When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by- and torn between- two best friends and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Many of you will have read my very enthusiastic review of the Mortal Instruments series posted over the summer, so you can understand that I was extremely excited for Clockwork Angel. I finally got around to buying it last weekend, and it was one of my non-stop reads. I spent every minute of time I could find (and that’s not much during the application process) reading, and was thoroughly hooked.
I think the blurb for this was slightly misleading; although the romance was something I loved about the book, Clockwork Angel is by no means primarily a romance, and is probably even less romance-focused than the Mortal Instruments series. Clary and Jace’s relationship was a huge plot point and source of drama from City of Bones onwards, whereas the interaction between Tessa and Will is more like a juicy minor side story. I felt like the book was more about Tessa discovering who she was and dealing with imminent dangers than anything else, and that was one of the reasons I really enjoyed it. She’s a believable narrator, and although she sometimes acts in a naïve or defensive manner, she has good reasons for doing so.
Contrary to the blurb again, there really isn’t a love triangle in this. The end hints at the possibility, but I’m surprised it was even mentioned. That said, I did really like both major male characters, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs. MI readers will understand why I loved that Will is very much like Jace—an arrogant bad boy with a great sense of humor. Jem is more subdued and philosophical, and a great contrast to Will, who tends to go rushing off into battle without really thinking things through. Magnus Bane, a flamboyant warlock who has a major role in Clare’s other series, also makes a fabulous few appearances, with at least one hilarious reference that MI lovers will relish.
A huge source of what was so gripping about Clockwork Angel was the huge number of equally intriguing mysteries—Will’s Big Secret, Tessa’s true identity, Jem’s illness. The setting was also a great addition to the story that kept things interesting and added a little steampunk feel to the technology. My only complaint is that the sequel, Clockwork Prince, doesn’t come out until Fall 2011- let’s hope the date’s pushed back a little, because although I’m very excited for the next Mortal Instruments book (City of Fallen Angels), I’m reluctant to wait another year to see more of Tessa and Will!