by Cassandra Clare
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.
*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
The Infernal Devices trilogy is the prequel series to the popular Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, etc.) in the YA paranormal/fantasy romance genre. Clockwork Angel is set in 1878, in London, and I was actually more interested in reading *this* series than the Mortal Instruments. Setting pretty much any story back in the 1800s or before makes it better, and moving that story to old England or Europe just makes it that much more enticing. Or maybe I'm just a dork that way.
Anyway, this book follows Tessa as she is sort of dumped right into the middle of this secret world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. Just a teenager, Tessa leaves her home of New York after her aunt/guardian dies, and moves across the ocean to join Nate, her brother and only remaining family, in London. A proper young lady, her troubles begin as soon as she steps off the boat that has brought her to England. Nate is not there to greet her and take her 'home' . . . so the story pretty much gets going immediately. There is no long, boring buildup, and I liked that. This was a well paced book, without a lot of filler or fluff.
Taking the story of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders back more than a hundred years, it was fun to see all the familiar family names, and even some of the same characters such as Magnus Bane. The format of the story was basically the same though . . . a series of events lead to a dramatic confrontation, there is a sort of regrouping period after that and then another big happening closes out the book. While I didn't really find Tessa to be a duplicate of Clary, Will and Jace are pretty much carbon copies of each other personality wise. That was a boring disappointment. Does the author know of no other way to write the main male character? Do teenage girls really swoon over such snotty, standoffish guys? I just did not like Will, maybe because we've seen it all before in Jace. I was also really disappointed in the whole 'infiltrate the party' scenes because, again, it had already been done in City of Bones. It would have been nice to see the author be a bit more creative with things.
Still, I did enjoy this book quite a lot. There were some twists that I had not seen coming. Things were left wide open at the end because this is a trilogy. I am curious to see how things play out, and hoping we get to see a softer side of Will. I also like that it is only a trilogy because that hopefully means not a lot of extra side stories will be added to extend the run. I've heard the third/final book is amazing and can't wait to see what all the fuss is about!