Thursday, October 7, 2010

clockwork angel


Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Hear that? That is the sound of time you could be spending reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. I will admit, I had low expectations for Clockwork Angel. I had previously read City of Bones, which I enjoyed but was not blown away or anything. I haven't yet continued on with The Mortal Instruments books. After reading Clockwork Angel, I really feel that Clare has come into her own as a writer. I felt this book, on the whole, was much more tighter than City of Bones. It held my attention hostage.

We open with our intrepid heroine, Tessa Gray making the journey from New York to dreary London. Upon arrival in London, Tessa steps into the Victorian equivalent of a sketchy van with Free Candy spray painted across the side. The Dark Sisters basically hand Tessa a letter written by her ne'r do well brother, Nate. Tessa is all, NATE we shall be reunited and one happy family again, and climbs into the carriage of the Dark Sisters. Clearly, we cannot trust ugly elderly women. Only trust the kind which looks as though they would knit you a sweater while you suck some Werthers butterscotch candy.(An aside: when I am an old woman do not trust me, as I will scream at you to get off my lawn in all my crotchety glory). Right-o. Tessa, at the hands of these women learns she can magically transform into another person. She, of course, does not take her capture/hostage situation lying down. Instead, she fights it tooth and nail. If you read the back cover, obvs, you know Tessa escapes. Of course this is when the story gets good.

I mean, omfg, there is magic galore, and mystical creatures and SHADOWHUNTERS. Of course, the more I learn about the Clave, the more I want to do a little jig in happiness. It's because I love the lore. It's so interesting. I actually quite like this rag-tag group of Shadow Hunters more than I do the ones in the Mortal Instruments. There is Jessamine, who is full of spunk. She's badass, but doesn't really want to be badass. Her character is a reflection of gender attitudes of the Victorian Era, where of course women have to be ladies, and they can't exactly do cool things like go out and fight demons if they want to land a rich hubby. Of course, this is upper class womens as all the poor ladies are just chillin out in a bobbin factory somewhere. However, in contrast to Jessamine is Charlotee Branwell who is in charge of the institute. Charlotte is made of win. She's a warrior. She is intelligent. She is a leader. She's basically the type of woman I want to be when I grow up. Aside from wearing a dress and being married, she sort of subverts the gender roles of the era. Mmmhmm. Oh, oh, oh. I should mention the boys.

There are boys. They of course form the two sides, whereas Tessa is the hypotenuse of the love triangle. While I am a bit bored with love triangles in general, this one is sort of fun. There is Jem who is from Shanghai which is full of corruption and danger and such. Also, JEM is PoC. So cool right? And he is all gentle and such. He's patient with WISDOM. Then, as you may gather from Twitter, is Will. Will is like pretty much every bad boy ever. He's kind of a jerk with a sad past. I do sort of feel bad for him, but not really. My pity jar is nearly empty. I won't elaborate on the boys, but I bet you can guess my 'team'. Yep, it's Jessamine, I think they should totes make out while Katy Perry soulfully sings I Kissed A Girl in the background.

Finally, there are flesh en-capsuled robots. I am not sure if this convinces you of the ultimate win residing inside Clockwork Angel, but it should. Also, do robots in Victorian Ages equal steampunk element? I am not exactly sure what Steampunk is, besides punks evaporating in steam, but from what I gather, it has to do with machinery in the Victorian era.

Here are some quotes I felt resonated with me:
"Whether you are physically," he said, "male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy-all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside." - pg. 283 (ARC copy).

This! What is on the inside does matter, kids!

"If there was one thing Tessa hated, it was being told that there were things she couldn't understand. Because she was young, because she was a girl--for any of a thousand reasons that never seemed to make any real sense." pg. 96 (ARC copy)

Sing it, sister.

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