Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: August 31, 2010 by McElderry Books

Number of Pages: 496

Rating: 5/5

Psst! Sorry about the length of the review. I think it’s worth it anyway!

Official Review*:

This book is simply astounding. Beautifully intertwining modernity and the fascinating beauty of Victorian England, Cassandra Clare has written a gem. I was originally worried that Clockwork Angel, and the entire Infernal Devices series for that matter, would be too similar to The Mortal Instruments, but this book is just as special in an entirely new and magical way. With some of the same elements that caused us to fall in love with Clare’s books originally and dozens of new, fantastic ones, this book will make readers swoon… and go slightly crazy when they’re finished. Believe me: Clockwork Angel will leave you restless.


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: Jem, 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. [From Goodreads]


As proof of my amazement, here’s something I tweeted not long after finishing the book (as in, immediately – because my brain was going haywire and I didn’t want to lose my thought):


I think that gets the point across fairly well. There’s nothing like your opinions in “the heat of the moment.” Honestly, this book is phenomenal. The writing is even more delectable than that in The Mortal Instruments series, refined in a way that perfectly suits the time-set of the novel. I appreciated the intricate way Cassie wove the old-time London atmosphere and culture into the story. I love fiction written in the 1800s and early 1900s, and this book captures that time beautifully.

As I said in my official review, this book has many of the same features as The Mortal Instrument series (which makes sense, as they are companions), such as the Shadowhunters, Downworlders, and Demons. In addition to all that though, are totally new and epic fantasy elements. Surprisingly, this book has very few Demons in it, instead dealing with clockwork creatures. Yeah, you heard me: Steampunk meets 1878 meets Shadowhunters. Those who are planning on reading this book (which should be most of you) are truly in for a treat. Cassie’s clockwork creatures are horrific and mesmerizing. In fact, one of the high-points of the book is the curiosity it incites in you. You could read simply because it’s interesting. Interesting in its own, unique and utterly fantastic way.

I cannot wait to see how this world develops into the one Clary and Jace live in.

Speaking of characters, what fun! As most of you know, characters are really the driving force in my reading. Even a gripping, dramatic plot won’t woo me without the aid of lovable people. This book aces characters. Passes the tests. Flying colors. All that. One really enjoyable experience was meeting ancestors of characters we’ve already met in TMI. Such as Will Herondale, Gabe Lightwood, etc. To top it all off, we get a nice scoop of Magnus Bane. I’ve never been so happy that warlocks live for centuries. It was like a family reunion.

Ah, Will Herondale. I mentioned him here, in my post about complex characters. Quite honestly, he is one of the most incredibly deep, confusing, and utterly mystifying characters I’ve ever read of. How can I tell what to think when half the evidence I’ve gathered is probably moot? His character is so blurry. I love the mystery that revolves around him (actually, it doens’t revolve. It’s at his core), the way I shiver whenever he talks, apprehensive and wondering what surprising thing he’s about to say/do. I can’t say that I generally like him. He’s charming, but he’s so locked up that there’s no possible way to know him. (Which is one of the reasons that, when asked if I’m on Team Will or Team Jem, I reply: “I don’t know.” Again – You can’t tell fact from fiction half the time when it comes to Will. You can make assumptions, infer things, but there’s no concrete evidence as to what sort of person he really is.)

And then you have Jem. His story is one I bet everyone will sympathize with. He’s also quite fascinating, and I’m willing to bet that, though he seems pretty simple as a person (which does not mean he isn’t three dimensional – he is), there’s far more to his past, present, and future than we can interpret from book one. I enjoyed his thoughtful remarks and advice. He’s a little silver-haired philosopher. (And despite what I just said, he is not eighty-years-old.)

Holy cow. I want to spotlight every character! Unfortunately, I don’t have that much time (well, I do, but I’m afraid I’m losing your attention). I can’t end this review in good conscience, however, without mentioning Tessa. She is a truly wonderful main character. Her strength and determination to ask questions (finally! A main character who doesn’t just let things pass) are both pleasing and relieving. All this is made more interesting by the fact that she’s actually been fairly brain-washed by many of the common assumptions concerning the “status” of women of that time period. Yet, somehow, as she talks about all that, she’s contradicting herself. Everything she does proves how strong she is, that she’s equally talented and smart as the boys. It’s fun to watch her as she learns that she’s worth more than she had ever anticipated. I am very grateful that I have an entire series ahead of me with a girl main character who is admirable in nearly every way.

Last but not least, the climax and the ending. This book is twisted to the point that an attempt at untangling it would be futile. You will be surprised – trust me.

And the ending? It certainly will leave you restless. I may or may not have banged the floor with my fists while my cousin (who I read the book out loud to) groaned and moaned. So, um. Prepare yourselves.

In Harry Potter O.W.L terms, this book is Outstanding. (Though it also “Exceeded Expectations.”)

*Thank you so much for the ARC

P.S. Thanks, Miranda, for grabbing this! I owe you!

One Trackback to “Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare; Review”

Leave a Reply

Bubblecast plugin is not configured properly. Please, contact administrator.
Add video comment