Monday, August 30, 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Book Details
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Hardcover, 496 Pages
2010, Margaret K. McElderry
ISBN: 1416975861
Series: Book 1 of The Infernal Devices

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.

I didn't know what to expect when I started Clockwork Angel. I knew it was a prequel to The Mortal Instruments series and that it had some steampunk-like elements. Being that I had never read anything in the steampunk subgenre, I was wary. Since I really enjoyed The Mortal Instruments, I was optimistically hopeful.

Given my lack of experience with the genre, I knew Clockwork Angel would be unlike anything I had ever read and it was. I was pleased to find that the book was downright delightful. It had all of the fantasy fans of The Mortal Instruments have come to love while taking an entirely new, historical direction. It was a fantastic mix of new and old.

Tessa Gray, our main character, was lured to England and then immediately lured into danger. The book starts out mildly confusing as we nor Tessa actually know what she is or why she her kidnappers want her. Soon after, she is rescued by shadowhunters and immersed in their comfortable world that we know something of.

Tessa is filled with old-school thoughts about how women don't feel certain ways and definitely don't do "that" sort of thing. While staying at the institute, Tessa meets Jessamine. She's a female shadowhunter who would rather think and act like a lady. While Jessamine acts the way Tessa believe women should, she still seems to look down on her for not embracing her role as a shadowhunter. This becomes a common theme for Tessa - contradiction and confusing - making it clear that Tessa is completely lost and doesn't know what to think about any of what's going on around her.

A love triangle is hinted at, between Tessa and two shadowhunters - Will and Jem. Tessa is attracted to Will who seems to be fighting against her. Jem seems completely enamored by Tessa who is oblivious to his feelings. What's Will hiding? The idea of Tessa and Jem feels a lot like the situation between Clary and Simon in The Mortal Instruments.

Clockwork Angel has killer robots. It has the institute - this time in England. It has Magnus Bane (and who doesn't love Magnus?) It has some familiar last names that make you wonder how everyone is related. And it has Henry Blackwell inventing the same devices that modern shadowhunters use.

Clockwork Angel was intriguing. It was a great story, especially for those who loved The Mortal Instruments series. Even if you aren't usually interested in historically set books, you'll enjoy Clockwork Angel.


Cassandra Clare's


  1. I got this book and can not wait to read it! Nice review :)

  2. I'm so glad that you enjoyed it - I have had trepidations about it as I loved the MI series so much. A copy is apparently on my way to review, so looking forward to that much more having read such a well thought out and positive review.

  3. This book was my introduction to CC, and it was definitely one of my favs of the year, well so far.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Great review - I have been on the sideline with this one...should I shouldnt I.....

  5. @Savannah - Thanks!

    @Splendibird - Oh, I hope you love it!

    @Missie - I just read all of her books this year and she's wonderful. Yay for blogging, because I never heard of her before I started and I;m so glad I didn't miss out on all of her books.

    @Sheila - I kind of felt like you. I liked the MI series, but I'd never read Steampunk. If not for the insistence of some other bloggers at BEA, I doubt I would have picked this one up. I'm very glad I did though.

  6. I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy this because I haven't read the MI series yet. However, I loved this book. I'm not a huge fan of steampunk, but I liked how it was incorporated in with the fantasy elements.

    I'm barely holding out on starting the MI books (I'm hoping to wait until the last book comes out).

  7. @Tara SG - Did you know there are 3 more books coming out in the MI series? You may have a long time to wait.