A few weeks ago I listened to Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. The novel is the first in a new series, called The Infernal Devices, and is apparently considered a prequel to Clare's Mortal Instruments series (which I have not read). Although I own several Steampunk books, this is the first one I've read. (Or is Tan's work considered Steampunk?)
The Book. Tessa Gray is alone in New York after her aunt dies and is grateful when her brother arranges to bring her to London so they can be together. From the moment Tessa steps off the boat, nothing goes according to plan.
The two old ladies who have come to fetch Tessa show her a Victorian London that most of us mundanes (humans) have never seen. She learns that witches, vampires, shadowhunters, and other beings of the Downworld are real and that she herself has hidden talents. Caught in the middle of a struggle for control of both the mundanes and the Downworld, Tessa must decide whom to trust and if and how to use her own powers.
The Tea. It has finally gotten cool enough to drink hot tea in the afternoons. This week, I'm drinking Peet's Masala Chai. This particular blend includes "pungent Assam and South India broken leaf teas . . . with cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, cloves, and fresh-ground tellicherry peppercorns." Peet's suggest that you drink it with milk and sugar, but I have opted for just a little honey instead. The tea is not my favorite chai blend, but I would likely buy it again.
The Assessment. The novel takes place in Victorian England, and there was certainly plenty of tea being drunk. I'm not so sure the mundanes would be drinking chai, but Tessa and other beings of the Downworld would probably find the Eastern flavors and aromas of this tea to be just perfect.
Mini Review. Clare did an excellent job developing an alternative world, and her take on witches, demons, vampires, and other creatures is fresh. The conflicts Tessa faces--from her relationship with her brother to discovering her true identity to her first feelings of love--are complex and keep the reader engaged. This is a new to me genre, so I'm not sure if the novel is typical of Steampunk, but I am definitely looking forward to more. The audio edition of Clockwork Angel is read by Jennifer Ehle, who is an experienced narrator. Although I enjoyed the audiobook, I felt that Ehle could have made a stronger emotional bridge between listener and characters. Regardless, I'm looking forward to listening to the next book in the series.
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Thursday Tea was the brainchild of Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.
Source: Review (see review policy). Audio review published by AudioFile magazine.
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