Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

10 March, 2011 Reviews 6 comments

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on August 31st 2010
Pages: 479
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

A lot of Goodreads friends that I have, people I deeply respect and whose opinions I actually hold in great value gave this book lots of stars and glowing reviews. Friends of mine, you know I adore you, so please don’t take offense at this review. If you enjoyed this book then I’m really glad you did. It makes me happy when people enjoy literature. So you probably shouldn’t read this review if you love this book. And you especially shouldn’t read the following review and my extremely volatile expression of it.

Without any doubt, in my not-so-professional opinion, this book is a little, flaccid dick waving free in the breeze of literature trying its very bestest to hardened up and bugger us all in the ass.

My advice: don’t let it.

It’s nice to know that even though Cassandra Clare’s Draco Trilogy ended years ago, I can pick up ANY SINGLE ONE of her books that she has published and see not only Draco’s character, but all my old friends from the Harry Potter Fanon Universe with different names and physical descriptions but otherwise pretty much intact. Because seven really long books just wasn’t enough for them apparently.

It’s nice to know that the snappy little one-liners and cheap hijinks are being recycled because they worked so well the first AND second time she used them.

I don’t think I’ve made it any great secret that I despise the writings of Cassandra Clare – so let me get the, few, good points out of the way so I can go back to imagining a world where authors like this are forcibly chained to their desks and made to read their own stories over and over again until they’re sorry.

-She stopped using so many damn similes. I no longer feel like gouging out my own eyes every single time she tries to describe something.

-There is no creepy incest in this book so my husband was spared walking in on me trying to choke the life out of a paperback novel.

And… that about it. I mean, let’s face it, if the only good things I can say about this book are that she’s made slight improvements so that I no longer feel the urge to commit seppuku by diving head first into a meat grinder, then it’s not high praise.

So what was wrong with this novel? Well, other than the fact that the characters were almost CARBON COPIES of ones that I’d read in City of Bones, Draco Dormiens, Draco Sinister and Draco Veritas, there was just so much to hate. The character building that they actually DO have only exists because she did the work years ago (on top of another author’s pre-existing characters) – otherwise they’d be little more animated than the clockwork automatons that appear in this story.

Don’t get me started on how she wiki’d “Victorian Society”, copy and pasted the information into word and then randomly injected it into the story via the characters parroting the cans and can’ts of the time period. Not even going there. It’ll take too long to complain about that.

How about her inability to write a storyline that is in anyway surprising? Reading one of her novels is like watching a dumbed down version of Scooby Doo. I actually liked Scooby Doo (before Scrappy-Doo came along. Whoever made that character needed to be shot, hung, kheelhauled and quartered – the whole works) but you know how they’d go somewhere and they’d be like, “Hey guys, I think something’s going to happen! Hey, look gang, a perfectly inconspicuous diving mask… I WONDER IF THIS COULD BE A CLUE *WINK**WINK**NUDGE**NUDGE* FOR ALL THE FIVE YEAR OLD KIDS PLAYING AT HOME!”

In Clockwork Angel, Clare practically flags you down, makes you come look VERY hard at her clue that is painted bright, bright red and poorly hidden behind her back while she insists that it’s not actually there and giggles every time she tries to make you not look at her ENORMOUS FLIPPIN’ CLUE. She insists on this behaviour until finally you pat her on the head, tell her that she ALMOST managed to colour inside all the lines.

The whole concept of this book wasn’t original! It was her looking at the Internet culture going, “Huh… so people are really getting into steampunk, eh? Hmmmm… how can I cash in on this with as little effort on my behalf as possible?”

She is recycling characters that she built on from the Harry Potter universe years ago. She’s recycling storylines, conversations, personalities, plot-points, ideas and concepts from all around her and she recycles her own stuff (what little there is of it) just as frequently.

When she was accused of plagiarism for lifting entire paragraphs of text from other authors without referencing it, she made a comment that it didn’t really matter because – hey, isn’t fanfiction just pastiche anyway?

Well, fine. It was just fanfiction, who really cares? But I’d think after all these years she would have moved on past her pastiche style of writing to something that she could actually claim as her own.

But you know what? She can’t. It seems she’s entirely incapable of it. She is doing the literary equivalent of attempting to f@^# us all up the ass, without lube, and I for one don’t intend to sit around and take it. I feel no guilt in saying that she doesn’t deserve to be published or to be earning the money that she is. I will proudly complain about her books until she actually starts to care about the fudge that she’s packing.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

6 Responses to “Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare”

  1. alexandra86

    +AYou summarized my feelings towards Ms. Clare. I mean, I didn't read the Clockwork whatever but I read the Mortal Instruments trilogy and I was just surprised by the praise and actually reading this crazy mix of Harry Potter/Star Wars/whatever with mediocre plot.I just can't…

  2. Emily

    I had to chime in because I felt cheated with this book! I actually PAID for it because I had never read any of Clare’s work and my friends gave it great reviews. That’s what you get for listening to your friends that apparently have no taste… I originally gave it three stars, which looking back is overly generous. Re-reading my review, I’m trying to remember what I was smoking while I wrote it, because I need more of that. All I can remember about the book now is how the characters were horrible and the Nook version had a ridiculous amount of formatting errors!

  3. Maddz

    Didn’t like it at all… And I totally agree with everything you said, especially about Scrappy-Doo (even it has nothing to do with the book)!! Like who the f**k would invent such a annoying little motherf**ker of a character? Sorry for that tiny rant, just so glad someone agrees!!!

  4. CrazyCatLady

    Thank the flying spaghetti monster I am not alone. Alas, a bunch of my good reading buddies got me books #1 and #2. They make great paper weights! I get all excited when everyone RAVES about a series but then I feel like the leper when I can’t get into it! For exactly all these reasons. You always make me laugh while I read your reviews. Thank you!

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