Explanation of rating
The Dark Sisters kidnap Tessa and force her to learn an ability she never knew she had. Turns out, she is a Downworlder, potentially a warlock, with the power to shape-shift - changing into any person and gaining insight into their personalities and memories. Every day she is forced to push herself further in this training all for the sake of the mysterious Magister, whom the Dark Sisters are working for. Once Tessa discovers she is actually being prepared to marry the Magister, she begins to make her escape... and fails. But then she escapes again [she's really a bit clever throughout the book] and is simultaniously rescued by William Herondale [does the name ring any bells?], a beautiful young shadowhunter with a knack for witty comebacks.
Taken to the London Institute, Tessa is introduced to the other Shadowhunters that inhabit the church: Charlotte, the head of the Institute struggling to gain respect as a powerful woman; Henry, an wonky inventor with a mild case of ADHD [love him!]; Jessamine, who only wants to have a normal life for a woman of the time without the demon blood on her clothes; Jem, Will's parabatai and the more logical and calm of the pair who easily befriends Tessa; and Thomas, Sophie, and Agatha, each Mundanes who have the Sight and work for the Clave. Throughout the book, other characters come into play as well, including a couple of Lightwoods and Magnus Bane himself [If you are wondering: yes, it is possible for him to be as incredibly fabulous in the 19th Century as he is in the 21st, just less sparkly.].
Opinion: First of all, remember to suggest amazing books to amazing people - you will always be rewarded. Several years ago, I told one of my most fabulous friends, and sorority sister [w00t Phi Sigma Sigma], Ashley about The Mortal Instruments [Cassie's first series... duh]. She kind of fell in love and created the official fansite MundieSource.net a few days later. In return, I read City of Glass in advance when she let me borrow her copy, and now she gave me a advance copy of Clockwork Angel (only 300 of which were given out at BEA). So, I devote this entire paragraph to you, Ashley ;)
This story is completely different from what we all knew and loved in The Mortal Instruments that I even dislike trying to vaguely compare character roles. Will does not equal Jace; Jem does not equal Alec; Tessa does not not NOT equal Clary. It will be hard to convince the more stubborn readers out there that this is true, but within the first few chapters it's obvious.
The only reason I gave this book 4.5 Ys rather than 5 is because I felt as if it was setting me up for something even better. It's like climbing up the ladder for a high dive - you reach the top and can see out over the lake; you get to the end of the board, look down and realize where you are and take in the weird feeling in your tummy that is telling you "Hey, this kind of goes against basic survival instincts. Just sayin'," but you ignore that silly little tummy of yours and you want to jump.
This book basically ends there. I want to jump sooooo bad, because that's the best part. Clockwork Angel is more like climbing the ladder: I absolutely laughed a bunch of times [we all know Cassie has the best one-liners, and Will delivers them perfectly], I held my breath during some pretty intense fights [really brilliant descriptions], and I definitely cried [Cassie always makes me cry]. And I love that there is going to be something even more amazing in the books to come. Throughout this first installment, there are little details that are sure to play a bigger part (especially the reason behind the title 'Clockwork Angel'), again making me more excited to read the rest of the series!
p.s. I'll have you know, I am pretty decisive about "teams." I'm Team Peeta, for the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I'm Team Draco, as in Hermione/Draco [blame Cassie for this one too...]. Hell, I am even Team George when it comes to the Weasley twins. But this book.... From Cassie's cookies, I thought Jem. But after actually reading it all, I'm not sure. And you know what? I love this story even more because of my indecisiveness. This really just means that Cassie was able to present two equal and well-deserving characters - nothing blatantly sided like it was for Jace/Clary.
For School? (Hey, I'm a teacher, I think about this stuff!) How do I say no to Cassandra Clare? While this isn't generally something a regular English class would probably study, any properly tailored course could do wonders with this book - especially if the class were to compare the story of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. The way Clare is able to use a basic premise (Shadowhunters) and create two very different stories is something I don't get to read often. Many authors fall into the same story, just with different names and setting; it gets boring. Cassandra Clare is never boring. #fact
Realistically though, this book is purely for entertainment and should be kept that way.
p.s. Happy Birthday, Harry Fricken Potter!