Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
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THE DARK HOUSE
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade
—William Ernest Henley, “Invictus”
“The Sisters would like to see you in their chambers, Miss Gray.”
Tessa set the book she had been reading down on the bedside table, and turned to see Miranda standing in the doorway of her small room—just as she did at this time every day, delivering the same message she delivered every day. In a moment Tessa would ask her to wait in the corridor, and Miranda would leave the room. Ten minutes later she’d return and say the same thing again. If Tessa didn’t come obediently after a few of these attempts, Miranda would seize her and drag her, kicking and screaming, down the stairs to the hot, stinking room where the Dark Sisters waited.
It had happened every day of the first week that Tessa had been in the Dark House, as she had come to call the place they kept her prisoner, until eventually Tessa had realized that the screaming and kicking didn’t do much good and simply wasted her energy. Energy that was probably better saved for other things.
“One moment, Miranda,” Tessa said. The maid bobbed an awkward curtsy and went out of the room, shutting the door behind her.
Tessa rose to her feet, glancing around the small room that had been her prison cell for six weeks. It was small, with flowered wallpaper, and sparsely furnished—a plain deal table with a white lace cloth over it where she ate her meals; the narrow brass bed where she slept; the cracked washstand and porcelain jug for her ablutions; the windowsill where she stacked her books, and the small chair where she sat each night and wrote letters to her brother—letters she knew she could never send, letters she kept hidden under her mattress where the Dark Sisters would not find them. It was her way of keeping a diary and of assuring herself, somehow, that she would see Nate again someday and be able to give them to him.
She crossed the room to the mirror that hung against the far wall, and smoothed down her hair. The Dark Sisters, as they in fact seemed to wish to be called, preferred her not to look messy, although they didn’t appear to mind her appearance one way or the other past that—which was fortunate, because her reflection made her wince. There was the pale oval of her face dominated by hollow gray eyes—a shadowed face without color in its cheeks or hope in its expression. She wore the unflattering black schoolmarmish dress that the Sisters had given her once she’d arrived; her trunk had never followed her, despite their promises, and this was now the only piece of clothing she owned. She looked away quickly.
She hadn’t always flinched from her reflection. Nate, with his fair good looks, was the one in the family generally agreed to have inherited her mother’s beauty, but Tessa had always been perfectly content with her own smooth brown hair and steady gray eyes. Jane Eyre had had brown hair, and plenty of other heroines besides. And it wasn’t so bad being tall, either—taller than most of the boys her own age, it was true, but Aunt Harriet had always said that as long as a tall woman carried herself well, she would forever look regal.
She didn’t look regal now, though. She looked pinched and bedraggled and altogether like a frightened scarecrow. She wondered if Nate would even recognize her if he saw her today.
At that thought her heart seemed to shrink inside her chest. Nate. He was the one she was doing all this for, but sometimes she missed him so much it felt like she’d swallowed broken glass. Without him, she was completely alone in the world. There was no one at all for her. No one in the world who cared whether she lived or died. Sometimes the horror of that thought threatened to overwhelm her and plunge her down into a bottomless darkness from which there would be no return. If no one in the entire world cared about you, did you really exist at all?
The click of the lock cut her thoughts off abruptly. The door opened; Miranda stood on the threshold.
“It is time to come with me now,” she said. “Mrs. Black and Mrs. Dark are waiting.”
Tessa looked at her in distaste. She couldn’t guess how old Miranda was. Nineteen? Twenty-five? There was something ageless about her smooth round face. Her hair was the color of ditch water, pulled back harshly behind her ears. Exactly like the Dark Sisters’ coachman, she had eyes that protruded like a frog’s and made her look like she was permanently surprised. Tessa thought they must be related.
As they went downstairs together, Miranda marching along with her graceless, clipped gait, Tessa raised her hand to touch the chain around her throat where the clockwork angel hung. It was habit—something she did each time she was forced to see the Dark Sisters. Somehow the feel of the pendant around her neck reassured her. She kept hold of it as they passed landing after landing. There were several levels of corridors to the Dark House, though Tessa had seen nothing of it but the Dark Sisters’ chambers, the halls and stairs, and her own room. Finally they reached the shadowed cellar. It was dank down here, the walls clammy with unpleasant moisture, though apparently the Sisters didn’t mind. Their office was ahead, through a set of wide double doors. A narrow corridor led away in the other direction, vanishing into darkness; Tessa had no idea what lay down that hallway, but something about the thickness of the shadows made her glad she had never found out.
The doors to the Sisters’ office were open. Miranda didn’t hesitate, but clomped inside, Tessa following after her with great reluctance. She hated this room more than any other place on earth.
