“If no one in the entire world cared about you, did you really exist at all?”
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I adore Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series and going back to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders is something I surely enjoy. Clockwork Angel is the first novel in The Mortal Instruments prequel series, Infernal Devices. This book is set in the same unseen world of Shadowhunters which took place in London Victorian era, hundred years before The Mortal Instruments series.
The first half of the book involves a lot of world-building and plot setting. Having read the three books of The Mortal Instruments, world building is unnecessary for me, which makes this part a slow read. But I understand that Clare need to include those introductions not just for those who haven’t read The Mortal Instruments but also to visibly show the world and time she is creating. At some point I wish I haven’t read the The Mortal Instruments first before this prequel series. Nevertheless, I love how Cassandra Clare create this magical world of Shadowhunters. Each description is carefully crafted. The visuals are still strong like in The Mortal Instruments. It’s easy to picture yourself inside the walls of Dark Sisters’ home and the Shadowhunters’ haven. London in eighteen hundred is interesting and Clare’s version is good, quite different from what I expected but still good enough to present the old world.
I was honestly more swept away by the story and the characters of The Mortal Instruments series, but that does make Clockwork Angel so much inferior. The characters are still complex like in The Mortal Instruments. Two interesting characters for me are Henry Branwell and James Carstairs. Henry inspite of being a minor character is an interesting character to meet. He’s such a sweet, crazy inventor usually absent minded but brilliant. James is sensible and genuine but somewhat mysterious. As Will parabatai, he is perfect or let me just say Will and James are perfect pair of warriors. Even totally different from each other they share an undeniable bond. They bring out the best in each other despite of their disagreements, and their friendship is really admirable.
As for the two major characters, Tessa Gray and Will Herondale, Tessa is a bit off as a heroine. I don’t understand her much nor do I care. Other than her passion for literature and her shifting ability I don’t see much of her personality. Compare to Clary she is a bit inferior as a heroine. She’s whining too much about her brother. I hope to see more development in her character in the next book.
Will is somehow looks like a repeat performance of Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments. They are both arrogant, rude and inappropriate with a dark past. The resemblance in attitude is clearly there, no wonder they are related to each other. As for the degree of relation, it is not stated clearly but if you have read The Mortal Instruments you know what I’m saying. I would love to see the family tree of Shadowhunters after all these books are finished.
Magnus Bane is also here. I love him from The Mortal Instruments series and having him here is awesome. I loved reading how he blended into the story. It was like coming across an old friend and learning even more about him. He adds a feeling of connection. And he never fails to makes me smile or laugh with his witty dialogues. I wish there had been more of him.
As for the plot, the whole situation with The Magister, his identity is not shocking. Actually, he is my prime suspect from the start, the misleading doesn’t draw me to other possibilities. But with Tessa’s brother Nate, thats a different story. Since he is absent in most part of the book, only knowing him from Tessa’s side story, I didn’t expect how things worked out with him in the end. I was too caught in my reading that I didn’t even expect that turn out on his character. I have to say, Cassandra Clare is good in devising a story. She isn’t giving the whole story in one setting, but rather eased back into this world and offered a different path to follow. I am interested to find out more about Will’s and Jem’s pasts as well as Tessa’s origins and her parents story which will surely reveal more about her character. Also, I hope to see more of Magnus Bane and more about Jessie Lovelace who seems has her own interesting story to tell.
On the whole Clockwork Angel is a good read. While the characterisation is not as good as The Mortal Instruments, the story is still fun, and entertaining. It got the perfect balance of mystery, adventure and the fascinating world of Shadowhunters.