This week I had a HUGE surprise waiting for me in my mailbox! Cassandra Clare mailed me an ARC of Clockwork Angel for my birthday!

Let me preface this by saying this review is spoiler free! I wouldn’t dream of taking one drop of surprise away from you, so rest assured you can read on without fear.

Now, I’ve made no bones about the fact that my absolute favorite book of all time is CITY OF GLASS, and that my favorite author is -you guessed it – Cassandra Clare. You have to realize then, that I had very high expectations for the first book in her new THE INFERNAL DEVICES trilogy, CLOCKWORK ANGEL. Add to that knowledge that this book incorporates elements of Steampunk! (a fixation of mine for ages) and you’re starting to see that the expectations I held were not only very high, they were ridiculously high, insurmountably high, so very VERY high that it seemed completely impossible CLOCKWORK ANGEL could skim the surface of what I was hoping and expecting it to be.

It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. It was SO MUCH BETTER!

You may doubt me right now. I’ve heard and read a lot of different people say they worry they won’t love this series the way they loved THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS books. (And if you haven’t yet read those, I shoo you forcefully away with the strict instruction to buy and read them IMMEDIATELY… don’t bother checking them out from the library. You’re going to want your own copies. Trust me.) Here’s the deal. What was it you so loved about the TMI books? Whatever your answer was, I can almost guarantee you that element features in CLOCKWORK ANGEL, too.

I’m not going to bother with a broad summary of the intro or hook of this story line. Doubtless you’ve read those already. You know that the story centers around a young warlock named Tessa Gray who travels from her native New York to London to find her brother in 1878. What you don’t know, and what I am going to tell you, is the reason WHY you’re going to love this book. The answer to that lies in the prose of CLOCKWORK ANGEL, itself:

“There was something particular and beautiful about the way the stele scrawled – not like ink flowing from a pen, but more as if the lines had always been there, and Will was uncovering them.”

When I read this, it made me pause. Not just because I enjoyed the imagery it evoked, but because it seemed such an apt description of Cassandra Clare’s writing itself. It’s exactly the way reading her work feels: not as if she’s creating this fantastical world with ingenious plots, unforgettable characters, and glittering prose, but as if she is simply uncovering these things for the reader. Her characters are so alive – so real and round – it’s impossible not to love and hurt right along with them. The themes and the plot are perfectly balanced: gritty and modern without ever having to try too hard to be edgy. The romance and relationships are just as complicated in this series as the last (though that probably sounds unlikely to you, trust me!) and the twists will have you speeding to the end of the pages and then cursing the publishing industry that the wait for book two is so painfully long!

So you can stop worrying now, and give your readership trust over to Cassandra Clare. She hasn’t let us down yet, and CLOCKWORK ANGEL is no exception. My advice? Clear your schedule for August 31st, you aren’t going to be able to put this one down!

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