Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices, #1
Release Date: September 6th 2010
Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by – and torn between – two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
After crossing an ocean, travelling from America to London, Tessa expects to see her brother waiting to greet her. Instead she is met by two sisters – Miss Black and Miss Dark –and soon finds herself their prisoner, forced to hone a power she never knew she had for a mysterious figure known only as the Magister. Until Will, a Shadowhunter from the London Institute, walks into her prison.
I’m not sure if it’s because this was the first time I read Clockwork Angel, but I actually enjoyed this book more than the first half of The Mortal Instruments series I’ve read so far. I was more invested in the story as Tessa struggled through the new city, and the new world, she has found herself in. Despite the fact that City of Bones was written first, I feel Clockwork Angel gives a better background to the Shadowhunters as Tessa learns about the people she has been taken in by.
However despite escaping the Dark sisters the Magister is not willing to let Tessa go, and with Nate still missing Tessa agrees to help the Shadowhunters if they help her find her brother. As Will, Jem, Charlotte and Henry dig deeper into the shadowy Pandemonium club the Magister runs they discover a deadly threat to the Shadowhunters’ existence, a threat that Tessa has found herself in the middle of.
Clockwork Angel was an incredible first book in this series; and if the second two are anything like it I can see why so many people love this trilogy, even more so than The Mortal Instruments series. Already I’m hooked on the story and the questions left unanswered about the characters. Granted parts of this book were slow, but with plenty of background and development to build up I expected that, and even when the plot dragged I was never bored of the story.
Tessa has always believed she was human, so when she discovers she isn’t at the beginning of Clockwork Angel it’s something she struggles with. She doesn’t know what she is, for all the Dark sisters were teaching her they never revealed anything about her heritage, and for all their knowledge the Shadowhunters don’t seem to have any answers either.
I loved Tessa’s development in this book, she is very much a product of her time and the Shadowhunters way of life isn’t one she understands. However the more time she spends with them the more she learns about their culture and who they are, and the more she comes to care for these people despite how standoffish some of them can be. With her parents long dead and her aunt recently passed all Tessa has is her older brother. She’s desperate to find Nate, to save him, because without him Tessa is alone in the world.
Will seems to have a lot in his past that still colours his character. He keeps everyone at arm’s length, preferring the world to see him as a drunk, no good and reckless boy than risk anyone getting close enough to learn the truth. The only exception is Jem. Jem is the conscience and calm to Will’s character, and although he too has a dark past it’s one he’s accepted. His fate isn’t a happy one but it’s one he’s come to terms with.
I’ve managed to avoid pretty much all spoilers for The Infernal Devices series (I’m not 100% sure how but I think not having a Twitter account helps) but one thing I knew going into this series was about the love triangle between Tessa, Will and Jem. I’m not normally a fan of love triangles, and granted it was only barely hinted at in this book, but the development of the relationships in Clockwork Angel was actually really well done. It doesn’t seem like something that’s been put in simply for the sake of tension.
The development of the secondary characters was also well written. From Charlotte’s need to prove herself as head of the London Institute, to Jessamine’s desire to escape the Shadowhunter way of life, to Henry’s single-minded curiosity and inventors mindset, each of them have something driving them, their own secrets and desires motivating their actions.
With Clockwork Angel what Cassandra Clare has essentially done is re-create the world of the Shadowhunters, and instead of modern-day New York we find ourselves in Victorian era London. There are new Shadowhunter families we’re introduced to, new hierarchies and new terminology to get used to. I loved seeing Clare’s interpretation of Victorian era London; it’s always been a favourite historical period of mine so I enjoyed seeing this take on it. The setting for The Infernal Devices feels darker and more gritty than New York in The Mortal Instrument books and although I can’t say I’m an expert on the Victorian period it felt very well researched.
With a new city to explore, new characters to get to know and a new time period to adjust to I was worried about whether this new series could hold my interest, but I ended up loving Clockwork Angel. Tessa, Will and Jem were great characters, and I really enjoyed spotting all the little connections to The Mortal Instruments series in this book.
What did you think of Clockwork Angel? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.