like A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice? Perhaps I also failed to mention the sexy Shadowhunter whose wet white shirt clings tantalizingly to the runic tattoos inked across his chest? Or the Shadowhunter whose hair brushes silkily across Tessa's wrist as he leans down to kiss the back of her hand? Surely I mentioned the glove removal that will have your heart racing? ;-)
To read more about this delicious page-turner, which is the first in a trilogy of prequels to the Mortal Instruments series, check out Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices website.
Pre-order the audio book: (read by Jennifer Ehle - who is best known for portraying Elizabeth Bennet opposite Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy): Amazon