The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel

Clockwork AngelTessa Grey has a special power – by simply holding an object belonging to another person, she can transform into that person. And she does not just look like them, but can even tell their thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, Tessa didn’t know she had this talent until she was kidnapped upon arriving in England and tortured until the power manifested itself. Saved by a group of people from the London Institute, Tessa struggles to understand what is happening. An orphan, she had been living in America with her aunt while her brother Nate went to England to earn some money. When her aunt died, she traveled to England to rejoin her brother only to be thrust into the middle of a strange world where vampires are real and she has magical powers.

At first, Tessa doesn’t trust her saviors either. She just wants to find her brother, who seems to have vanished. But it quickly becomes clear that she has been drawn into this shadow world of demons and vampires and magical powers. Tessa must figure out who she can trust, who can help her be reunited with her wayward brother, and what role she is expected to play in the complicated machinations of both sides.

Fans of the Infernal Devices series will be familiar with the story and excited to see the story come to life in this manga version. The story is clear, even if you haven’t read the books — maybe even clearer, as some plot points needed to be compressed to fit the manga format. Clare has fit in everything: a Victorian setting, magic, a struggle between good and evil, a love triangle, and a girl coming into her powers.

I am a little unsure about this as a manga adaptation. Maybe it is that, while I don’t dislike manga, I also don’t love it. Manga can feel very homogeneous,  despite drastically different plots from book to book, because the drawings are all so similar. The art here is manga-syle art. I don’t love manga adaptations (as opposed to graphic novel adaptations, which I tend to love), because the artwork is too stylized and similar. The writer’s descriptions of the characters have little relation to what is drawn besides height and hair color. The characters never really have distinction or flavor, no matter how good the plot might be (and the plot is great).

The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel
by Cassandra Clare
Art by Hyekyung Baek
ISBN: 9780316200981
Yen Press, 2010

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