How Cassandra Clare almost derailed my summer plans…in the best possible way!
For those of you who are paying attention, you know I’m trying to read all of ISLMA’s Abe Lincoln nominees. If you’re new to my little blogosphere, I’ll fill you in. As an English teacher working toward a graduate degree as a school librarian, I’ve been introduced to many award lists for children’s books and YA literature. Illinois, where I live and work, is home of the Illinois School Library Media Association or ISLMA. Each year ISLMA nominates 22 YA novels for the Abe Lincoln Award (ISLMA’s page). Students from all over the state are eligible to take part in the voting and are even involved in some of the nominations. I am not a high school student, but I am a library student, so I thought it would be fun to challenge myself to read the 2013 Abe Nominees (my reviews). Things were moving along swimmingly…that is until I read a Cassandra Clare book that was on the list. Now I may have a problem because I’m hooked on her books.
Clockwork Angel, book one in Clare’s trilogy that is a prequel to her Mortal Instruments series, is a 2013 Abe Lincoln nominee. I know Clare has a huge fan base, but for no reason other than my huge TBR list, I had not yet read any of her works. She describes her genre as YA urban fantasy. It does contain elements of steampunk as well. Both genres are ones that I am not too familiar with yet, so that may also be a reason why I’ve not sought out one of Clare’s books yet. Well, thank you ISLMA for nominating Clockwork Angel this year!
I was a good little reader at first. I devoured book one, and though I knew book two was available, I told myself, “No. You need to stick to your goal, not to mention your assigned reading list for your children’s lit class!” I did as I was told. I read Impossible, by Nancy Werlin (another Abe), and I loved it! I read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book for my children’s lit class, and I completely enjoyed that one as well. But I couldn’t stop thinking about Tessa, Will, and Jem from Clockwork Angel and the aching love triangle that I knew was building between them, (POSSIBLE SPOILERS–>) let alone the fact that book one ends with the bad guy still on the loose, Shadowhunters in danger, and Tessa still not knowing what she is! It also didn’t help that a friend who read Clockwork Angel on my recommendation moved right on to Clockwork Prince and loved it so much that she read it in a day and a half. I couldn’t take it. I had to deviate from the plan and read book two. I hoped and prayed that I was making the right decision. After all, I am a planner. I do NOT take deviations lightly.
Ok. Ok. I know. Here’s the review.
I can say with a clear conscience that I made the right decision! Clare does create the best love triangle between Will, Tessa, and Jem. Jem is so good and kind and beautiful but also frail and sick with his days numbered. Will is beautiful and strong but also dark and brooding, keeping everyone at arm’s length by never showing any real feelings for anyone, save Jem, his parabatai. Tessa believes Will despises her, yet she cannot help but ache whenever she’s in close proximity to him. Jem, on the other hand, is extremely attentive toward Tessa, even when she is unaware of his feelings for her. Clare ends this second book of her trilogy leaving the reader wondering how any of the three could wind up truly happy by book three’s end. Though we will have wait until March for the finale, I will tease you with this. We do get to find out in Clockwork Prince why Will left his family at 12 to become a Shadowhunter, never to see his parents again!
Don’t worry. There’s more than angsty heartache (though I’m fine with plenty of it!). We learn that Mortmain is much more powerful than we may have thought in book one and that he always seems to be one step ahead of the Shadowhunters. Charlotte’s leadership of the Institute is challenged basically because of everything that happened in book one. Now the Institute’s Shadowhunters have two weeks to find Mortmain, on their own, and bring him to justice, or the Clave will most likely vote Charlotte and Henry down as leaders and instill Benedict Lightwood as the new leader. Because Tessa is not a Shadowhunter, this would put her on the streets, and easy target for Mortmain whose grand design ends with Tessa becoming his bride.
I’m just so enamored with the vivid world Clare has created and the people who inhabit it. I guess I’m also a sucker for getting my heart broken just to have it built back up and broken again. That’s teenage romance, though. Isn’t it, especially when you throw in angels, demons, warlocks, vampires, and mortal danger at every turn? It doesn’t hurt, either, that each chapter begins with an excerpt of a poem that befits the title/subject of said chapter. The English teacher in me wants to compile all the poems and work them into my AP literature class!
Thanks, ISLMA, for putting together a great list of nominees, so much so that I have strayed off the path…but I’ll find my way back…unless I keep wandering into the Mortal Instruments series…FOCUS Amy!
Thanks for stopping by!
*Book three, Clockwork Princess, will be released on March 19th, 2013!