Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Posted 29 August, 2011 by Amanda / 18 Comments

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices, #1) 
Genre: YA, Steampunk
Read: 8/12/2011 — 8/13/2011
Purchased: hardcover
In Six Words: Need more of this series. Now.

Cassandra Clare — Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Amazon — Hardcover | Kindle
Book Depository — Hardcover
Add it to Goodreads 

Book Order

1. Clockwork Angel
2. Clockwork Prince (Dec. 6th, 2011)
3. Clockwork Princess  (Dec. 2012)


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.
-from Goodreads

Why I Read This Book and General Thoughts

Clockwork Angel was one of my Borders purchases.  I had been pestering Tara for recommendations (none of which I felt compelled to follow) when I spied Clockwork Angel for $5.99.  Remembering that it was one of the books listed on Tara’s 5 star rating bookshelf on Goodreads, I decided to grab it.  A few weeks later, I was having problems deciding what to read — really, nothing seemed to be hitting the spot — so I used the Book Vixen’s recommendation and let the gods make the decision for me.  Clockwork Angel was chosen, and I was not disappointed.

A More In-Depth Look

Clockwork Angel was the type of book that drew me in without my realizing what was happening, and captured my attention and heart so that when it ended, I immediately wanted more.  Not only did I add the rest of this series to my TBR list (and grumbled about the books not being released yet; wait? I hate waiting) but I also added the Mortal Instruments series.  If Clockwork Angel is representative of the type of story Cassandra Clare can write, then I want to read them all.  Or, perhaps as Missie would say, I’d like to lick Cassandra Clare’s brain.

Clockwork Angel is probably only the third steampunk book that I have read (I am counting Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate as a single entity, since it is the same world), but I am thinking that, if the world is built right, it is a genre I can get behind.  I already enjoy historical fiction, so a little fantasy and/or paranormal makes it that much more fun.  Although there is a lot of world building, because Clockwork Angel is the first book of three, there is still plenty left to learn and there are still questions that remain unanswered.

I am not quite sure if I want to classify the ending — “epilogue” — as a cliffhanger.  To an extent it is, but I also feels that it leaves the door open.  There is a clear resolution at the end, and it is that reason I hesitate to cry, “FOUL!” as I did in my review of Faefever.  I have been left wondering, yes, but it is not an all-consuming and angry wondering.  I would have continued reading this series without the epilogue hanging over my head.

As I mentioned earlier, I got pulled into Clockwork Angel without really realizing it.  I found myself asking what about this book that had people so excited over it.  Then I finished it and nearly smacked myself upside the head in my own foolishness.  Clockwork Angel is seductive; it weaves an intricate story around you until you are caught within its trap.  Its characters jump off the page with how real they are, and yet how much we still need to know of them.  Will has every marking of the kind of hero I love (right down to his blue eyes), Tessa is a strong young woman who no doubt still has a lot to discover about herself, and Jem…Jem is heart-breaking, I think.  Even the side characters have wormed their way into my heart.

I must have more of them.

Favorite Quotes

“Sometimes,” Jem said, “our lives can change so fast that the change outpaces our minds and hearts. It’s those times, I think, when our lives have altered but we still long for the time before everything was altered– that is when we feel the greatest pain. I can tell you, though, from experience, you grow accustomed to it. You learn to live your new life, and you can’t imagine, or even really remember, how things were before.”

“There’s plenty of sense in nonsense sometimes, if you wish to look for it.”

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

You Might Enjoy This Book If…

After finishing Clockwork Angel, I recommended it to my boyfriend and his friend.  I don’t normally go around recommending books without provocation, but there is something about Clockwork Angel that would lend itself to fans of HP and fantasy.

Other Reviews
The Unread Reader — 5
Smash Attack Reads! — 5
Supernatural Snark — 4.5
Reading with Tequila — 4
25 Hour Books — 4.75

Filed under: ESR: 9, Review: Amanda, Steampunk, YA, ,


18 Responses to “Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare”

  1. I bought this one for Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn for Christmas, since we both LOVED the Mortal Instruments series (which reminds me … she’s in college now .. maybe I can find the book and actually borrow it to read myself!) Great to know that it lives up to the Mortal Instruments series caliber!

    • There are certain aspects of Clockwork Angel that are remarkably similar to the Mortal Instruments series, but it’s still a very good book.

  2. Oh joy! I am so pleased that you loved this book. Reading your review brought me back to the magic it possesses! And I agree – all of the characters are magnificent, right down to Church the cat. ♥

  3. Felicia

    I have this one but keep putting it off. I have only listened to City of bones and thought it was good but I haven’t read the rest yet.

  4. YES! I remember having the same experience. Not really expecting to get so enraptured by it, but then immediately craving more! Isn’t that the best feeling evah! :)

  5. Excellent review! I LOVED this book, too. It was my first steampunk, and definitely not my last. I, too, want to read ALL of Clare’s books now! And your favorite quotes are some of my favorites, too. A Clockwork Prince cannot come out soon enough!

    • I’ve read the first three books from her Mortal Instrument series and they’re just as good as (if not better than) Clockwork Angel. :)