Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel

Title: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Series: The Infernal Devices, #1

Publisher: Walker

Release Date: September 6th 2010


Five Stars

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

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“I know there are monsters on this earth,” said Tessa. “You cannot tell me otherwise. I have seen them.”

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.

Charlotte leaned forward across the table. “The Dark Sisters never mentioned what use they intended to make of your abilities, did they?”
“You know about the Magister.” Tessa said. “They said they were preparing me for him.”

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.

…The Characters

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”

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.

“It’s all right to love someone who doesn’t love you back, as long as they’re worth you loving them. As long as they deserve it.”

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.

“If you have a soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. Whatever the colour, the shape, the design of the shade that conceals it, the flame inside the lamp remains the same. You are that flame.”

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.

…The Setting

“Milton thought Hell was a city, you know. I think maybe he had it half-right. Perhaps London is just Hell’s entrance, and we are the damned souls refusing to pass through, fearing that what we will find on the other side will be worse than the horror we already know.”

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.

35 thoughts on “Clockwork Angel

  1. Glad to see how much you loved this one, Beth. Sounds like anyone who’s a fan of the author’s books will end up enjoying the rest just as much! I honestly thought all her books were just sequels to one another, set in the same universe or something. This does clarify things up more! Great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think if people have loved one of Clare’s books they’re guaranteed to love them all, at least that’s what I’ve found now I’m getting around to more of her series. Yeah they’re all set in the same universe, and all connected but in different ways. This series was a prequel to the one I read first. Probably means I should have read this series first! 🙂
      Thanks Lashaan! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For me, it’s TMI. I felt it was better than TID, but that’s just my opinion but right row The Dark Artifices is pretty awesome too!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh see so far I’ve enjoyed TID more than TMI, but then again I have only read the first three books of TMI so that could change.
        I’ve heard incredible things about The Dark Artifices though, can’t wait to get around to that series! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad that you ended up loving this book! 😀 As you may know, The Infernal Devices is one of my all time favourite trilogies.
    The Victorian period is one of my favourites to read about as well and I feel as if the setting in these books is very well done. I agree, it does feel well researched. (Though I’m not really an expert on the Victorian period either.)
    I love all the characters in these books, especially Tessa, Will and Jem! There is just something about all of them that makes me love them. I find them to be a lot more interesting than the ones in The Mortal Instruments. Tessa’s development in this book was great, it was also amazing to follow her as she discovered more about the Shadowhunter world. 🙂
    Great review Beth! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it seems like this series is plenty of people’s favourites, and to be honest it’s likely to end up one of my favourites as well. 😀
      I love the Victorian period too. Then again I love any book set in the past and I love time travel stories as well. I thought Clare wrote it really well in Clockwork Angel (and the rest of the series I’ve read to date)
      Yes they’re incredible characters, and I feel like the characters in this book, especially the secondary characters, were better developed than the characters in The Mortal Instrument books. I can’t wait to finish the rest of the third book. It’s going to be incredible I can tell.
      Thanks so much Anna. 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your review! Complete but without spoilers. It made me recall that series that I loved so much. Well honestly I’ve loved every series written by Cassie Clare so far. Maybe the Dark Artifices is my fav though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. 😀 Yeah I do try and avoid spoilers in my reviews, gets harder when I review books in the middle of series though. 🙂
      I’ve heard some amazing things about the Dark Artifices books, makes me really excited to finally reach them once I’m update with the rest of Clare’s releases. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well it’s so true when you’re at the second book and reviewing it… so I put a warning that people don’t read the review if they havn’t already read the first book. And I can’t wait to read your review of Lady Midnight and co!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do the same. I also assume most people wouldn’t read a review for a second book without having read the first, because I don’t.
        It’ll likely be a while before I get to Lady Midnight. Based on what people have said about how the books released so far have ended I’m not starting until the last book has been released! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  4. i read this trilogy this year and it became one of my all time favorites after finishing i became a fan of cassandra’s you are right the mortal instrument isn’t as enjoyable as this one and i’m glad that didn’t keep you from reading this trilogy. the rest of the trilogy is amazing you’ll grow fond of the characters and the love triangle won’t bother but it’ll break your heart instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s becoming one of my all-time favourites as well. I’ve finished the second book and am part way through the third and even when the story is slow I still love it and the characters more than The Mortal Instruments.
      Oh I was always going to catch up on Clare’s Shadowhunter books, I’d heard great things about The Infernal Devices and Lady Midnight so I knew I needed to get to them at least. Can’t wait to finish the third book now, need to know how it all ends. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so glad to hear you loved Clockwork Angel! I really hope you enjoy the rest of the trilogy! A lot of people like this trilogy than the actual Mortal Instruments series, and I have to agree there’s just something so well done about this trilogy! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was really good, definitely better than City of Bones in my opinion so my hopes for the last book in this trilogy are higher than my hopes for City of Glass were. I can definitely see why people love The Infernal Devices more than The Mortal Instruments, I think it’s going to be the same for me. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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