To begin with, it was always hot and wet inside, like a swamp, even when the skies outside were gray and rainy. The walls seemed to seep moisture, and the upholstery on the seats and sofas was always blooming with mold. It smelled strange as well, like the banks of the Hudson on a hot day: water and garbage and silt.
The Sisters were already there, as they always were, seated behind their enormous raised desk. They were their usual colorful selves, Mrs. Black in a dress of vibrant salmon pink and Mrs. Dark in a gown of peacock blue. Above the brilliantly colored satins, their faces were like deflated gray balloons. They both wore gloves despite how hot the room was.
“Leave us now, Miranda,” said Mrs. Black, who was spinning the heavy brass globe they kept on the desk with one plump, white-gloved finger. Tessa had many times tried to get a better look at the globe—something about the way the continents were laid out had never looked quite right to her, especially the space in the center of Europe—but the sisters always kept her away from it. “And shut the door behind you.”
Expressionless, Miranda did as asked. Tessa tried not to wince as the door shut behind her, closing off what little breeze there was in this airless place.
Mrs. Dark tilted her head to the side. “Come here, Theresa.” Of the two women, she was the more kind—more likely to wheedle and persuade than her sister, who liked to convince with slaps and hissed threats. “And take this.”
She held something out: a dilapidated bit of pink fabric tied in a bow, the sort that might be used as a girl’s hair ribbon.
She was used to being handed things by the Dark Sisters now. Things that had once belonged to people: tie pins and watches, mourning jewelry, and children’s toys. Once the laces of a boot; once a single earring, stained with blood.
“Take this,” said Mrs. Dark again, a hint of impatience in her voice. “And Change.”
Tessa took the bow. It lay in her hand, as light as a moth’s wing, and the Dark Sisters stared impassively at her. She remembered books she had read, novels in which characters were on trial, standing quaking in the dock at the Old Bailey and praying for a verdict of not guilty. She often felt she was on trial herself in this room, without knowing of what crime she stood accused.
She turned the bow over in her hand, remembering the first time the Dark Sisters had handed an object to her—a woman’s glove, with pearl buttons at the wrist. They had shouted at her to Change, had slapped her and shaken her as she’d told them over and over again with rising hysteria that she had no idea what they were talking about, no idea what they were asking her to do.
She hadn’t cried, even though she’d wanted to. Tessa hated to cry, especially in front of people she didn’t trust. And of the only two people in the world she trusted, one was dead and the other imprisoned. They had told her that, the Dark Sisters, had told her that they had Nate, and if she didn’t do what they said, he would die. They’d showed her his ring, the one that had been her father’s—stained with blood now—to prove it. They hadn’t let her hold it or touch it, had snatched it back as she’d reached for it, but she’d recognized it. It was Nate’s.
After that she had done everything they’d asked. Had drunk the potions they’d given her, done the hours of agonizing exercises, forced herself to think the way they wanted her to. They’d told her to imagine herself as clay, being shaped and molded on the potter’s wheel, her form amorphous and changeable. They’d told her to reach down into the objects they’d given her, to imagine them as living things, and to draw out the spirit that animated them.
It had taken weeks, and the first time she had Changed, it had been so blindingly painful that she’d vomited and passed out. When she’d woken, she’d been lying on one of the moldering chaises in the Dark Sisters’ rooms, a damp towel being sponged across her face. Mrs. Black had been leaning down over her, her breath as bitter as vinegar, her eyes alight. “You did well today, Theresa,” she had said. “Very well.”
That evening when Tessa had gone up to her room, there had been gifts for her, two new books on her bedside table. Somehow the Dark Sisters had realized that reading and novels were Tessa’s passion. There was a copy of Great Expectations and—of all things—Little Women. Tessa had hugged the books to herself and, alone and unwatched in her room, had let herself cry.
It had grown easier since then, the Changing. Tessa still didn’t understand what happened inside her to make it possible, but she had memorized the series of steps the Dark Sisters had taught her, the way a blind person might memorize the number of paces it takes to walk from their bed to the door of their room. She didn’t know what was around her in the strange dark place they asked her to journey to, but she knew the pathway through it.
She drew on those memories now, tightening her grip on the ragged bit of pink fabric she held. She opened her mind and let the darkness come down, let the connection that bound her to the hair ribbon and the spirit inside it—the ghostly echo of the person who had once owned it—unravel like a golden thread leading through the shadows. The room she was in, the oppressive heat, the noisy breathing of the Dark Sisters, all of it fell away as she followed the thread, as the light grew more intense around her and she wrapped herself in it as if she were wrapping herself in a blanket.
