Friday, October 15, 2010

Book review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

When I reviewed the first three books of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, I said that I had very high hopes for Clockwork Angel, the first in The Infernal Devices series, "prequels," if you will, to the first set of books.  I think I should have let a little more time pass before picking up Clockwork Angel.  It's not that I didn't like it - I did - but it's pretty much more of the same, only set in 1878 London instead of 2008 New York City.

Pretty, orphaned, teenaged Tessa moves to London from the United States, having been sent for by her older brother Nate who went overseas for work some time prior.  But Nate is missing and Tessa is captured by evil warlocks who force her to realize her full potential: she is a shapeshifter, not exactly human.  Luckily, Tessa is rescued by the local Shadowhunters, angry young Will Herondale (a carbon copy of Jace from the first series, except that Will has black hair) and sensitive young James Carstairs.  Blah blah blah falling in love (but Victorian love, so quite repressed), blah blah blah vampires, blah blah blah everyone's got a secret, blah blah blah big evil poised to harness demon energies and take over the world, blah blah blah Tessa is very powerful and has to learn to use her abilities as well as figure out how she fits into the world.  Oh, and Magnus Bane - the out and proud, glitterglam warlock from the first series is here too, not quite so flamboyant and apparently bisexual - one hopes he'll get to spread his wings a little in the next volumes.

So, Clockwork Angel is fine.  The characters are, once again, complicated and compelling; the story is sound, setting up successive volumes - I liked it just fine.  But the themes are far too familiar, coming so close on the heels of City of Bones, City of Ashes and City of Glass.  I'm going to have to read a few other authors before picking up another one of these.

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