Clockwork Angel — Cassandra Clare

July 11, 2018

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

TITLE: Clockwork Angel
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
SERIES: The Infernal Devices, #1
RELEASED: August 31st, 2010; Margaret Ferguson Books
GENRE: Fantasy

SYNOPSIS: 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.


This was actually an incredibly difficult book to rate, because my feelings for it are incredibly mixed. I think part of this is my own fault; I heard so many people say how vastly they preferred this series to The Mortal Instruments that I fully expected this to be a solid 5-star read, and it sadly… wasn’t.

“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”


Don’t get me wrong, I have fallen totally in love with Cassandra Clare’s writing—her characters and dialogue, especially—and this is still a fantastic read in those respects. I really loved a few of the characters: Tessa, for her wholesome nature and headstrong beliefs; Will, for his arrogant, ridiculous, Jace-like qualities (actually, I guess Jace would be Will-like…); and Jem, for his… well, Jem-ness. I mean, imagine me gesturing vaguely to all of Jem, and that’s how I feel.

“Bloodthirsty little beasts. Never trust a duck.”

There’s also some great humor, as always. If you can read Cassie’s books and not at least crack a smile, well, I don’t know if we can be friends, because her little one-liners are so weird and always make me laugh. There’s also a budding romance (love triangles, anyone?), and I suddenly understand why I’ve heard so many people say they wanted this series to end in a polyamorous relationship, because, like… how can I possibly choose who to root for?!

“There was a time I thought I was a ferret,” Will said, “but that turned out to be the opium haze.”

Unfortunately, besides the characters I loved (which was really just those three, and Charlotte), and the laughs Will’s antics offered, this book dragged for me. I thought the pacing was poor and it could have been substantially shorter, but beyond that, I just couldn’t get invested in what was happening, no matter how hard I tried.

“If no one in the entire world cared about you, did you really exist at all?”

Also, let me just go ahead and be honest: literally every single scene with Jessamine’s character made me consider putting the book down and pretending it didn’t exist. She is awful. The only way I consoled myself during and after her outbursts was to remind myself that I also hated Isabelle in book one of TMI, but she gradually grew on me, so maybe Jessamine will, too? (Come on, guys, I’m trying to be optimistic here.)

“It’s all right to love someone who doesn’t love you back, as long as they’re worth you loving them. As long as they deserve it.”

Okay, dramatics aside, was this a great read for me? No. Was it awful, though? No, not at all—all said and done, it was a solid 3.5-star read for me, and I simply couldn’t justify rounding up to 4. But there are some great moments, I have high hopes that the next two books will be far more enjoyable, and most importantly, my sweet little bisexual warlock showed up a few times, and yes, I would happily make a habit of reading 500-page novels just to get 10-15 pages with Magnus Bane. ♥




More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

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    1. This is the only Cassandra Clare book that is on my shelves. I have not read any of her books. I am fully intending to read this one at some point though 🙂

      1. Oh, you definitely should! I personally do recommend checking out The Mortal Instruments series as well, but if you’re not big on mid-2000s teen angst, you might prefer starting with this series hehe. 😀

    1. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as you hoped to! I am one of those people who prefer TID over TMI, but it’s been years since I actually read it so my feelings are based purely on what I remember I felt instead of current analysis… I plan to do a reread sometime this year though! I can’t remember anything about the pacing, but I remember falling in love with both Will and Jem… and I still am. This book really torn my heart into two!

      1. Thanks, Tasya! Oh, totally understandable. ♥ And they’re both so precious! A few people told me, when I told them I wasn’t sure about this book, that they thought the next 2 books were much better, so I still have high hopes for the TID series! 😀

    1. Amazing review as always, Destiny! I hope you enjoy the other books in the series, I can’t wait to read your reviews ❤️

    1. Clockwork Angel is also my least favorite from TID but Clockwork Prince is way better! And I still have to get to Clockwork Princess so give it a chance!

      1. Oh great, that makes me more excited for Clockwork Prince now, so thank you! 😀 I started City of Fallen Angels last night and am enjoying it so far. I don’t love the Simon perspectives so much, but I’m living for the angst with Jace lol, he’s my favorite.

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