Her skin began to tingle and to sting with thousands of tiny shocks. This had been the worst part, once—the part that had convinced her she was dying. Now she was used to it, and bore it stoically as she shuddered all over, from her scalp to her toes. The clockwork angel around her throat seemed to tick faster, as if in rhythm with her speeding heart. The pressure inside her skin built—Tessa gasped—and her eyes, which had been closed, flew open as the sensation built to a crescendo—and then vanished.
It was over.
Tessa blinked dizzily. The first moment after a Change was always like blinking water out of your eyes after submerging yourself in a bath. She looked down at herself. Her new body was slight, almost frail, and the fabric of her dress hung loose, pooling on the floor at her feet. Her hands, clasped in front of her, were pale and thin, with chapped tips and bitten nails. Unfamiliar, alien hands.
“What is your name?” Mrs. Black demanded. She had risen to her feet and was looking down at Tessa with her pale eyes burning. She looked almost hungry.
Tessa didn’t have to answer. The girl whose skin she wore answered for her, speaking through her the way spirits were said to speak through their mediums—but Tessa hated to think about it that way; the Change was so much more intimate, so much more frightening, than that. “Emma,” the voice that came from Tessa said. “Miss Emma Bayliss, ma’am.”
“And who are you, Emma Bayliss?”
The voice replied, words tumbling out of Tessa’s mouth, bringing strong images with them. Born in Cheapside, Emma had been one of six children. Her father was dead, and her mother sold peppermint water from a cart in the East End. Emma had learned to sew to bring in money when she was still a small child. Nights, she spent sitting at the little table in her kitchen, sewing seams by the light of a tallow candle. Sometimes, when the candle burned down and there was no money for another, she would go out into the streets and sit below one of the municipal gas lamps, using its light to sew by… .
“Is that what you were doing out on the street the night you died, Emma Bayliss?” asked Mrs. Dark. She was smiling thinly now, running her tongue over her lower lip, as if she could sense what the answer would be.
Tessa saw narrow, shadowy streets, wrapped in thick fog, a silver needle working by faint yellow gaslight. A step, muffled in the fog. Hands that reached out of the shadows and took hold of her shoulders, hands that dragged her, screaming, into the darkness. The needle and thread falling from her hands, the bows ripped from her hair as she struggled. A harsh voice shouting something angry. And then the silver blade of a knife flashing down through the dark, slicing into her skin, drawing out the blood. Pain that was like fire, and terror like nothing else she’d ever known. She kicked out at the man holding her, succeeding in knocking the dagger from his hand; she caught the blade and ran, stumbling as she weakened, the blood draining out of her fast, so fast. She crumpled in an alley, hearing the hissing scream of something behind her. She knew it was following her, and she was hoping to die before it reached her—
The Change shattered like glass. With a cry Tessa fell to her knees, the torn little bow falling from her hand. It was her hand again—Emma had gone, like a cast-off skin. Tessa was once more alone inside her own mind.
Mrs. Black’s voice came from far away. “Theresa? Where is Emma?”
“She’s dead,” Tessa whispered. “She died in an alley—bled to death.”
“Good.” Mrs. Dark exhaled, a sound of satisfaction. “Well done, Theresa. That was very good.”
Tessa said nothing. The front of her dress was splotched with blood, but there was no pain. She knew it was not her blood; it wasn’t the first time this had happened. She closed her eyes, spinning in the darkness, willing herself not to faint.
“We should have had her do this before,” said Mrs. Black. “The matter of the Bayliss girl has been bothering me.”
Mrs. Dark’s reply was curt. “I wasn’t sure she was up to it. You remember what happened with the Adams woman.”
Tessa knew immediately what they were talking about. Weeks ago she had Changed into a woman who had died of a gunshot wound to the heart; blood had poured down her dress and she had Changed back immediately, screaming in hysterical terror until the Sisters had made her see that she herself was unharmed.
“She’s advanced wonderfully since then, don’t you think, Sister?” Mrs. Black said. “Given what we had to work with in the beginning—she didn’t even know what she was.”
“Indeed, she was absolutely unformed clay,” Mrs. Dark agreed. “We have truly worked a miracle here. I can’t see how the Magister could fail to be pleased.”
Mrs. Black gave a little gasp. “Does that mean—Do you think it’s time?”
“Oh, absolutely, my dear sister. She’s as ready as she’ll ever be. It’s time for our Theresa to meet her master.” There was a gloating note in Mrs. Dark’s voice, a sound so unpleasant that it cut through Tessa’s blinding dizziness. What were they talking about? Who was the Magister? She watched through lowered eyelashes as Mrs. Dark jerked the silk bellpull that would summon Miranda to come and take Tessa back to her room. It appeared that the lesson was over for today.
“Perhaps tomorrow,” Mrs. Black said, “or even tonight. If we told the Magister she was ready, I cannot imagine he would not hurry here without delay.”
