Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, Illustrated by HyeKyung Baek
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, Hyekyung Baek
Series: The Infernal Devices: Manga, #1
Published on: October 30th, 2012
Genres: Steampunk, Urban Fantasy
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A manga-adaption to the prequel of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling alone to Victorian London who runs afoul of the city's sordid supernatural underworld. Rescued by the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, Tessa quickly finds herself caught up in an intrigue that may very well destroy her new friends - including the two enigmatic young men, Jem and Will, who have taken her under their wing...
Clockwork Angel, in this form, sort of defies explanation. All the flashy hardware is present. See, for instance, the monk type character with mouth sewn shut and eyes big round empty sockets or the shape-changer, who will change shape into other people. That last one definitely isn’t that spooky, or, at least, not as it is executed here.
Tessa, the shape-changer, exhibits the psychological depth of a sea sponge. Thanks to this being a manga, I can blame this characterization entirely on the medium. Why things happen or how things happen are similarly fuzzy recollections. I have no idea what sort of powers the Shadowhunters wield because the fight scenes depicted here are as bland as pig slop.
The flash I mentioned earlier appears rarely, if at all. The illustrative style comes closer to panels from Archie than actually engaging (not bland) drawings. Thank goodness, at least, for the few and far between panels in which characters have faces like emoticons to allow me to fully accept their shallowness.
Let me be clear. It is not that I do not like the manga. If there is anything which I am mad at it is myself because for once I have been trumped in my ability to comprehend a text which is not the original. Clearly the manga belongs not to the first-time reader of this series but to the well-established fan.
As it stands I feel much of the story went on behind closed doors and so my summarization of it may substantially differ from that of the established canon. The plot that I could discern felt adequate and nowhere near predictable. If there were frequent hints, they escaped me and it wasn’t because the animation stunned me into submission. No, the only time I can remember that happening was when Tessa had on a hat cluttered with roses and our angle was over her shoulder, up near the ceiling. They looked so strange, like a bunch of pig tails layered on top of each other.