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Friday, 14 October 2011

Attention Grabber #1: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

I often get asked what subject I teach, with many people assuming that because I love books and promote reading for enjoyment that I must be an English teacher. Wrong! My main subject is Design Technology (aka CDT aka woodwork depending on how old you are). A few years ago at the school where I teach, in order to try to get more students achieving a good pass at GCSE in English and Maths, we introduced a scheme called Study Plus (google it for more info), and because I am in a senior position at the school and I am (or like to think I am) quite literate, I was asked to deliver the English aspect of this.

One of the things we have been working on recently is how the students can make their creative writing more interesting (aka No More Dull Writing!) by using more adjectives, and more complicated words. In order to help get this message across I have been using the opening paragraphs of a number of the great kids and YA books that I have read. It is pretty much universally recognised that if you want a young person to read a book you have to grab them in the first few pages, and I thought that this would make a great new feature for The Book Zone. I had genuinely intended to launch this feature with the opening paragraph of William Hussey's Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide, but I picked up a book yesterday that had me changing my mind completely. The book in question is Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, a book that I had assumed would be Twilight-girly, but a fellow blogger has assured me could be enjoyed by boys as well. The opening paragraph had me hooked, and the students also enjoyed it when I read it to them, and so when I have finished reading the latest Rick Riordan book I will probably continue with Clockwork Angel.


So, Attention Grabber #1 is Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare:

The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.

William Herondale jerked back the dagger he was holding, but it was too late. The viscous acid of the demon's blood had already begun to eat away at the shining blade. He swore and tossed the weapon aside; it landed in a filthy puddle and commenced smoldering like a doused match. The demon itself, of course, had vanished - dispatched back to whatever hellish world it had come from, though not without leaving a mess behind.

So many great adjectives in that piece - it really inspired my students.

Attention Grabbers will be a regular weekly feature on The Book Zone from now on - if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

15 comments:

  1. I think Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines has one of the best opening lines:

    “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”

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  2. Yeah, I was just about to say that Mortal Engines has the most kick-ass opening paragraph in the history of the written word...

    You beat me Darren!

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  3. Thanks for this guys... it was actually due to be the second one I featured after Witchfinder. Now it will be the third :-)

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  4. ill have to try clockwork angle it reminds me of a darren shan series which was awsome!!!
    demonata series!!! read them all 10 books. i loved every one and have read them 3 times over :P

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  5. Love this book! I even reread the other 2 book in the series before this one. Cannot wait to read it again. Great page turner!

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