11 November 2010

Thursday Tea: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

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.

Clockwork Angel at Powell's
Clockwork Angel at Book Depository
For the audio edition, click on the buttons in the sidebar.
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Thursday Tea was the brainchild of Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.

Published by Simon & Schuster / Margaret K. McElderry Books, August 2010
ISBN-13: 9781416975861
YTD: 100
Source: Review (see review policy). Audio review published by AudioFile magazine.
Rating: B
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)
FTC: I buy all teas myself, I am not a tea reviewer.


Sandy Nawrot 11/11/10, 6:57 AM  

I've yet to try Steampunk, and it doesn't sound like my type of thing but I don't want to dismiss something until I've read at least one example. I think I'm going to wait in the wings and look for one that blows people away and try that one!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 11/11/10, 8:26 AM  

That tea sounds so spicy. Not sure if I would like the blend. The peppercorn might be just a little too much. I am like Sandy, still looking for the right steampunk to try out.

Anonymous,  11/11/10, 8:39 AM  

I'm never sure I will like books that allow the existence of vampires and other supernatural beings.

However, I did like Soulless by Gail Carriger and this sounds like it may be similar in a way. In that case, it would be something I like.

I've read just that book in the steampunk genre so I'm very much a newby myself.

Nise' 11/11/10, 10:04 AM  

It has not been cool enough here for hot tea, although, I did have a cup of breakfast tea this am. On the second book of Mortal Instruments. Prequels drive me nuts.

Shelley 11/11/10, 10:36 AM  

If you want Victorian, read the real thing: Trollope, and Lady Glencora.

By the way, that photograph below is gorgeous.

Anonymous,  11/11/10, 11:30 AM  

I've never been inclined to read Steampunk but I think at some point I should give it a try because you just never know.

Margot 11/11/10, 11:53 AM  

Just yesterday I was thinking that you had stopped talking about tea. Glad I was wrong. I enjoy your mini reviews along with hearing about your huge array of teas. I guess I should thank the cooler weather.

Julie P. 11/11/10, 1:10 PM  

I missed your weekly tea reviews! Welcome back!

TexasRed 11/11/10, 1:57 PM  

I read this one earlier this fall and am looking forward to the sequels. Glad to hear it made sense without reading Clare's other series, too.

I'm alternating between ice water and hot tea out here for temperature control :) Today's tea is orange ginger.

Dorte H 11/11/10, 3:05 PM  

Great cover.

I would probably love the setting, but I am not so sure about the vampires etc.

Alice 11/11/10, 7:24 PM  

I love this! Sounds just like my type of books.

Veens 11/12/10, 3:51 AM  

I would definitely like that tea. Masala chai has to be a fav. Masala does mean spices :)

Book sounds right up my alley too. Great choice. I didnot know anything about Steampunk too.

Michelle 11/12/10, 6:06 AM  

I've got the previous three books on audio so I think I'm going to read those first (though you don't have to). I'm interested to see how it all fits in together when I eventually get here.

Top Romantic Comedies 11/12/10, 11:39 PM  

Wonderful review! I have to admit that I am a sucker for novels set in Victorian England. Definitely going to have to check this one out. Also, the tea sounds good. I am a fan of Chai tea.

Alice 11/14/10, 6:34 PM  

I've not read any steampunk stories but I do own one by Cherie Priest, BONESHAKER. I was very interested in the one you have when I saw it at the bookstore. I definitely want to read it. And also the one by Priest.

Fyrefly 11/19/10, 1:01 PM  

I just started listening to this book this week, and while I'm liking it so far, I was surprised that it wasn't more steampunk-y. Does it get more so? Because at the moment the only part that I would classify as steampunk rather than Victorian fantasy is the clockwork angel itself.

And the tea sounds lovely - I do love me some chai, especially at this time of year. Although I think a strong cup of British Breakfast with a heavy splash of milk would fit the novel pretty well, too. :)

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