Publish date: 2010
"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."
My first reaction after finishing this book was: WOW! I am really impressed and surprised. This was my first venture into Cassandra Clare, who has also written the Mortal Instruments series and now this series, the Infernal Devices. I found the book for crazy cheap at a Border's closing sale, so I picked it up, thinking my students would like it. After a few mentioned how much they LOVED it, and seeing love for Cassandra Clare around the internetz, I decided to give it a shot. Glad I did!
I got about 50 pages in before I put Clockwork Angel down to a read a few other books that I decided were more pressing and finally picked this one back up over the weekend. The plot really picked up and became quite unputdownable. I found the whole premise of the story to be really interesting, plus I love the time period it is set in. It's kind of a mish-mash of historical fiction, paranormal, steampunk, and sci-fi. Sounds weird, but it all worked.
One of my favorite parts of the novel was the characterization. There were definitely a lot of characters, but I feel like I got to know all of them throughout the story. I liked that the narration was third person, but didn't focus entirely on Tessa. Great way to learn more about characters and their motivations.
I loved all the plot twists and am eagerly anticipating reading Clockwork Prince, which coincidentally just came out last week. I'm glad I took the plunge and read something that I normally would not have!