I recently finished reading the Steampunk Fantasy novel, Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare. I had stumbled across the Steampunk genre durning my wanderings through the publishing world and, I won’t lie, it intrigued me. The pictures I saw -the way people dressed, the imagery of cogs, wheels, and all things steam-powered, was enough to catch my fancy and entice me to look further into the unknown realm that was generically called, Steampunk.
I looked up some general information about the genre and read a few reviews and articles, but ultimately I ended up on a booklist (a top ten or maybe it was twenty, I can’t recall now) of must read Steampunk novels. I browsed the list, but it was Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel that caught my eye. A Steampunk novel that also included vampires? It seemed like a good choice for me. I figured, even if the Steampunk part proved to be less than interesting, at least I’d have vampires left over to save it. Little did I know that I was about to step into a world that not only had vampires, but a slew of other mouthwatering characters that I would quickly become attached to.
Clockwork Angel tells the story of Tessa Gray, a young, book-loving teenage girl who is looking for her brother, Nathaniel, who has been -more or less- kidnapped. Unwittingly, she finds herself being at the center of a much larger issue than simply finding and rescuing her brother. Deception quickly leads her into a world she never knew existed. Vampires, Shadowhunters, Warlocks, mechanical creatures -all of these make up a hidden world that runs on its own systems, laws, leaders, citizens, and armies.
Thankfully, Tessa is befriended by the good guys, and as she continues to search for her long lost brother, her new companions agree to help. Among this group comes a colorful cast of characters.
Jessamine -the pretty and prissy wannabe princess, whose high opinion of herself only matches her low opinion of everyone else -but buried underneath, her loyalty and fighting ability exists with a vengeance when it’s called upon.
Charlotte and Henry -the more parental Shadowhunters of the lot who run the Institute. Their kind natures and authority bring both a calming and home-like feel to the Institute where the Shadowhunters live and where Tessa is staying. They are both seasoned warriors, and Henry’s inventions, though not always reliable, add something magnificent to the situation.
Will and Jem -two teenage Shadowhunters who, for me, become the spotlight of the story. Will, with his dark hair and blue eyes and defiant attitude becomes the handsome boy we all love, but we hate his actions. Sometimes I wanted to yell and scream at him and I couldn’t understand why he did or didn’t so certain things, but at the end of the day, just like Tessa herself, I loved him anyway. Reckless and amazing (and oddly fond of poetry) he’s a valiant hero by anyone’s standard. And Jem. Of all the characters in Clockwork Angel, he is my absolute favorite. He is the other half of Will. He’s the calmer, wiser, more soft-spoken piece. He is the balance keeper that holds Will together and keeps him from destroying everything. He is a hero in his own right -and proves to be an incredible friend to not just Will, but to Tessa and everyone else he holds dear.
*raises a rawkfist for Jem*
There are others I could mention, but I don’t want to tell you about everyone. The above are the main list of good guys, and it’s their job to keep everything running smooth and safe. Things are already starting to tremble when Tessa enters their world, and they find her to be a key element in the battle they are already in. As you read, you find yourself tangled into a mystery, a magnificently wound dilemma that puts everyone’s wellbeing in danger and the race comes against the clock to find out what can be done to stop it.
Tessa had never thought of herself as being anything special, but she soon realizes that she’s more than what she appears, and has abilities beyond anything she ever thought was possible. As she sifts through the world of the Shadowhunters, and everything that comes with it, she is drawn to their plight and befriends the odd cast of characters that surround her.
Clockwork Angel is an excellent read, though it’s important to know that it’s book one of three. This first one left me salivating for more -and that’s always a good thing. Clockwork Angel was fun, imaginative, exciting, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Something else that I have to mention, was that throughout the book the author threw in little bits and pieces of Bible references. This, to me, was a definite plus -a surprise that I never expected, but adored immensely. Her use of Latin and poetry throughout it was also something I really appreciated.
For my first journey into the world of Steampunk, I am very glad that I picked this book. It had everything in it that I love -even a dash of romance and a Persian cat. I loved the characters and the world that Clare managed to paint so clearly. I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens, and if that’s not the product of stupendous writing, then I don’t know what is.