Mrs. Dark, stepping out from behind the desk, chuckled. “I understand that you’re eager to be paid for all our work, dear sister. But Theresa must not be simply ready. She must be … presentable as well as able. Don’t you agree?”
Mrs. Black, following her sister, muttered a response that was cut short as the door opened and Miranda came in. She wore the same dull look as ever. The sight of Tessa crouched and bloody on the floor seemed to occasion no surprise in her. Then again, Tessa thought, she had probably seen far worse in this room.
“Take the girl back up to her room, Miranda.” The eagerness was gone from Mrs. Black’s voice, and she was all brusqueness again. “Get the things—you know, the ones we showed you—and get her dressed and ready.”
“The things … you showed me?” Miranda sounded blank.
Mrs. Dark and Mrs. Black exchanged a disgusted look, and approached Miranda, blocking Tessa’s view of the girl. Tessa heard them whispering to her, and caught a few words—“dresses” and “wardrobe room” and “do what you can to make her look pretty,” and then finally, Tessa heard the rather cruel, “I’m not sure Miranda is clever enough to obey vague instructions of that sort, sister.”
Make her look pretty. But what did they care whether she looked pretty or not, when they could force her to look any way they wanted? What did it matter what her true appearance was? And why would the Magister care? Though, it was very clear from the Sisters’ behavior that they believed he would.
Mrs. Black swept from the room, her sister following behind her, as she always did. At the door Mrs. Dark paused, and looked back at Tessa. “Do remember, Theresa,” she said, “that this day—this very night—is what all of our preparation has been for.” She took hold of her skirts in both bony hands. “Do not fail us.”
She let the door bang shut behind her. Tessa flinched at the noise, but Miranda, as always, seemed utterly unaffected. In all the time that she had passed in the Dark House, Tessa had never been able to startle the other girl, or surprise an unguarded expression out of her.
“Come,” Miranda said. “We must go upstairs now.”
Tessa rose to her feet, slowly. Her mind was whirling. Her life in the Dark House had been horrible, but she had—she realized now—grown almost used to it. She had known what to expect each day. She had known the Dark Sisters were preparing her for something, but she had not known what that something was. She had believed—naively, perhaps—that they wouldn’t kill her. Why waste all this training on her if she was only going to die?
But something in Mrs. Dark’s gloating tone gave her pause. Something had changed. They had achieved what they wanted with her. They were going to be “paid.” But who was going to do the paying?
“Come,” Miranda said again. “We must get you ready for the Magister.”
“Miranda,” Tessa said. She spoke softly, the way she might have spoken to a nervous cat. Miranda had never answered a question of Tessa’s before, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t worth trying. “Who is the Magister?”
There was a long silence. Miranda stared straight ahead, her doughy face impassive. Then, to Tessa’s surprise, she spoke. “The Magister is a very great man,” she said. “It will be an honor for you when you are married to him.”
“Married?” Tessa echoed. The shock was so intense that she could suddenly see the whole room more clearly—Miranda, the blood-splattered rug on the floor, the heavy brass globe on the desk, still tilted in the position Mrs. Black had left it in. “Me? But—who is he?”
“He is a very great man,” Miranda said again. “It will be an honor.” She moved toward Tessa. “You must come with me now.”
“No.” Tessa backed away from the other girl, retreating until the small of her back struck painfully against the desk. She looked around desperately. She could run, but she’d never get past Miranda to the door; there were no windows, no doors to other rooms. If she hid behind the desk, Miranda would simply drag her out and haul her to her room. “Miranda, please.”
“You must come with me now,” Miranda repeated; she had almost reached Tessa. Tessa could see herself reflected in the black pupils of the other girl’s eyes, could smell the faint, bitter, almost charred smell that clung to Miranda’s clothes and skin. “You must —”
With a strength she didn’t know she possessed, Tessa seized the base of the brass globe on the desk, lifted it, and swung it with all her might at Miranda’s head.
It connected with a sickening sound. Miranda reeled back—and then straightened. Tessa shrieked and dropped the globe, staring—the whole left side of Miranda’s face was crushed in, like a paper mask that had been smashed flat on one side. Her cheekbone was flattened, her lip mashed against her teeth. But there was no blood, no blood at all.
“You must come with me now,” Miranda said, in the same flat tone she always used.
“You must come—you m-must—you—you—you—yyyyyyyyyyyyy—” Miranda’s voice shuddered and broke, degenerating into a stream of gibberish. She moved toward Tessa, then jerked to the side, twitching and stumbling. Tessa turned from the desk and began to back away as the injured girl spun, faster and faster. She reeled across the room like a staggering drunk, still shrieking, and crashed into the far wall—which seemed to stun her. She collapsed to the ground and lay still.
