Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: August 31st, 2010 (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

Synopsis: The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…


“Whatever you are physically…male or female,
strong or weak, ill or healthy – all those things
matter less than what your heart contains.
If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior.
All those other things, they are the glass that
contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.”

Tessa Gray arrives in London, expecting to be met by her brother Nathaniel at the docks, only to find herself kidnapped by the sinister Dark Sisters and put through weeks of cruel training to awaken a power she never knew she possessed to serve a mysterious figure known only as the Magister. Shortly after her one and only escape attempt is foiled by the servants who turn out to be mechanical creatures, Tessa is rescued by a group known as the Shadowhunters or Nephilim, demon-slayers and taken to the London Institute where she will be safe while they investigate and attempt to find Nate. As the investigation progresses, Tessa finds herself settling into life at the Institute, fascinated by this new way of life. The Magister has not yet given up on Tessa though and his army of deadly clockwork creatures are part of a far deadlier plot.

This review is long, long overdue since I re-read this back in April of last year, and hopefully I’ll have the next two up soon as well. As always, no spoilers. Clockwork Angel was the book that really made me a fan of the world of Shadowhunters, and had it not been for this book, I likely would have never continued reading The Mortal Instruments either, considering City of Bones took me six attempts over three years to finish. It was the old world feel of Victorian London that drew me in first, and the world building just gets better from there on, once you throw in the supernatural forces that live in the city’s shadows.

We are introduced to the world of the Nephilim through Tessa’s eyes, the perspective of a newcomer and though their way of life is nothing like what a lady’s should be, Tessa finds herself fascinated by it as she grows closer to the Shadowhunters at the Institute. While initially she seemed rather boring and proper, it was a delight to see her transformation just in this one book alone, into a smart and brave character (and one so much better than Clary Fray).

But the real stars of this book in my opinion are Will and Jem. Will is the bad boy with a heart of gold type, but he is so much more complex than just that! It’s easy to make out that Will is something of a tortured soul with some pretty deep secrets that he hides behind the arrogance, wit and charm, and basically a character that is all kinds of infuriating, but underneath it all, a good and loyal friend. Jem, on the other hand, is impossible to describe as anything but a thorough gentleman and a perfect friend. Jem as a character that grew on me much slower compared to Will, but once he starts opening up, it’s clear just how caring and warm of a personality he is despite his tragic backstory. Will and Jem are such polar opposites, but they balance each other out so well, making a perfect team, and they are my favourite parabatai pair in the Shadowhunters verse. Their interactions are often hilarious and their inseparable friendship is one of the most beautiful things about this book.

By the end of this book, there is clearly a love triangle brewing and on my first read, I wasn’t sure what to think, but this was probably the first series where I didn’t hate the trope – and infact actually ended up enjoying it. On a side note, the audiobooks for this series really are wonderful! The narration is really well done, and it makes the slower parts of the book much more interesting.

Clockwork Angel was well-written, entertaining, and an ever so addicting read! These characters are some of the best I have ever come across, and I will always want to know more about them. Highly, highly recommended!

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series:

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