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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen

Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare Girls deserve better than this. Literarily speaking, this writing is good enough, but damn it, who wants good enough?

I say "girls" because this is the target audience of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel. Love, emotions, strong female characters, this has them in spades. On the negative side, it also panders a bit with overt book love, puppy love and petty angst.

Regardless of the testosterone that was gushing through my boy parts, I might've enjoyed the heck out of this when I was 12 or 13ish, I loved a good action-packed, bloody-minded adventure. However, the book is delivered in a style too much like a child's fairytale, and its buckets of violence appear to be meant to cloak it in adult clothes.

Clare relies on atmosphere to set and occasionally even move scenes. Just as I started thinking how she must be a big Bronte fan due to the heavily gothic feel of the story, she literally name dropped Jane Eyre (I snort-laughed at the coincidence.) I was enjoying the setting for what it was at first, but as I flipped page after page it started to feel like Clare was window dressing her book, and this was her first day on the job. The period-appropriate references turned gaudy, hung a bit awkward and out of place. After a time it all began to feel like an American high school production of Wuthering Heights.

Then strange, unnatural emotions started to be cast randomly about, like unnecessarily worrying about showing flirtation for saying things that, frankly, I could read no flirtation into whatsoever. Attributions after dialogue became ineffective, minor landmines of reactions gone askew.

I like to pick up fairly new stuff, books that have hit it big, to see why they've struck a chord, even if I'm pretty sure I don't possess that chord and stand no chance of this work ringing like music to my ears. It was this urge that drove me to Clockwork Angel. The urge pushed me quite a few pages through it, but eventually the urge died. I stopped reading when (SPOILER COMING -->>) the main character showed surprise that the maid was robotic, even though she'd bashed in the maid's face a few chapters prior and revealed its roboticness. That's either an editing lapse or an idiotic character. Either reason was enough to finally kill the mood for me.

Rating Note: Complaints and all, for the third or so of this I did read, I would've given it about 3.5 stars. However, I'm not going to enter a rating because I didn't finish the book and it just wouldn't be right.