Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Infernal Devices Book 1: Clockwork Angel

The Infernal Devices Book 1: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Walker Books)
PB RRP $24.94
ISBN 9781406328813

Reviewed by Heather Zubek

A prequel series to Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices Book 1: Clockwork Angel can be read, we are told by the author, as a stand-alone story. I haven’t read the Mortal Instrument series and I must admit to feeling quite lost when reading about Shadowhunters, Downworlders and such like. What does ‘glamour’ mean? What about the runes? What’s the deal with the Clockwork Angel? However, the story has enough sense of place and convincing characters for me to read to the end.

Author Cassandra Clare has a huge following of young readers through her Mortal Instruments series and I imagine these readers would enjoy the new Infernal Devices series. Cassandra has done a lot of research into London of the Victorian era and an American’s view of the city during that time. She even hired a researcher to track down hard-to-find photographs of certain locations. This research has paid off. The reader is taken in by the gloomy and tense period of old London and the author’s vivid depictions of landmarks and even the dress and food of the day is excellent. There are a few scenes of battle and one particularly gruesome one involving several vampires that are about to drain a mundane (or human) of all its blood. Just for entertainment.

Cassandra does tend to repeat certain phrases throughout the book – we read of hair clinging to sweaty faces rather a lot - but that doesn’t detract from her obvious talent for writing. Lovers of vampires, fantasy and the Mortal Instruments will no doubt enjoy reading Clockwork Angel and would look forward to reading more about Tessa, Will and Jem in the following two books.

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