Tessa raced to the door and out into the corridor beyond, pausing only once, just outside the room, to look back. It seemed, in that brief moment, as if a thread of black smoke were rising from Miranda’s prone body, but there was no time to stare. Tessa darted down the hall, leaving the door hanging open behind her.
She dashed for the stairs and hurtled up them, nearly tripping over her skirts and banging her knee painfully on one of the steps. She cried out and scrambled on, up to the first landing, where she dashed into the corridor. It stretched out ahead of her, long and curving, disappearing into shadows. As she raced down it, she saw that it was lined with doors. She paused and tried one, but it was locked, and so was the next one, and the next after that.
Another set of stairs led down at the end of the hallway. Tessa raced down them and found herself in an entryway. It looked as if it had once been grand—the floor was cracked and stained marble, and high windows on either side were shielded with curtains. A little bit of light spilled through the lace, illuminating an enormous front door. Tessa’s heart leaped. She dived for the knob, seized it, and flung the door open.
There was a narrow cobblestoned street beyond, with rows of terraced houses lining either side. The smell of the city hit Tessa like a blow—it had been so long since she’d breathed outside air. It was close to dark, the sky the dimming blue of twilight, obscured by smudges of fog. In the distance she could hear voices, the cries of children playing, the clop of horses’ hooves. But here the street was nearly deserted, save for a man leaning against a nearby gas lamp, reading a newspaper by its light.
Tessa dashed down the steps and toward the stranger, catching him by the sleeve. “Please, sir—if you could help me—”
He turned, and looked down at her.
Tessa stifled a scream. His face was as white and waxy as it had been the first time she’d seen him, at the dock in Southampton; his bulging eyes still reminded her of Miranda’s, and his teeth gleamed like metal when he grinned.
It was the Dark Sisters’ coachman.
Tessa turned to run, but it was already too late.
© 2010 Cassandra Claire, LLC
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group Guide to
by Cassandra Clare
About This Book
The year is 1878. When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks, and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the secretive, demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she finds herself torn between. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork demons, the Club is out to annihilate the Shadowhunters and rule the British Empire, and Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world.
· What is the Pandemonium Club? The Shadowhunters think the Club has more power than it actually does. Why do they have that impression? What has been done to manipulate the Club’s image?
· Tessa gradually uncovers information about herself and her powers, but she still knows very little about why she was “created.” Why is it important to her and to the Shadowhunters to find out? How does Tessa’s view of herself change over the course of the story?
· Chapter 3 begins with a Robert Browning quote, “Love, hope, fear, faith—these make humanity; These are its sign and note and character.” Do you agree? What other characteristics do you think are the hallmarks of humanity?
· Tessa, Jessamine, and Charlotte all have very different ideas about the appropriate roles for women. How much of each woman’s attitude do you think comes from the beliefs of the day, and how much from her own experiences?
· Why are books so important to Tessa? What do they add to her life? Do the Shadowhunters have things in their life that serve this same purpose?
· A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is mentioned several times throughout the story, most noticeably when Will and Tessa are about to enter de Quincey’s party. Why do you think the author chose this particular book? What themes are common to both?
· How does Jem deal with his addiction and its effect on his health and his life? Has it changed his personality? Why does he ask the others to stop searching for a cure; why do they agree? Is his reaction to addiction normal?
· Will’s philosophy can be summed up by a quote by Horace, “Pulvis et umbra sumus,” which means “We are dust and shadows.” Why do you think this resonates with him so deeply? Do his actions bear witness to this belief?
· What caused de Quincey to betray the Nephilim? Were the Nephilim surprised by this betrayal? Should they have been?
· Clockwork Angel is set in the middle of the Industrial Revolution. Why are the clockwork people so frightening to Tessa and the Shadowhunters? How does the Magister’s clockwork army affect the power balance in his fight against the Shadowhunters?
· What does Tessa want from her relationship with Will? Why does Will force distance between them?
· Books are very important in Tessa’s life, and she uses literature to help define other people and determine if she can trust them. How do the books you own and love define your character? Create a book collection based on a specific theme or philosophy that is important to you. Annotate the collection, explaining how the books work together to create a complete picture of who you are.
· There is a lot of tension between Downworlders and Shadowhunters in Clockwork Angel. Have students role-play a negotiation to help bring peace between the two groups.
· Cassandra Clare references many classic works of literature in Clockwork Angel. Choose one of these works to read. Write a short essay about the themes in the work, and why you think they resonated with Clare enough for her to include them.
· Will finds his personal credo in a quote by Horace. What quote or saying best sums up your philosophy of life? Assemble a collection of quotes from famous works—both classic and contemporary—to convey to others what this philosophy is.
