Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Review: There’s something in this book for everyone. Vampires, Demons, Clockwork Men (made of cogs and springs, a primitive robot), Shape Shifters, Faeries, Evil Humans, and even Werewolves make a brief appearance. Not to mention a good story. These creatures make up the Downworlders, beings or persons who are in part supernatural in origin. On the other hand, we have the Nephilim who swear their lives to fighting the Downworlders. These are humans who use magic in many forms to fight their battles against evil. They call themselves Shadowhunters. And we, mere humans, make up the Mundanes. Mostly the Downworlders want to kill or enslave the Mundanes and the Shadowhunters want to save them. This particular book, however, is about a battle between the Downworlders and Shadowhunters over a Mundane with Downworlder powers she should not have.
Tessa is a contradiction in terms. She is a Shapeshifter but there is no Demon mark on her nor is she part demon. So, technically, she is not a Downworlder, a Shadowhunter or a Mundane. She is totally unique. Her training in shapeshifting was the cruelest at hand but she has the ability to be anyone she wants to be simply by holding one of their possessions. Everybody seems to want a piece of Tessa. Yet in spite of her cruel training, she has maintained the sweetest of personalities and the kindest of dispositions. The Downworlders want her for their own evil purposes, the Shadowhunters want her to impersonate someone so they may bring down a warren of Vampires. They also want to save her from the Downworlders. And a fellow named Will? He seems to want her because she is sweet and beautiful. He kissed her in the attic and she has been aflutter ever since. And, this brings us to, perhaps, the most enigmatic character in the book.
Will is a contradiction in terms. He seems to never say what he means or mean what he says. He shrouds his true feelings behind a facade of bravado. Only Jem, another young seventeen-year-old Nephilim and Will’s only true friend, ever really seems to know what Will is thinking or feeling and he keeps it as well guarded as Will does. All anyone knows of Will’s history is that he turned up at the institute doors one day when he was about twelve announcing himself to be a Shadowhunter and saying his parents had sent him there. Everyone knew Will’s parents but no one knew of their demise and Will said not a word. When it was discovered that Will’s parents were indeed dead, he was accepted and began his training to be a Nephilim or Shadowhunter and has turned out to be perhaps the best they have. We know less about his romantic feelings towards Tessa than she does. He has kissed her once and almost kissed her another time but he has not even shared his feelings about her to Jem. I’m of the opinion that Ms. Clare is planning to develop this romantic interest more in the next two books because the question is raised multiple times here. And authors love to string us readers along with some sliver of a love story that may or may not ever come to fruition.
I love Cassandra Clare’s command of the English language. She literally paints with words but doesn’t send you to the dictionary every other page.Clockwork Angel has two of the qualities Marilyn Green Faulkner considers as qualifications of a good book. Clockwork Angel has a higher level of insight than average books as well as a timelessness that will make it relevant to readers in any age. Clare’s book offers much insight into human behavior and will be just as readable in fifty years as it is now. In fact, I can’t wait for some of my grandchildren to become old enough to really enjoy this book. Although this is not a Dickens novel but it seems to me far more relevant that The Catcher in the Rye, which I have read at least five times and continue to find pointless. If it’s teenage angst you’re after, then Clockwork Angel is for you.
Stephen King does something that bothers me. He marks the time of his novels by referring to the common, everyday things of our world that might not be recognized in fifty years. Brand names are referred to the most but so is McDonald’s. I love Stephen King, he’s also in my top five, but I fear his books will not be as timeless as Dickens or even Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel.
One last item: there are amazing things that happen in this book. Perhaps it helps that the characters find them amazing as well. The Shadowhunters may be hardened warriors but they don’t kill Vampires with a shrug such as one might expect from Abraham Van Helsing. And although they are as inventive as Captain Nemo, they do not seek riches or fame. The Shadowhunters are probably the last of the truly chivalrous combatants left in the world. They do not wear armor or ride fancy horses as in the days of Knights but they never stop and they never give up. Their level of dedication to fighting evil is truly inspirational. I hope you will read Clockwork Angel. I promise it’s a good ride.
Buy it here:
Kindle Edition: www.amazon.com