Review – Clockwork Angel
  • Posted:
  • June 25, 2010

I was lucky enough to have won a signed Advanced Reader’s Copy from an online contest of Cassandra Clare’s upcoming Clockwork Angel, the first book in a prequel series to The Mortal Instruments trilogy. I had been looking forward to this for sometime, so naturally I jumped into it as soon as I could. My thoughts – I did not love the book. I liked it, and here is why.

The first thing that immediately struck me about Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy is that it is the same formula as the previous three. There’s an institute training Shadowhunters, there’s almost exactly the same amount of people, there’s a young ingenue who has no idea what she is doing.. even many of the characters ring of the original cast; Tessa is Clary, Will is Jace, Jem is Alec. With this thought in the back of my head I slogged through the first half of the book sad and annoyed. Cassandra Clare is such a formula breaking writer. She has amazing narrative skills, her plot twists are insane and unpredictable, and her characters are mesmerizing, people you want to know in real life. My problem, I wasn’t mesmerized, captivated, or otherwise. I wasn’t overwhelmed or underwhelmed. I was just reading it waiting for the big payoff.

I also noticed how stereotypically Victorian it was. For example there was a moment where a character started coughing up his own blood. My reaction? Of course, he’s got Tuberculosis because that’s very Victorian. Let’s just say that this was a running thing throughout the course of the read.

So what was the problem? Was it that my expectations were sky-high for this series? The Mortal Instruments books are among my favourite books I have ever read and when this started getting press I was excited. Cassandra Clare writing Victorian Steampunk monster slaying YA? Yes… YES!!! Sign me up. I wanted her to wow me, I wanted to be stunned. I wasn’t. I just was. Perhaps in the case of formula breaking writers I get annoyed when they do not break their own formula. This happened when I read Rick Riordan’s Red Pyramid. I was not stunned, or overwhelmed. I simply was after reading it.

I’m sure much of the blank feeling can be attributed to disappointment on my part. I wanted to love everyone in here, but I did not. Tessa was no Clary, she was too weak and soft-spoken for my tastes. And Will was not the rough and tumble darling I wanted him to be. He was no Jace, and I kinda wanted him to be. The only one of the initial three I really liked was Jem, and that’s because he’s the underdog in the love triangle. The rest of the characters within don’t really even rank, but Jem… I’m totally team Jem. Hardcore, all the way. I don’t expect him to win Tessa’s affections, but I totally want him to.

Besides grumblings about the characters and formula, the story didn’t do as much for me. Ultimately, when it came down to it this book was a mystery novel, and I am lukewarm on mysteries at best. That right there might have been the biggest part of my checking out. There was something a little too Scooby Doo-ish about this mystery and I predicted who the culprit was in the first third of the book. This is my problem with mysteries. Too predictable. I want to like them, but I can’t. This automatically takes a lot of the joy of this book away for me. I wanted Steampunk. I got Mystery. Boo.

The book isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong. It’s just not what I wanted. Or I’m not ready for it right now, or the ARC doesn’t flow like the final book will. I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just too picky for Cassandra Clare at this point. A lesser Clare book is still a pretty damn good read, but this just didn’t hit the high notes for me, and I wanted to be overwhelmed. I’m not ready to give up on Clare yet, nor am I prepared to give this a completely bad rating because I can’t not love Clare on some level. I am hoping that this doesn’t make me turn away from her like Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn did in her case. I am still an ardent fan of Clare’s, despite this book. My plan is to wait for the next two to come out and reread both The Mortal Instruments and then The Infernal Devices trilogies in succession. Maybe then I might appreciate this book more.

After all that, 4 out of 5 stars. Maybe the next read of it will garner it that last star. I hope it’s just me this week.

I feel blasphemous.

– BP

– Follow the Reader –






Library Thing





Related posts:

No comments so far!