· Compare an 1878 map of London with a modern map. Locate some of the streets and landmarks that Cassandra Clare describes. How has the layout of the city changed? Which streets and landmarks are still standing? Compare old images of buildings and streets with modern photographs or Google maps.
· Create a clock or other clockwork machine, either from a kit or from plans that you draw up.
· Will and Tessa are fond of quoting poetry. Write a poem of your own that describes the place where you live, the way you are feeling, or something that you have done.
· Clockwork Angel serves as a prequel to Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, and as such, offers some backstory for them. Create a Shadowhunter family tree by charting out which characters in this book might be related to characters in the Mortal Instruments. What traits do they share? What trends can you see developing?
This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Clockwork Angel instantly rejuvenated my love for YA urban fantasy. The dark, edgy quality of the writing and plot was breathtaking. Cassandra has a way of creating a world that starts to creep into your self conscious and devours your thoughts. At first, I was a bit skeptical, I didn't think this prequel would live up to the actual Mortal Instruments series. But, I was ecstatic to find out that I was beyond wrong. The characters and overall story was creative and compelling. The Victorian era was the perfect scenario with a refreshing outlook of people's mannerisms in the past. Tessa, one of my favorite characters, was a very unique individual who had the power to shift into another person. Her ability was wanted by powerful figures who managed to shake up her existence. The moment Tessa entered the institute, I was taken back to the Mortal Instruments. I enjoyed seeing this place in a different light with assorted shadowhunters. Now, this wouldn't be a Cassandra Clare book without some drool worthy boys. The badass and cocky Shadowhunter was Will. His appearance of blue eyes and dark hair made me swoon at his every word. However, he did have moments where I would have loved to punch him. Of course we also need a nice, sensitive, good-looking boy to balance Will, and luckily I found that in Jem. He was such a sweetheart and knew just the right things to say to Will and Tessa. I felt like his name should of been 'Gem' because in my opinion, his pure heart was a rare treasure. Also, I want to randomly point out that I love how Cassandra introduces Asian characters. I found that in Simon in the Mortal Instruments and now with Jem being half Asian. She definitely knows how to fulfill my Asian fetish in men. :) Okay then, I don't want to give too much away, because this was a book I want everyone to experience, especially Cassandra Clare fans! It had everything from amazing fighting scenes to dramatic twists and turns. The ending left me utterly speechless and I am officially hooked and cannot wait to continue on with this masterpiece of a series!
I loved reading this wonderful book! It is as good as the Mortal Instrument Series. It has a story that keeps you entertained for hours.
I've heard a lot of customers talking about Clare's Mortal Instruments series, and one lady told me this is a prequel (series again) of sorts to the Mortal Instruments. I decided to read this first since I just got caught up with Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series and the paranormal/victorian steam punkish style seemed to be a nice bridge to Clare's newest book. The main characters are teens, of course, but without the melodrama that so often kills the mood of a novel. I liked how the romance took a back seat to the actual action and plot, yet nothing felt "thrown in" last second. A wonderful delight to read and well worth the buy.
I never thought that Cassandra Clare would ever top the Mortal Instruments trilogy. I could not put Clockwork Angel down and I was enthralled by every word. One of the best absolute reads of my life. This book pushes Cassandra Clare to the top of my favorite author's list.
A girl has discovered a secret world of demons, angels' spawn, and darkness. It is revealed that she has a strange power no one has ever seen before. Thrown headfirst in to a world of violence and chaos, she is taken in by the Shadowhunters, protectors who stand between humans and their destruction at the claws of the demons. While learning who she is, she finds herself torn between two boys: one is brooding, obviously attracted to her, and off-limits. The other is sensitive, supportive and her confident. The book is a whirlwind of violence, romance, danger, drama, (predictable) plot twists, divas and a race of guardians with superiority complexes. Sound familiar? Cassandra Clare followed a blueprint almost identical to her first series, the Mortal Instruments, when she wrote this book. Don't get me wrong. It's a great read for lazy Sunday afternoons, before bed or on the beach. Just don't get your hopes up for anything new and you won't be disappointed. You might even come away eager for the sequel. All in all not bad, but not terribly good. Hopefully we'll see something new and different in Clare's next piece.
ALL RIGHT PEOPLE!!! Listen to the two points I have to give to you. One, the reason so much of the Infernal Devices has that of the MIS series is because Clare intended those who read one series didn't have to read the other. And plus, if you think about it, the series really is different. More on the world of Downworlders. The history of the Shadowhunters. And second, of course the chara are similar. Will is Jace's anscestor, and like Magnus said in book 4 (CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS), Will is more like Jace even though he looks like Alec. And Clary... Well, let's just say that if Clary saw Tessa in book three, GRAY is similar to FRAY, and a little bird told me Tess might show up in the MIS again.... well, something is going on about those two that seems awfully strange.
