Review- Clockwork Angel

Ready. Get set. GO!
And I’m off, jumping into the world of online book reviewing, I am determined to make this more fun than making book reviews for school was. I have to say I find the thought of reviewing a book and putting it out there for everyone to see is intimidating, and yet I’ve handed myself quite a lot of work for my first couple of reviews. I am going to review not one, but two book series written by Cassandra Clare; The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments.
I stumbled upon The Infernal Devices this summer, and was kind of bummed when I’d finished the two books that have been released in the series. When I realized The Mortal Instruments existed, I was very relieved because I didn’t have to wait for the next book in The Infernal Devices to come out before I could read about shadowhunters again. I’ve been looking for a reason to re-read the series again, and when Hannah asked me to do the reviews I knew immediately what I wanted to read. As I have already read the series I’ve decided to start off with reviewing The Infernal Devices. In a way I probably should review The Mortal Instruments first, since that was the first series to come out. However, since I began my journey into Cassandra Clare’s books with The Infernal Devices it feels more appropriate for me to review those books first.
So, to get things started here is my review of Clockwork Angel, the first book from The Infernal Devices. Enjoy!

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads

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.

The book is set in London in the late 1800s. It begins with the main character, Tessa Gray arriving in England. After her aunt died she’s left New York for England and her brother, whom she’ supposed to meet upon arrival in England. Instead, when she arrives, she’s picked up by two women who claims to have been sent to pick her up by her brother, and the abduct her. The women are known as the Dark sisters and they introduce Tessa to a special ability she never knew was in her, she can change her appearance and become someone else.
Luckily for Tessa, the Dark sisters are investigated by the shadowhunters and the day Tessa is supposed to be introduced and married to the book’s bad guy, the Magister, the shadowhunters make their move on the Dark sisters. The shadowhunters’ original mission ends up as a rescue mission, although they didn’t know about Tessa’s existence until they found her with the Dark sisters.
Then Tessa is thrown into a world she never knew was there. The shadowhunters introduce Tessa to London, but not the London she imagined when she left New York. She’s introduced to a London with downworlders; warlocks, fairies, werewolves, vampires and most importantly – demons. Tessa discovers a world that exists alongside ours, hidden by very strong glamours. She also discovers that in the long run, no matter what side she’s on, she’s only used as a chess piece, but because of love she can play the game her way – a game that leaves her happy, confused and crushed.
I am very happy with myself for deciding to re-read the entire book before reviewing it. It hasn’t been that long since the first time I read the book, so I still remember my first reactions to it, and now after having read it a second time some of my reactions are different.
One thought I had both times reading the book is how it is very descriptive. I remember early on in school being taught that when you were writing fiction, the key to have some variation to your writing was to tell something instead of showing it. In this book, especially in the beginning there is a whole lot of showing, and not that much telling. I am a person who likes to read dialogue because for me, dialogues are a better way of getting to know and connect with a character. Of course, you can get tired of dialogues as well, but I feel like the book could have been more exciting to read if the beginning contained a bit more dialogue. I am a big fan of authors who excel in the art of combining descriptions and dialogue. Clare is very competent when it comes to writing both description and dialogues; very few authors manage to have my imagination make as clear pictures in my head as she does. However, as I’ve already said in a different way, Clare isn’t that great at combining the two. When she does do it, it really does improve the writing. My only wish is that it should have been there from the beginning.
Putting my issue with the dialogue and descriptions aside, I thoroughly enjoy the book. Will I read it a third time? I’m not sure. I love it when books have the effect on my where I have to read it over and over. I’m glad I did re-read the book before reviewing, because now I have a better idea of it being a book I want to re-read or not. Clockwork Angel is definitely a book I would (and I have) recommend to others. If the book is the first book you encounter from either The Infernal Devices or The Mortal Instruments the story is catching and original. The best thing with the book in my opinion is how easy it is to connect with the characters. When I read old classics I always have a hard time connecting with characters, and I believe that is because the language is to old for me to connect with. Even though the story is set in a complete different time and you do recognize the way the characters speak as being slightly old fashioned, the way Cassandra Clare uses a “newer” language makes it more flowy and very much enjoyable.



  1. Courtney says:

    I agree! I read the Infernal Devices before I read the Mortal Instruments too, but I wasn’t as impressed with the Mortal Instruments as I was the Infernal Devices. I think it’s because The ID (Infernal Devices) is her newer series and her writing has improved, along with plot development, a deeper understanding of characters, and more insight into the world she created, things that were kinda left out with The MI (Mortal Instruments). In the MI, she had these random plot lines that left me looking at the book in confusion, things that just kinda… came out of no where. No background, no insight, just BAM! Random insert into the plot line. Like Valentine’s quest for the Cup… (spoiler alert!) When he got it, everyone was like, “NOOOOO THE WORLD IS OVER, VALENTINE WON AND HE’S GONNA KILL US ALL!!” but in the sequel, it’s almost like Valentine was like, “Whateva, on to the next object.” It was almost like she didn’t plan any of the series, just started writing. I love the world she created, I just feel like in the MI she could have done SO much better. In the ID she made up for the random plot twists and ideas. Like she thought it out, introduced the character earlier, showed more insight into their character. :)
    But yes, I agree with everything you said. I just wanted to share my own thoughts too, bahaha! :D