While wandering through the stacks of books that were out last Christmas at my local Barnes & Noble, I saw a book in the Young Adult section that immediately drew my attention. Disregarding the old saying about judging and books and covers, the artwork on the front of Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare was so beautiful and otherworldly that I had to find out more about it. The very next day, I searched online at the library and discovered two things: 1) it is book two of The Infernal Devices series; and 2) it already had a long list of people who were waiting to check it out. Luckily, the library had a copy of the first volume in the series, Clockwork Angel. Wow. This book hits all my buttons: fresh, dark, different, compelling. Plus, I adore books that take place in late 1800s London or New York City. It is the writing itself, however, that pushed this book to the heights for me. I can’t find a word (so let me know if you have one) for writing where not only the story is great, but the quality and perfection of the vocabulary and the sentence structure is on a higher plane than most writers (another blog post another day). I have now read both books that are currently out and I am eagerly awaiting the third.
The Infernal Devices series takes place in Victorian London. An American girl named Tessa is asked by her brother to come to London to live with him after her guardian aunt has passed away. Tessa arrives only to be kidnapped and forced to develop magical powers that she didn’t know she had. Once she escapes/is rescued from captivity, she meets a group of people called “Shadowhunters,” ones who are half-human, half-angel and whose purpose is to kill demons. We meet Will, who is a maddeningly equal amount of arrogance, recklessness and mystery. Will’s best friend, Jem, with his own secrest, is sweet and kind and seems to be the only one who can handle Will. Tessa discovers a world she never knew existed; a place of warlocks, vampires and other magical creatures. She must now navigate this Downworld to locate her now missing brother and figure out who (or what) she really is.
While impatiently waiting for book two in this series to be available from the library, I began Ms. Clare’s related series, The Mortal Instruments. It contains a new cast of characters (well, almost new – wink) and the books are based in current-day New York City. Shadowhunters, werewolves, faeries and secrets still abound. The heroine, Clary Fray, discovers that her mother has been hiding their Shadowhunter ancestry from Clary when her mom is abducted from their apartment and and a demon tries to kill Clary. Jace, a cocky and annoyingly brash Shadowhunter, gets Clary to The Institute where other Shadowhunters live and work so she can start to look for her mother and learn about her family lineage.
Both series contain elements of romance, danger and betrayal. There is an interesting steampunk element to The Infernal Devices series as well. Also, it was announced recently that Ms. Clare will have a third series called The Dark Artifices!
I am eagerly awaiting my reserved copy of City of Lost Souls that is out in a month. That’s the bad thing about discovering a series that’s not finished; you get to read so many at once, then you have to wait. In this case, though, they are more than worth it. And yes, The Mortal Instruments has been optioned for a movie to be released August 23, 2013. So get to reading!
Announced titles in the series:
The Infernal Devices:
- Clockwork Angel
- Clockwork Prince
- Clockwork Princess (available November 2012)
The Mortal Instruments:
- City of Bones
- City of Ashes
- City of Glass
- City of Fallen Angels
- City of Lost Souls (available May 8, 2012)
- City of Heavenly Fire (available September 2014)
For more information, please click on the following links:
The Infernal Devices: http://www.theinfernaldevices.com/
The Mortal Instruments: http://www.mortalinstruments.com/
Web page for Cassandra Clare: http://www.cassandraclare.com/