Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Just Can't Get Enough ... of Cassandra Clare

(Image from Barnes & Noble)
All 16-year-old Tessa Gray knows of Victorian England comes from the novels she inhales with unladylike regularity. Expecting the rolling hills and genteel society spoken of in her books, Tessa's shocked when she lands in dreary Southampton. Between the dismal weather, the filthy docks, and the rudeness of the crowds, she's surprised to find herself in a scene more Dickens than Austen. No matter. As soon as Nathaniel whisks her away to London, all will be well. There's only one problem: her brother is nowhere to be found. When a strange man bids Tessa follow him, she has little choice in the matter. If he says he's been sent by Nate, surely he has. It's only when Tessa steps out of the Dickensian bleakness into a waiting carriage that she begins to realize England might hold worse terrors than endless rain and lewd dockworkers. Mary Shelley, after all, had some strange tales to tell ...

Soon, Tessa's embroiled in a waking nightmare. Held captive by two strange sisters, she's being forced to Change into different women, all of whom are dead. The weird magic allows her to assume their bodies, voices and memories. How she's doing this, Tessa has no idea - all she knows is it's a valuable trick, one that is highly desired by the creatures of London's underworld. When an angel-faced rescuer frees Tessa from her awful prison, she's grateful, but wary. Could Nate have sent this unlikely hero? Can she trust a cad like Will Herondale? He says he's a demon slayer, a Shadowhunter with angel blood. After what she's seen, she doesn't doubt him. But that doesn't mean she's willing to put her life into his rune-covered hands.

Will takes Tessa to the London Institute, where he lives with a handful of other Shadowhunters. There's motherly Charlotte; her absent-minded inventor husband, Henry; snooty Jessamine; and Jem, who's open and friendly despite the secret he carefully guards. Her presence in their home causes some obvious tension, especially when Tessa discovers the shocking truth about who she really is. Still, the group seems willing to help Tessa find her brother, who's apparently gotten himself in deep with the wrongest sort of crowd. In turn, she pledges to use her "gift" to help the Shadowhunters fight their enemies.

As Tessa immerses herself in London's strange underworld, she faces enemies she's only ever encountered in storybooks - vampires, warlocks, fairies, goblins, even frightening automatons roam the streets. The most powerful creatures in that dark world are pulling out all the stops to steal her "gift" for their own nefarious purposes. Tessa would gladly give up her awful ability, but not if it means leaving her brother to the mercy of these monsters. Finding Nate, rescuing him, and returning them both to a normal life will be as intense and dangerous as the most rollicking adventure novel. And its ending may not be a happy one.

If you, like me, mourned the conclusion of The Mortal Instruments series, don't despair. Not only is Cassandra Clare expanding the trilogy, but she's also began a series of prequels, the first of which is the newly-released Clockwork Angel. With all the elements that drew you to the first books, plus a little steampunk thrown in, it's hard not to fall for this one as well. With engaging characters, a whole lot of action, and a love triangle almost as hot as the one binding Clary, Jace and Simon, it's sure to please Clare fans. While it didn't mesmerize me quite as much as the MI books, it still kept me royally entertained and left me wanting more, more, more. Keep 'em coming, Cassie Clare, because I, for one, just can't get enough.

(Readalikes: The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare)

Grade: B+

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for mild language, sexual innuendo, and multiple references to brothels/prostitution and opium addiction

To the FTC, with love: I bought Clockwork Angel from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.

7 comments:

  1. I keep hearing mixed reviews about this one. Lovely review

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  2. Your review is awesome! I loved it too..... I am going to now start on her other series.

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  3. Just finished this book, too! Loved it, but not as much as TMI, though. Course, will still have to see how the story develops with the 2nd and 3rd installments. Can't wait.:)

    Btw, laughed out loud at your note for the FTC.:)

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  4. C.I. - I have, too, but I liked it. Not as much as Clare's other books, though.

    Lisa - I'm glad I'm not alone! You'll love The Mortal Instruments series - it's awesome.

    Fanta - Glad you liked it, too. I agree - it's not as good as TMI, but still good. It will be interesting to see how it develops. Glad I made you LOL - I think I'm pretty funny :)

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  5. I can't wait to read this book. Actually I still need to read the rest of the Mortal Instruments series.
    Alison Can Read

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  6. Isn't she ridiculously talented?!?!? Her books are so great! I really don't care for anamatons- but still loved the book:)

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  7. This was the first Cassandra Clare novel that I read and really enjoyed it. I actually prefer this series to The Mortal Instruments but that may be because I love the era it is set in. Can't wait for Clockwork Princess to come out!

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