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The Infernal Devices Book 1: The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

on May 15, 2014

The Clockwork Angel   The Infernal Devices Book 1: The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

 

The Clockwork Angel is the first book in The Infernal Devices trilogy, followed by The Clockwork Prince and The Clockwork Princess, which came out last year. It is the second trilogy set in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter universe, the first being The Mortal Instruments series.

The Mortal Instruments was originally a trilogy consisting of City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass. However, it was later expanded into a sextet, with City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire, which comes out later this month.

There are also two more upcoming spin off trilogies: The Dark Artifices, consisting of Lady Midnight (which comes out in 2015), The Prince of Shadows, and The Queen of Air and Darkness, and, finally, The Last Hours series, which will come out sometime in the next few years.

There are also three companion books: one of which is a companion guide to the Shadowhunter world: The Shadowhunter Codex, which came out in 2013. There is also Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Guide, which contains essays written by several other prominent YA authors, including Holly Black (one of the writers of the The Spiderwick Chronicles and the author the Modern Tales of Faerie series, which has been featured on this blog), Rachel Caine (author of The Morgansville Vampires series), and Kami Garcia (author of the Beautiful Creatures series).

Finally, there is a series of short stories available on ebook called The Bane Chronicles. This series stars one of the most popular character in the series, Magnus Bane. A printed collection of the stories will hit be available this November.

 

The Clockwork Angel takes place in19th century London, and the main protagonist, the orphaned Tessa Gray, just came off the boat from New York to meet her brother Nathan. However, it appears that Nathan has sent two friends to pick her up, the mysterious Dark Sisters.

Though at first the Dark Sisters seem nice, Tessa quickly finds out that they are less interested in her well being, and more interested in forcing Tessa to her formerly dormant power to shapeshift for their own gains. After weeks in the care of the Dark Sisters, Tessa is rescued by a group of Shadowhunters.

She is brought to the London Institute, which is run by Charlotte Branwell, and her inventor husband, Henry Branwell. Tessa also meets Will Herondale, young man who seems to strive to alienate all those around him, Will’s best friend Jem Carstairs, a very calm and quiet young man, and Jessamine Lovelace, a girl of Shadowhunter blood who really doesn’t want to be a Shadowhunter.

With the help of her new friends, Tessa solves the mystery of her brother’s dissaperence and its relevance to the mysterious Pandemonium Club. The story is filled with twists and turns, and Tessa finds out more about herself and the Shadow World around her.

 

The Clockwork Angel is the first book Clare wrote after the end of the first half of The Mortal Instruments sextet, and Clare’s writing growth is evident. The characters have more depth, the backgrounds and visuals are… simple, and the main mystery is much more interesting.

This series takes place right after the Accords, a series of treaties between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders (vampires, werewolves, warlocks, and faeries) that keeps the two sides from going after each other. The deal is if the Downworlders don’t go around killing regular humans, then the Shadowhunters can’t kill Downworlders for no reason. A big part of the book is seeing how both sides react to the Accords, as there are Downworlders who find living under the close watch of the Shadowhunters distasteful at best, and the Shadowhunters who just can’t seem to consider the other side actual people.

There are also mentions of the place of women in Shadowhunter society, particularly when the story focuses on Charlotte, who’s status as the caretaker of the London Institute is constantly under question as the older and often male Shadowhunters would rather listen to her husband. It’s also addressed with Jessamine, who was brought up to think a lady behaves in a certain way and would do anything to get away from the dangerous and often bloody life of the Shadowhunters.

I thought this book was fantastic, and for those that might be uncomfortable with some of the plotlines in The Mortal Instruments might have a better time with The Infernal Devices. Also: Steampunk. There’s a whole lot of steampunk, and it’s pretty fantastic.

 

Rating: 8 of 10.

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