Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

“When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural fold stalk the gaslit streets. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by – and torn between – two best friends and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.”

This is the first in Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy, which are basically prequels to Mortal Instruments. Tessa arrives in London from New York to stay with her brother, Nate, after her aunt – her only guardian – passes away. When she arrives, however, she meets the sinister Dark Sisters who insist they have been sent by her brother; eventually, it turns out that they have some other ideas. They keep her prisoner and she learns that she has the ability to turn into anyone and access their memories as soon as she touches something that belongs to them – and this ability makes her one of the most hunted people in Downworld London, a place where vampires, warlocks and other creatures roam – as well as Shadowhunters, whom she eventually seeks refuge with.

 I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as I enjoyed City of Bones, sadly, because it was far too similar to Mortal Instruments – and I know people who dislike Mortal Instruments because of the similarity to Infernal Devices, depending on which series they read first. The Shadowhunters, Will and Jem, seemed irritatingly familiar throughout the book – although I adored Will. Essentially, this is because Will is a Jace who looks like Alec and Jem is an Alec who looks like Jace. (Alec and Jace being characters from Mortal Instruments.) There’s also another love triangle, as in Clare’s previous books – so essentially, the book failed to get me hooked. Clare’s writing is pretty good, but the lack of new ideas meant I didn’t really enjoy the book.

That said, though, I probably would’ve enjoyed the books more if I hadn’t read Mortal Instruments first. Overall, though, I recommend reading Mortal Instruments over these – I enjoyed those more.

The book’s aimed at teens – probably twelve-ish and above, really. It doesn’t matter much with these books. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t fantastic, either.

 

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The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Warning: contains spoilers

“Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series.”

Heavenly Fire is the sixth and final installment in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. I didn’t particularly enjoy the series – I liked them, sure, but they weren’t fantastic. If you’ve seen a copy of Heavenly Fire, you’ll know the book resembles a brick in terms of thickness – it’s really long.

In Heavenly Fire, Clary, Jace and the others are trying to stop Clary’s brother, Sebastian, from taking over the world and destroying Shadowhunters. The Heavenly Fire in Jace’s veins seems to be the only way to stop Sebastian, but Jace doesn’t know how to use it. Things are getting dark – Sebastian is attacking institutes and Turning Shadowhunters. Sebastian and the Seelie Queen are working together. So Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec and Isabelle go to the demon realm to rescue Jocelyn, Luke, Raphael, and Magnus and defeat Sebastian. Do they succeed? Well, pretty much, yes.

The book starts off introducing the characters of Clare’s next series, The Dark Artifices, and quite a lot of the book was spent setting the stage for those books. I found those parts particularly boring, as I doubt I’ll read TDA when they come out, and I found myself skimming those parts to get to the good bits. There was also quite a lot of reference to the prequel series, The Infernal Devices, and as I hadn’t read those yet I found myself wondering who on earth Tessa Gray was and how Brother Zachariah was connected to her – and why this whole idea was being introduced so late. I’ve now read the first of The Infernal Devices, which is called Clockwork Angel, and I think I’ve got an idea of what was going on, but I think for people who haven’t read TID it will be quite confusing. It was for me, anyway.

As for the bits about the TMI characters we all know pretty well – they were enjoyable. Mostly. There were slow bits, as in every book, and there were the nice bits. Starting the book, I think everyone knew everything was going to turn out okay – evil would be defeated, some people would die, but everything would be fine.

I have to say I loved the way Sebastian died. It was lovely how the Heavenly Fire wiped out the demon in him and for a little while, he was the brother Clary could’ve had if Valentine hadn’t done what he did. His death was wonderfully sad. The other part I really liked was when Simon had his memory wiped. (I adore sad endings.) I do think, though, that it felt too neat to bring Simon back – I feel like Clary was coping and that it was a little bit too forced, like Clare sat down and thought, “right, how can I bring Simon back?” rather than just leaving it how it was. I felt like it was a war, so realistically at least one of the group of main characters should’ve died: one from Clary, Jace, Alec, Isabelle, Magnus, Luke, Jocelyn. I know Jordan did die, but it felt too rushed for me.

Overall, it had it’s moments, but I felt too much time was spent on Infernal Devices and Dark Artifices – it relied heavily on them instead of spending time on the Mortal Instruments characters, which meant the book moved sluggishly. A good book overall, though. It’s aimed at teenagers, probably around twelve or thirteen.

 

 

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The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

“Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn to the Shadowhunters, a secret group of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City – and the dangers of forbidden love.”

I first saw the blurb and immediately wrote this off as another Twilight-type thing – werewolves, vampires, forbidden love, blah, blah. It sounded ridiculously boring and since I didn’t particularly like Twilight, I put reading this off for a very long time. But I read it anyway, and it was better than I expected.

The main character is called Clary Fray, and to be honest, she was what I liked the least about this book – well, the entire series, actually. She’s pretty dull and doesn’t have much of a personality, but if you overlook that, it’s a pretty good book. The book starts when Clary and her best friend, Simon, are at a club where Clary witnesses the murder of a demon – and that’s where you meet the Shadowhunters: Jace, Alec, and Isabelle. The body vanishes seconds later, and it’s pretty difficult to call the police when there’s no body to show and it turns out that Clary is the only one who can see the murderers at all. This is Clary’s first introduction to the world of Shadowhunters: warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Covered in bizarre tattoos and holding strange weapons, it becomes clear pretty fast that they aren’t entirely normal. Within 24 hours, it’s evident that Clary is part of this world – otherwise, what would demons want with Clary’s mother, Jocelyn? Turns out Jocelyn was also a Shadowhunter and has passed the ability down to Clary.

It’s gripping, not particularly fantastic but one of those books you can’t seem to stop reading.

Jace keeps popping up in the subsequent chapters and it becomes pretty obvious that he’s going to be Clary’s love interest in the series. In this book, I quite liked him: he was snarky and sarcastic and generally an awesome character, looking like an angel and acting like a jerk. We don’t learn much about Alec until later books, except that he seems to despise Clary with a passion. And then there’s Isabelle: she’s pretty, wears dresses and heels at ridiculously inappropriate times, is an amazing fighter, and is horribly shallow, which is what put me off. In general, though, the book is pretty good, with some interesting characters to balance out the bland ones – I’d say it was for roughly 13/14 year olds, but I think you could read it at an older age and still enjoy it, even though it’s quite an easy read.

As you probably know, there’s a movie for City of Bones – it’s not particularly good. I found it quite dull – I mean, it had its moments, but I spent most of the film readingCity of Ashes (the next one) and looking up every ten minutes or so to see what was going on. The casting wasn’t particularly fantastic and it wasn’t exactly what you would call captivating, though I know a lot of people who loved it – but even more who were put off reading the rest of the books due to the film’s general dullness. The book was better by far and I’d definitely recommend it.

 

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