Review: Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare

clockwork angel

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Source/Format: Library / Hardcover, 479 pages
Opening Sentence: “The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts.”
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon

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.

It was no big deal when I put Clockwork Angel on hold at my library. I had seen a lot of people who loved it and figured I’d read it too if it was so good. At the time I had no idea whatsoever that it was connected to the Mortal Instruments series. (I know, I know. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m working on it.) You may go ahead and color me happy, because I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful (but perhaps dangerous to some level) obsession.

I know a lot of people are in the business of comparing the two series (The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments) and judging on which they think is more interesting or better in general (usually mentioning how the author has grown). If the other books are as good as this one then I don’t see any reason to compare and contrast, because I loooved Clockwork Angel.

Plainly, I started to read it just because I thought it to be culturally important. I never thought I would find it so interesting or enticing, pulling me in. I messed up my entire sleeping routine for this book, and have no one regrets about it thus far.

I was surprised by how amazingly complex every single character was and how it never seemed like backstory was being thrown in my face. Things came naturally and I really appreciate that, especially because a lot of novels have problems with character development and backstory. It’s the mark of a masterful and very skilled writer when it appears easy.

The story itself had me foolishly thinking I was smarter than the author. One of the points I was going to bring up was how it seemed all the most important plot points were the ones that were the easiest to predict… until I got closer to the end and realized the things I thought were so important were completely overshadowed by things of significantly higher importance that I didn’t anticipate in the slightest. I’m usually somewhat perceptive, so this was an absolutely wonderful surprise.

There’s not much more I could have asked from this novel. It was mysterious when it needed to be and straightforward when called for. It was so in depth and by the time I read the last page I was hoping for the opportunity to read the next book, and I mean soon. I’m so excited to continue on with this series and The Mortal Instruments.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars


“‘Whatever you are physically,’ he said, ‘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. Whatever the color, the shape, the design of the shade that conceals it, the flame inside the lamp remains the same. You are that flame.'”
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