Books that scare the $#%! out of you!: Clockwork Angel

Posted October 2, 2010 by 3 Comments

It’s October and that means only one thing: Halloween! (Oh yeah, and Cassie Clare’s getting married today!)

All this month, we’ll be featuring books that we think are the scariest we’ve read. Some are creepy, some are gross, some are haunting. And all of them would make great October reads to get you in the mood for some trick-or-treating. Please know that not all the books we will be featuring are YA, and some have very mature content.

Now … on to the books!

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By now, almost everyone has read (or re-read!) Cassie Clare’s latest novel, Clockwork Angel. As of this writing, it’s still at the top of the best sellers list. While it mostly falls into the genres of steampunk (gaslight), urban fantasy and paranormal romance, it contains just the slightest touch of horror.

I would argue that — in this case — less is more.

I don’t really get scared by blood and guts and gore. I just think it’s gross and repulsive. And sometimes, just funny. But creepy? That’s something altogether different. Creepy makes your adrenaline start pumping; it makes your palms sweat; it starts the internal butterflies in motion. It even works its way into your dreams.

There are two parts of Clockwork Angel that absolutely made my skin crawl.

[Spoilers ahead.]

— Henry dissects Miranda and holds her heart in his hands —

I know where my irrational fear of all things heart-related comes from. It comes from two movies I saw when I was just too young to see them: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (you know which scene I’m talking about!) and one I barely remember called Dreamscape. Yeah, it has a similar scene to the one in Temple of Doom. I can’t even watch American Heart Association commercials without getting the heebie-jeebies!

I’m not sure if the Miranda’s mechanical heart makes it less creepy, or MORE creepy. ::Shudder:: And I seriously have to stop writing about this now … !

— “Whir-click” of the clockwork army chasing Tessa and Jem. —

It all builds to this moment — when the bottom drops out. Tessa and Jem are attacked on the bridge by the coachman and his cohort, but when they fight back, they don’t stab and claw at flesh and blood. Instead, their weapons strike cold, hard metal covered in stolen flesh. They keep coming, and coming, and coming, whir-click, whir-click, like an army of clockwork zombies programmed to destroy their target. When injured, they don’t scream and fall to the ground; they make mechanical clicking noises and just keep moving forward, despite their mangled limbs and leaking oil.

It’s this non-humanity stuffed inside a human-like shell (acquired by grotesque means) that just creeps the living hell out of me.

And for these reasons, I think Clockwork Angel is a book that will scare the $#%! out of  you.

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3 responses to “Books that scare the $#%! out of you!: Clockwork Angel

  1. sgundell

    I hate robots. They scare the crap out of me — agreed totally.

    And also … I know EXACTLY how you feel about that scene in “Temple of Doom.” For a long time I couldn’t watch that Indy movie because of that scene. (I’ve gotten over it now.)

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