Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (unabridged audiobook read by Jennifer Ehle; 15.5 hrs on 13 discs): When Tessa travels from her native New York to London to meet up with her brother, she is greeted by the Dark Sisters, strange women who hold her captive, forcing her to master a talent she never knew she possessed: shape shifting. She soon finds herself in the company of shadow hunters, those half-angel humans who uphold the law among the supernatural. Unlike the modern Mortal Instruments series, this takes place in Victorian times. There’s a bit of a steampunk vibe, what with clockwork critters and all that, but it’s not overbearing or overly unrealistic (for a story with demons and warlocks, that is). I like Tessa; she’s smart and confident without being reckless (using “character is too headstrong and doesn’t listen to reason and gets herself into trouble” as a plot device is a pet peeve of mine). The shadow hunters are also pleasantly individual: surly Will, kind Jem, prissy Jessamine, determined Charlotte, flighty Henry. I liked that I couldn’t predict where everything was going, but also never felt like things were plucked out of thin air. I don’t know if I would be enjoying it as much if I hadn’t already been introduced to the shadow hunter universe through the Mortal Instruments series, though I do feel the characters and story are much stronger here. The book ends on a slight cliffhanger, but that’s okay because it’s the beginning of a trilogy. Game on.

A note on the audio: When only a couple of the characters are American, it is best to get someone who can pull off a decent British accent. This reader, alas, cannot.

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