Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review #13: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Book One of The Infernal Devices)


It's probably dangerous to be saying this now of all times, when the Hunger Games fever has yet to subside entirely but.... I think The Infernal Devices series is better than HG. And, I read HG the same year I read Clockwork Angel three years ago so this comparison is very sound. ("three years ago" doesn't sound very convincing though)

Knowing me, I cannot not applaud the cover. I know I criticised the City of Bones cover unfavourably but if you compare that with this... it's like comparing ordinary sponge cakes with molten lava chocolate cake. Look at the colours!

It's confusing, especially for those who have yet to be trapped in the Shadowhunting world: Clockwork Angel is the prequel to City of Bones but was published later. I read this book first so the experience was different for me. Many criticised this book for being too similar with CoB but I'll dabble on why I disagree soon enough.

The story sounds rather similar on the surface: In the late 19th century, 16-year old American Tessa Gray comes to London, looking for her brother, only to be abducted. After finding out that she has a well-sought after ability, Tessa then meets the arrogant and troubled Shadowhunter, Will Herondale (on the cover). We'd gladly let her like Will had Jem Carstairs not existed. Thus, begins another adventure and love story we're all tired of but this is more worth your time than you think.

Why I Think CA is better than CoB:
Many are dissatisfied about how Clockwork Angel is a rehashing of CoB. In both books, we have supposedly "ordinary" heroines who are placed in a hostile Shadowhunting world, whilst flanked by two boys. I don't mind that fact, because both books are in a completely different time period. The heroines' characters are a tad uncomfortably similar (their physicality is completely different though) but overall, the plot lines differ. Besides, I think CA is richer in plot and execution while CoB is lighter and more 'wild' (wild is a terrible word to use lol). I have to say, I liked CA more than CoB. The male leads are richer in depth as well; with swoonable Will wreaking havoc with his wit and notoriety.

If you're a 'purist', avid Victorian reader, you won't be satisfied about  how the conversations between the characters aren't true to its period. This is a YA novel after all, we can't have the characters speaking like an Oscar Wilde novel! The characters, again, are more American than British, more contemporary too. Despite that, Clare did make it a point to add British slang and habits throughout. One thing about Clare is that her forte is her skill in world-building. In any YA fantasy novel -- or any fantasy novel -- this skill is obviously needed and she does it seamlessly.

Clare included famous extracts of poems with each chapter that I think Literature lovers will appreciate; it's a nice touch. I think with these books... there's really no need to analyse anything to a tee. It's not classic literature, it's not a complicated fiction. It's a simple, solid, nicely done first book. What I'd recommend is for you to lie back, relax and go with the flow Clare takes you in. (476 pages) ★★★★

PS. I don't know how to make my reviews shorter, I have so much to say?

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