Week 1: Prologue - Chapter 2
Hey quirks! As you may remember from this post, I'm participating in a readalong of Cassandra Clare's The Infernal Devices! We began reading Clockwork Angel this past week. It's still not too late to join us, whether you've never read the series or are a TID old hat! Check out our reading schedule here.
This is my first of the recap posts, and there is a high chance of SPOILERS. If you do not want to be spoiled on anything, I suggest reading the listed chapters before reading this post or avoiding these posts if you haven't read the book.
Most of the time, I don't think a prologue is necessary, and while it might not be necessary here, I didn't mind it. It gives us an idea of what our main characters, Will, Jem, and Tessa, are up to before they meet. We are given a sense of Will's character right of the bat. He's cocky and likes to joke around. Jem is more serious and reserved. They play off each other nicely.
The writing is something I was wondering about before reading, because I had some issues with Clare's The Mortal Instrument series, especially her characterizations and relationships. I've noticed already some characters telling other characters things they should already know, but other than that it's okay. It doesn't have the atmosphere that I usually expect in historical novels, but I'm not bothered by that as the book flows and reads easily.
When we get to Tessa, she seems like a normal enough girl for the times, but there's not much else to know about her yet, other than she is really excited to see her brother.
Through Tessa's eyes we get a really good visual of the Dark House and the atmosphere of the place comes through. Tessa's narration (even though it is via third person) adds to the sense of the times as she is mostly a proper young lady, though it is hard for her to be such in her current situation.
The Dark Sisters are creepy, creepy, creepy. I think Tessa's shape-shifting ability is fantastic, but what I really like about it is she gets a sense of the person and his or her thoughts and feelings when she changes. My guess as to what kind of creature Tessa is would be a warlock/witch, but that's just a guess.
Something that was a little off for me in this chapter is that Tessa is practicing her changing because the Dark Sisters have her brother, Nate, and if Tessa refuses, they will kill him. She's been doing this for six weeks to protect Nate, but when Tessa hears that the Dark Sisters plan to marry her off to the Magister, she forgets all about her brother and tries to escape. In reading that passage, it seems like Tessa sort of snaps a little, realizing the extent of the terrible situation she is in, and she is only concerned about her own survival. I can understand that, but it doesn't fit with the completely devoted sister view we've been given up to this point.
When Tessa escapes, she hits the servant, Miranda, over the head, and instead of bleeding and stuff, Miranda's head collapses sans blood and she continues to try to get Tessa to leave the room, though she sort-of powers down before she can, and crashes to the floor. I immediately thought, given the title, that Miranda, and probably the only other servant of the Dark Sisters, the coachman, were some kind of automatons. It made for a pretty freaky scene.
Tessa does not escape and is returned to her locked room and tied to her bed. I like the Dark Sisters as villains because while they seem a little over the top, they are still creepy and cruel. When they're gone, Tessa figures out a way to get out of her bonds, and we learn another aspect of her shape-shifter abilities, that she can shift into someone she's already shifted into, even though she isn't holding anything belonging to that person.
When she gets out of the ropes, she doesn't have a chance to do anything because someone tries to get in her room. She attacks the person, and it turns out to be Will. Will and her start the banter that Clare seems to be fond of having in her books, and I enjoyed it. Will continues to make ridiculous comments and I like that Tessa actually considers the fact that he might be crazy. While trying to escape Dark House, they end up in a slaughtering room with bodies and blood everywhere.
The Dark Sisters find them and there is banter between Will and the sisters and we learn a little more about what they are and what they've been up to. Then the wall is smashed in, which I found amusing, and Will is joined by two allies. A fight ensues, which is one thing I've always enjoyed about Clare's books, her fight scenes, and Tessa hurts another Shadowhunter by biting him, thinking he was an enemy. I like that despite Tessa not knowing how to fight, she always puts up one and is not as passive a person as she might seem.
The fight ends with Mrs. Black being killed and Mrs. Dark getting away, and Tessa going unconscious, which is beyond cliche, but at least she actually got hit in the head and didn't just faint.
My verdict so far:
I like Tessa. Will is amusing, but I want to see more of Jem. The shadow world in London feels dark and creepy. The clockwork angel, which is on a necklace that Tessa got from her mother, has intrigued me and I think it is a key to Tessa's heritage.
Check back tomorrow for recaps of Chapters 3 through 5!