Monday, December 13, 2010

High School Pick: Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book One)
by Cassandra Clare
McElderry Books, 2010
496 pages

Cassandra Clare just keeps getting it right! Fresh off great success with her best-selling series The Mortal Instruments (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass), Clare begins the back story with the prequel: Clockwork Angel.

Set in Victorian England and beautifully imagined, Clockwork Angel is a richly constructed fantasy novel which stands among the best fantasy of our time. Clare is on par with writers like J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien.

When sixteen year old Tessa Gray arrives by steamship in London to meet her brother, she is met instead by two creepy women from a dark, gloomy mansion. Only when they show her a letter handwritten by her brother does she agree to accompany them to their lair. Tessa becomes their prisoner. They teach her to use her unknown powers to shape shift. Unbeknowst to Tessa, she was born with powers to become anyone or anything. This quality, or gift, makes her highly valuable to the mysterious and terrible Magister. The Dark Sisters tell Tessa that they are to deliver her to this evil man, but Tessa is grabbed and spirited away by two young men who tell her they are Shadowhunters, trained warriors with special gifts who fight Downworlders like vampires and warlocks to save humans.

Tessa yearns to find her brother and fears for his life. The Shadowhunters agree to help her find him, if she will use her shapeshifting powers to help them infiltrate a vampire clan. Tessa finds herself torn--does she love the dark and brooding Shadowhunter who saved her from the Sisters? Or does she truly hate him?

Readers who like otherworldly novels with paranormal creatures and just the right amount of love interest will LOVE Clockwork Angel. It should appeal broadly to both male and female readers--both the male and female characters are well-developed and have admirable traits. It is hard to say who is more likeable: Will, the Shadowhunter, or Tessa, the shapeshifter.

Highly, highly recommended. Grades 8-up. Some violence (it is vampires, after all).

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the novel from the publisher. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review. I had this novel for about four months before I started reading it. I was somewhat put off by the cover which I found didn't draw me in as a reader. Once I read the first few pages, I was hooked. Don't let ya readers walk past this novel because of the cover. Tell them to give it a chance.

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