Clockwork Angel Book Review


Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: Book #1 in the Infernal Devices trilogy
Publisher: McElderry Books – an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 6, 2009
Genres: Young Adult – Historical Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 411
Format: Purchased Paperback

“Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare is the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy, which is the prequel trilogy to The Mortal Instruments. In this spinoff we follow Tessa, Will, and Jem, three young people, two of which are Shadowhunters, and the perils that they have to face back in the late 1800’s.

Tessa Gray is an American who goes to England when she receives and letter and ticket via steamer from her brother, Nathaniel. But she arrives, she discovers that she has a strange power that is awakened by two women who claim to know her brother – the Dark Sisters. She is essentially their prisoner for weeks until one day when Will Herondale shows up. He saves her – barely – and Tessa ends up waking up at the London Institute (a Shadowhunter boarding area kind of thing).

Tessa has many questions and is very confused at first, afraid that these new people who say they are going to “help her” will actually exploit her for her power like the Dark Sisters did, but they show that they mean her no harm and that any choice she makes is hers and hers alone.

And then they all soon find that they are in the beginnings of a new kind of war: one with clockwork people, beings from neither heaven nor hell.

Okay, this book guys. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to finally have read this book. I finally am beginning to see what all the fuss is about. MEMORIESSSS~ (I understood some of the terminology and figured out important characters or objects that take place in TMI, so I was wicked excited.)

Let me talk about the plot first: it was fun, unique, and totally in the realm of badass Cassandra Clare-ness. When it first started with the prologue I instantly fell in love with Will Herondale and his personality. He was so flippant and goofy and kind of reminded me of Jace in a way, but wayyyy more… bold with it. And Jem, his calm counterpart was perfect in how he reacted. And Tessa and the whole gang and the weaving and the plot twists and the… AH. Okay. That made no sense. Let me backpedal a little bit.

When they discover a girl who was murdered in an alley (Will and Jem) after defeating a demon, they know something is amiss there. And eventually everything goes come full circle because not only do you learn what Tessa is and how her ability works, but you also learn why the girl had been murdered and eventually it leads to who is the cause for all of the chaos.

And when we learned the real truth of who it was, I was in shock. Though I figured it out literally a page before it was announced, it was still a really good plot twist, in my opinion. Clare was able to weave a story through her characters with underlying lies and betrayal and it was just really cool.

Okay, characters. Let me talk characters.

Tessa was so awesome. I did get mad at her a few times in the book when she would be so against women doing things that she thought only men should do, but then I had to keep reminding myself of the time she was in and how women wouldn’t really be considered warriors or anything like that. She knew her goal, her focus, and was super protective over her brother. She needed to find him. But I also think this was her downfall because even though she knew Nate’s weaknesses and everything, she still loved him blindly and didn’t really see problems arise until it was too late. But when she interacted with others, she would either hold her tongue or be unafraid to speak it. It was nice to read about a girl like that, even if she was conflicted with a lot of personal things that resulted from her ability and what she learned about herself.

William Herondale was so… how do I even describe him? Playboy? Sometimes. Sarcastic? Wickedly. Caring? Not so much, at least not outwardly unless it was Jem. A good Shadowhunter? Oh hell yes. Will was a very complex character and I felt that he has a lot that needs to be told in the next two books (which I can’t wait to read). He was very open about what he’d say when he’d say in front of whoever was there. It was like he didn’t have a filter and people would try to apologize for him. But he does have a darker side, one he’s not sharing, and he lies a lot. Those closest to him pick up on it, but if they press he shuts down further. I really like his character a lot.

Jem (James Carstairs) was the gentlemen, by far. He was quiet and polite and would always be able to say the right things at the right times. He was calm in most situations. He was definitely a character that I wanted to know more about. I mean, we learned about him a bit closer toward the end and we learned about his illness (poor Jem!), but I didn’t get super attached to him. I hope in the next books I will. But as a character I really liked him. He seemed like the yin to Will’s yang. Very balanced.

There were a bunch of secondary characters that played important roles, like Charlotte, Henry, de Quincy, Jessamine, Mortmain, even Nathaniel. Each had their own role to play in this book and I either liked or didn’t like them, depending on the situation. There were good and bad guys, and I rooted for the good while I shunned the bad. I’m really excited to read the sequels and see what they have in store to add to the story.

The plot was unique and engaging, I thought. I know I already stated this above, but I just wanted to reiterate: machine armies? The Magister and his secret identity? Tessa’s ability and what she is? Church! MAGNUS BANE!? Yes. It was all spectacular and I need mooorrrreee.

As for character arcs, I felt that Tessa grew a bit in this first novel, though it wasn’t exponential. She learned more about herself, and though I don’t think she’s accepted it yet, she is starting to learn and see the world differently, which is a start. Will kind of shut himself off to the world, while I think Jem is trying to open up.

And I can feel the love triangle just waiting to happen. Oh yes (and from what I hear it’s a triangle done right).

I can’t wait to read the sequels (but I’m reading the series in publication order, so that might be a while).

Anyway, I rate this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it, especially for those of you who have read The Mortal Instruments series.

12 thoughts on “Clockwork Angel Book Review

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