Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare (Re-Read)

Clockwork Angel
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Clockwork Angel is the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. It is set in Victorian London and has an air of steampunk – although it is not explicitly that genre. There are clockwork creations and automatons, a Shadowhunter inventor that tinkers with gears and wires, but the overall setting is not one of steam powered air machines and gear-covered outfits. As a fan of the steampunk genre and aesthetic, I quite enjoyed the subtle notes of it in this series.
The clockwork automatons are intriguing, as they are made from neither Heaven nor Hell and thus the Shadowhunters have no experience dealing with them. They create a unique foe to fight against and are a greater mystery – as our heroes do not know who truly created them, or their nefarious purpose.

Each chapter is headed with an excerpt from a poem that Tessa might have found herself reading over the years. Each is not only a wonderful addition to the story but if you enjoy them, perhaps it will lead you to seek them out in their original forms. I personally do not find myself frequently reading poetry, but the first time I read this book I fell in love with the poems selected. It caused me to go in search of them and read poetry. Perhaps you too will find yourself inspired.

As with the Mortal Instruments, our main character is a female who is unfamiliar with the Shadow World at the beginning of the novel. Before long, she is completely embroiled in the world, the politics and must learn as she goes. In this novel, our heroine is given the Shadowhunter Codex to read which allows her to quickly understand the roles of the Shadowhunter and the world she didn’t even know existed. I have always liked Tessa and felt a kinship to her, as we are very similar.
Tessa is quite tall, especially for a woman in the Victorian era, brunette and loves books more than anything else (other than perhaps her family.) Her Aunt was a very learned woman, so Tessa received a decent education and fostered a love of reading. She is able to quote from books that she loves and does not discriminate between books considered high-brow and those considered for the lower class of society. Tessa is very intelligent and not afraid to voice her opinions, even though it was not widely accepted at that time for women to be sharp of tongue. She also does not like chocolate, which endeared her to me immediately as I also am one of the few people it seems who does not like chocolate.

Our two male leads are Jem and Will, who are parabatai but quite dissimilar from one another. Jem was originally from the Shanghai Institute but found himself in the London Institute when his parents were murdered by demons. He is quiet, kind, intelligent and loves Will like a brother. Will is a Herondale, with all of the charm that comes with it. He is more reckless, boasts about frequenting brothels and dens of vice, and despite his outward attempts to appear cheerful is prone to melancholy.

The Institute is filled with other Shadowhunters and servants with vastly different personalities who bring a lot of interesting storylines with them. Charlotte and Henry are the heads of the Institute, despite their young age. Henry is a brilliant inventor, although a bit scatterbrained. Jessamine was forced to live in the Institute after the death of her parents, but she has never desired to be a Shadowhunter.

The first book introduces us to the Shadow World of London, as Tessa is invited to travel from New York to London to live with her brother. Her plans do not turn out as she had expected and it leads her on an adventure with the Nephilim. It is fascinating to see how different the Shadowhunters of this era are, and yet utterly the same. It was also interesting to see how the Shadowhunters view the Downworld. While it was not entirely equal to the time of the Mortal Instruments series, you realize that is has improved in the century since the Infernal Devices and must be leagues above the treatment in the earliest years of the Nephilim.

Whether Clockwork Angel is your first foray into the Shadow World, or not, it is a highly entertaining and well-written novel that I could not recommend more. Many people feel that this series is the best of the three, so if you’ve been considering reading any of the Shadowhunter Chronicles but were not quite sure – perhaps this is a good place to start. I personally would recommend reading a number of the Mortal Instruments before beginning this series, but that is just my opinion. Either way, if you have not yet read this book – please go do so now! It is one of my favourites and I hope that it will be yours as well.

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7 responses to “Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare (Re-Read)”

  1. Caroline Avatar

    So I just finished reading City of Bones, and honestly couldn’t ever get super into it. The world-building was great, but I wanted a more complex plot and deeper character development. Do you think I should continue reading the series if I wasn’t enthralled by the first book? Or maybe switch to one of her later trilogies? I know it was her first novel, and I really want to give it a fair shot, especially if she grows a lot as an author in her later novels!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kyera Avatar

      I know a lot of people like the Mortal Instruments least of the three series, so I would definitely recommend that you give one of the different series a shot. If you were not really in love with City of Bones, I wouldn’t say force yourself to continue to the second book. She has definitely improved as a writer, and I think her most recent series, the Dark Artifices (Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows) are the most well written. I think you should give the Infernal Devices a shot if you enjoy the steampunk, Victorian London aesthetic, whereas maybe you should try the Dark Artifices if you’d like the modern, LA-based story. Either way, I hope one of them are more enjoyable for you than City of Bones!


  2. Weekly Wrap Up: May 29 – June 4 – Kyera's Library Avatar

    […] My (aforementioned) friend and I decided to read Lord of Shadows together. I am proud to say that I introduced her to the Shadowhunter Chronicles and she is sufficiently obsessed. Finally, someone in the real world that’s as obsessed with the world as I am and I can convince to do Shadowhunter cosplay with me! She was afraid of a book hangover, so I suggested we re-read the Infernal Devices. You can read my review here! […]


  3. Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag – Kyera's Library Avatar

    […] Princess by Cassandra Clare was incredible and you can check out my review here – or click here to read my review for the first book in the series Clockwork Angel or to read my review for the […]


  4. bookchantedblog Avatar

    Loved your review! and omg i love this series so much!!! One of my favourite Cassandra Clare series. I’d also love it if you could check out my blog as well, i write book reviews too!
    great review, keep writing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. kyera Avatar

      Oh thank you so much sweetie! I love the Shadowhunters series so much as well. I’d love to check out your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rogers Free Library Avatar
    Rogers Free Library

    Reblogged this on .


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