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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , LaVista, NE
This is the first book in its series, more of a prequel than anything else, I’m told. Theresa Gray (called Tessa, Tess, or Tessie throughout the bulk of the story) is the main protagonist, a girl who believed she was human until she became 16 years old, when mysterious and horrible occurrences made her question her world and the people in it. Along with such an earth-shattering revelation, her heart is divided between two best friends who also happen to be opposites in all things: James, a sensitive and understanding gentleman and Will, a mysterious and moody jerk.

First off, I’m not a big fan of teen books because, to me, they read similarly to children’s books. To be frank, I didn’t like Tessa. She came off as annoying because she was always asking questions, and they were usually the same questions every time: “What am I?” “Where is my brother?” “What about what I want?” “Why aren’t you nice to everyone?” It was irritating after a while, and since she never held back her questions, it became annoying very quickly. It also bothered me that the other characters bathed her in affection, constantly telling her that she was strong—which she wasn’t. She was not any more courageous or strong than any typical girl, which is what may draw people to the character of Tessa. She is just as average as the rest of us, and that she can be a heroine may be inspiring to some. It wasn’t her commonness that made me dislike her, it was that everyone around her put her on a pedestal.

And then there was that the book claimed a love triangle between Tessa, Will, and James (otherwise known as Jem). This was a bit misleading. Although there are plenty of interactions between Tessa and Will throughout the novel, very little of it was romantic beyond the stereotypical “her gaze landed on him and remained there for far longer than was necessary” before giving way to a very unsatisfying and “mysterious” disappearance where Will would ignore Tessa. Also, what little “romance” was in their interactions seemed to be based off nothing but appearance. Perhaps that was intended because Will was supposed to be harsh, but it seemed that Clare had intended to make the two to be in love. It was also very misleading in that Tessa did not seem to have much interest (if any) in Jem. She doted on him and felt sorry for him, but she seemed not to have any attraction at all. That doesn’t qualify as a “love triangle” to me.

Then there was the dialogue. It was not particularly realistic or engaging, especially when a character would have extended dialogue, as in trying to explain something or tell a story. The only positive quality in the dialogue was that it was consistent with the characters’ personalities. Tessa’s curiosity was present in her constant barrage of questions, Sophie’s sensitivity was present in her occasional stutter, and Jessamine’s conceit was impossible to mistake.

Beyond the characters, however, the story was interesting and engaging, even to me. It’s hard to get past the main character, but Clare’s wonderful descriptions and plot kept me interested. Her descriptions were long enough to give the reader a clear picture of the setting and characters, but not overly done. There were a few plot twists, although it wasn’t twist after twist. It was refreshing when it occurred. Even though I do not like Tessa, I intend to purchase the next book and continue to read through the series.

While the story and world are interesting, the dialogue, characters, and romance will probably live much to be desired.





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