Book Review: Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
Published By: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 2010
Page Count: 496
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy

When I first heard about the concept of this prequel trilogy, I had to admit that I wasn't too excited about it at first... for one, it didn't have our favourite characters that we came to LOVE from The Mortal Instruments series. And two, historical fiction hadn't really interested me... till now. 

It was also because I was worried that this would just be an attempt at the same TMI story but with new, albeit, ancestral, characters. I was wrong on all accounts... this story was simply wonderful.

I got pulled in from the first pages with Tessa traveling to England from America, on her own, in search for her brother. Her parents, and the aunt that looked after her and her brother for so many years, have all passed away, leaving Tessa alone, but with the promise that she could come to live with her brother in England. From the moment she set foot off the boat, her life would never be what she had envisioned it would be. 

Having been misled by The Dark Sisters upon her arrival in London, Tessa was inevitably kidnapped and held in, by all accounts, a house of horrors. It was there that she was first introduced to her... abilities -- her power to shape-shift into another person -- living or dead. By force, she honed her new found 'talent' in preparation for her being married to The Magister. 

Tessa's character, I really liked. She was strong-willed and courageous while still being a lady and proper to this time period. This was taking place in the Victorian era remember so within the boundaries of this place in time she was a relatable character. It was noted that she was not remarkably beautiful but she did attract the attention of two young and strikingly handsome shadowhunters, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs. 

William Herondale (as in JACE Wayland Herondale) has a history that has created a broken and sympathetic character in this story. We get a few hints to his past and what makes him tick but I'm sure more will come to light as the rest of the trilogy unfolds. James (Jem) Carstairs is Will's best friend and parabatai and the complete opposite to Will's tenacious personality. He's calm, gentle and level-headed. Jem's past is heartbreaking -- he was stricken by a "demon" sickness when he was much younger and is slowly killing him. 

Tessa, I think, recognizes that she had more in common with Jem and that their personalities were more suited to each other, but she couldn't shake the magnetic attraction she had to Will despite his constantly pushing her away when she got too close. She felt comfortable being around Jem, but it was electric when she was near Will.

I found myself caring for all of the characters. The young shadowhunters were, for all intents and purposes, orphaned and so it was Charlotte and Henry who were like their surrogate parents with themselves being quite young as well. I soooo respected Charlotte and felt quite sympathetic towards her. There was a poignant "Charlotte" moment where I felt summed up her role in this story... Tessa made a comment along the lines that Will, Jem, Jessamine, Sophie, Thomas and Agatha were a bit like her own (would be) children and Charlotte sighed, "Yes... except for the part where they're required to love me, I suppose." She was diminutive yet had a strong presence, despite this being a 'man's world' at that time.

I might add that Magnus Bane had a role in this prequel as well and I LOVED the continuity he provided us to the TMI world and while I wished he had a bit MORE presence in this first book, his part was magnificent as always.

I was able to predict some of the revelations revealed at the end but still blown away by other events as well. 

While I loved this story just a tad less than The Mortal Instruments, I still got completely wrapped up in this book and these characters and enjoyed getting to know the history of the shadowhunters. 

And I'd like to note that I listened to the book a second time on audio just prior to Clockwork Prince's release and I loved it all the more so I increased my rating to 5-birdies!

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.


  1. Do you think I should read the Mortal Instruments before Infernal Devices or won't it matter?

  2. Hey Hazal! I don't think it really matters but, imo, you might get a bit more 'significance' reading TMI first.

    My review to Clockwork Prince will be up in a couple of weeks, and I can now say I love both series practically the same... if not The Infernal Devices a tad more! Prince was AMAZING!!!!


  3. I so loved these book, and the second was even better!

    1. I agree Juju! I never thought that I would love the prequel series even close to TMI but I DO!

  4. I love this series especially Clockwork Angel!! All the characters are amazing and the way she wrote the book is just AWESOME!!

  5. I love this series and all the characters, it's an AWESOME series!!

  6. Thanks for your comments, Samantha! I love this series to...Clockwork Princess was my favourite...actually, my favourite book across all her books!


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