Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Steampunk on the rise....


I just finished Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel and absolutely loved it. Set in a rather interesting version of victorian England, Clockwork Angel has all the good counterparts of a steampunk adventure. And although I like my cogs and automatons as much as the next person, I have to admit what really drew me in was her masterful character development and description.

I know what you're going to say here, this is just me trying to masterfully disguise the fact that I enjoyed the romantic angle of the book. Of course I had to read Twilight for work... all four books... you know for research (cough, cough). But although I have virtually come to expect a romance in all the young adult books I happen to pick up, I have noticed that not all teen romances were created alike.

For example, in Clockwork Angel, I really appreciated the fact that I was a fourth of the way through the book and had a sense of all the characters before I even got a whiff of romance. Tessa, the main character, is basically kidnapped by a pair of supernatural biddies upon arriving in England. They subject her to tedious experiments and throw her around like a rag doll. I like how through the descriptions of their enclosed house, you get a feel for victorian England. Clare did a lot of research into that time period of England and its layout and included a note in the back with some interesting remarks about it.

So eventually, Tessa somehow escapes the clutches of these supernatural sisters and ends up in the care of a group of half angel protectors of the supernatural underworld. Yes it's a bit fantastical, but I think it's the constant descriptions of the victorian surroundings that keep you grounded and believing in the story. She also does an amazing job of juggling eight new characters at once, somehow giving them equal play.

Did I mention there's a romance? I won't say too much about it, so as not to ruin in for those who haven't read it, but it develops as you get to know the characters. In a way, I feel this reenforces the setting of victorian England again, as love affairs generally developed slowly. Either way, this book would be a good bet for those who have liked the medieval x-men of Graceling by Kristen Cashore or even those that liked twilight (it has more than one tortured male in its pages.) Honestly, there's only one problem with this book. The next one doesn't come out till September.

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