The problem with creating an entirely new story in an already established world is that there are expectations from everyone who has read the previous stories. As someone who read and loved the Mortal Instruments series, I had high hopes for the opener in the Infernal Devices series. Unfortunately, Clockwork Angel came up short. Overall, the plot and the characters seemed too much like those from the TMI world. Will is startlingly similar to Jace, just as Tessa has many of Clary's traits; Jessamine even reminded me of Isabelle and Jem has a more introverted personality like Alec. It just felt all too familiar. Almost like a retelling with different names and locations. Instead of a villain like Valentine raising a demon army, the Magister is planning on employing an army of clockwork people infused with demonic energies. Both people are power hungry and out for themselves. It took me a while, but I was able to move past the similarities and enjoy the story for its Victorian touch and slightly steampunk nature. Aside from the TMI similarities, the main problem I had with this book is that it was incredibly slow. The build up took far too long. I couldn't even bring myself to truly care for the characters or the story until I broke the 300 page mark. After that, it was much more fast-paced and the plot really started moving along. Even with such a slow start, I did enjoy Clockwork Angel. Any fan of the Shadowhunter world will appreciate seeing the familiar characters like Magnus Bane (and Church!) and hearing about the Lightwoods that Isabelle and Alec descended from. Will's backstory is alluded to over and over and that really piqued my interest. Tessa's obviously unique nature presents many possibilities in the future and Jem's illness sure had me curious. While this wasn't quite what I had expected, I'll be continuing the Infernal Devices series to see just where Clare plans on taking us. Opening line (from prologue): The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts. ~ pg. 1 Favorite line: "If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside." ~ pg. 283
blog: http://bit.ly/8XDfcZ Whoa, this book is so much darker than I recall The Mortal Instruments series ever being. Seriously, the villains' transgressions involve the flaying of skin and craziness I couldn't help but compare to Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. I thought zombies were creepy but wait till you get a load of the creatures in Clockwork Angel. They are creeeepy! lol The story is set in Victorian London and follows Shadowhunters Will and Jem in their efforts to assist Miss Tessa Gray in finding her brother, while also finding out if the numerous humans, or mundanes, going missing are due to Downworlders violating the Accords. Tessa arrived in London from New York at her brother Nathaniel's behest but almost instantly she is kidnapped and held hostage by Dark Sisters. She is found by Shadowhunters tracking evidence of the mundane murders, but her trauma has also revealed a secret to her, and the Shadowhunters are determined to find out all they can in order to try and keep peace in the city. So many mysteries remain unanswered for Tessa and she isn't about to trust just anyone. Especially when she realizes no one knows where her brother is or if he is even still alive. This story is a bit complicated, with tons of moving parts and characters, just like pieces of a clock. It might be a little difficult to hang on to at first but if you stick with the moving parts and make it to last chapters in order to see it all begin to come together, readers will definitely appreciate the story and the set-up that this book 1 provides for the rest of the trilogy. This book is a solid stand-alone, not at all spoiling any of the surprises in The Mortal Instruments books, and instead truly complimenting them with a fuller picture of the Shadowhunter world and history. So don't be concerned to read Clockwork Angel if you haven't read the other series; it's perfectly safe. Last week, Cassandra Clare had a live chat via Simon & Schuster and Ustream.tv and she made an exciting announcement. TMI is going to have THREE additional books!! Books 4, 5, and 6 are tentatively titled City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, and City of Heavenly Fire. A friend of mine attended her signing at Barnes and Noble that same day after the chat and said that the info was pretty much the exact same as what I saw on the chat but that she did say there would be character deaths in these books. It's PURE speculation but for whatever reason we both feel it will be Simon, lol! Go figure. You can watch the chat below so check it out! http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/871694
I really enjoyed the story but found that Miss Clair was repetitive in the personalty's of some of her characters. Such as Will who is almost exactly like Jace from the earlier mortal instruments series. And other repetitive personalty's through out the book. That is why I give this book only 3 stars had I read this book before reading the mortal instruments I would have enjoyed it much more.
I got this book because of my love for The Mortal Instruments series. Going into it I understood that we would still be dealing with Downworlders and Shadowhunters, but instead of the story being set in present time NY, this time we would be in 1878 London. Aside from the century and the location, the basic plot is a lot like TMI series. But unlike TMI series, this book seems a lot slower paced. There were quite a few times when I was just going to give up, and stop reading, but geez...let me tell you, I'm glad I didn't. Not just for the fact that I realized that Magnus Bane is in this book (and who doesn't love Magnus?), but also because it was around the half way point in the book when things started to pick up. I will definitely continue on reading this series.
I can't wait for this book to come out! The Mortal Instruments was an excellent series (and can't wait for The City of Fallen Angels coming out next year!) and I'm looking forward to reading about this new set of characters. If you haven't read any of Cassandra Clare's books, READ THEM NOW!!!!!
I thoroughly enjoy the way that Clare writes. It’s inviting yet her vivid and larger than life descriptions make everything pop. Clare combines the old with the new and the weird to create a unique & seamless whole for this world that she drops her readers into. She gradually builds up this world, allowing readers to dip their toes in, rather than having to plunge in head first and sink or swim. I really enjoyed this approach. This is an intensely stimulating and very interesting story. I loved it to bits. Clare doesn`t simply present her characters to you. She invites you into her world and introduces you to new friends bit by bit. I enjoyed getting to know the ins and outs of what it means to be a shadow hunter. The in-depth look at where they came from and what they do was Tessa learns about them made me feel like part of this world. Each individual`s take on what it means to be a shadow hunter also gives you a feeling of who they really are inside. This story was chilly and frightening at times yet very exciting throughout. I couldn’t put it down. Although targeted to an audience in their late teens anyone and everyone is bound to enjoy this.
I've honestly had this on my Nook for months. I have read the first two of the moral instrument series and really enjoyed them. This one is very difficult for me to get into and a little redundant.
This is a pre-series to the mortal instruments. If you loved the Mortal Instruments, then you will love this series. Its a non-stop read and has all the characteristics of a great novel. Mystery, monsters, romance, and suspense. One of my absolute favorites!
A mystifying, haunting, action-filled read, CLOCKWORK ANGEL kept me guessing what would happen to Tessa next. Cassandra Clare's character development and persona skills in this book are awesome and in-depth, like in all of her books. The details and descriptions were so dead-on, I feel like I could go to London and, just from reading this, know exactly what to expect. I actually like Tessa's character a little more than Clary's, from The Mortal Instruments (TMI), the series that [chronologically] comes after this series, The Infernal Devices. [Sorry, Clary!] Tessa was bolder, and stood up for herself more often, IMO. I felt like Clary only stood up for herself when her friends and she were in some sort of trouble. I don't have a problem with Will, but his condescending way of speaking to people, even when their day is going badly, can sometimes get on my nerves.* Jem was a good character, well thought out, too. I really enjoyed how Magnus from TMI was brought into CLOCKWORK ANGEL. I did in a way enjoy the introduction of the Shadow World of City of Bones, the first book of TMI, better than the way the MC, Tessa, finds out about it here. She simply reads a book called The Shadowhunter's Codex. So, if they have that, why didn't Hodge [from TMI] just give Clary a copy of The Codex and tell her to read it, instead of orally explaining the whole Shadow World deal? . . . The events that go on throughout this book are thrilling. Hunts, killings, and a war to see who will get to keep Tessa. Everyone is always trying to come up with a slyer trick, which prevents you from putting the book down! As for the team question, I'm Team Jem - but I will forever be Team Simon just as much from TMI! Go Simon! Overall, CLOCKWORK ANGEL was an exciting, action-y book: 4 1/2 stars. -JP :) This review was originally posted on my book review blog, here: yaurban.blogspot.com/2010/09/clockwork-angel.html
I expected to love it just as much as I loved her other books, the Mortal Instruments trilogy, and I was right! I fell in love with the characters and at some points I definitely thought I could predict what would happen next but was proven wrong. I love the twists and I could not put the book down. I got somewhat upset when people tried to interrupt me when I was reading, but that just emphasizes how awesome the book is. The end left me hungry for more. I can't wait for the next book!
This will forever be my favorite book series
All of Cassandra Clare's books have invoked stong emotions from me. It's a beautiful thing when an author can draw deep emotions from their audience. I highly recommed this book.
This is one of my favorite books from the series. It has drama and action.
My daughter loves this series by Cassandra Clare & after having met her at Book Con in NY Earlier this year, has run through this series with a passion!
Yeah yeah i know... its a ya novel.. but srsly the writing is great and beautiful and ahhh *feels* I had read the mortal instruments and while that series was good, i had no idea clare could write like this. Highly recommend this beautiful and romantic story.
This book is such great book. I wish i could have read this series before i read the mortal instruments series. Because then some things that i read in the mortal instruments i ididnt understand that well and this book helped me better understand. Ellenajust_rated
One of my all time favorites
My one complaint is that two of the characters seem to simply be a rehash of Clary and Jace, but like the Mortal Instrument series, the side characters were amazing and entertaining.
I literaly could not stop reading all the books in the series. If u liked infernal devices then you should also love the