Clockwork Angel: A Book Review

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

Title: Clockwork Angel (Book #1 of The Infernal Devices)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Rating: ★★★★★


In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Timesbestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them...

So I just finished reading Clockwork Angel and I have many thoughts. Mostly, I'm in awe. Literal awe. Cassandra Clare never ceases to leave me amazed by the Shadow World and characters throughout the entirety of the 479 pages. I'm going to break down the review into characters, plot, writing style, and conclusion. Read on and enjoy.

WARNING: This review may include spoilers!


There's so much to say about this that I'm not even sure where to start. Cassandra Clare represented every character's essence in a way that perfectly fit with the plot. She made me love some characters with all my heart and want to scream at the top of my lungs at others. But, I think that's what truly embodies a good book.

There are so many relationships in Clockwork Angel that have melted my insides, and left a residual of nothingness that can only be restored with the second book (I'm counting the days until I can get it). Anyways, Clockwork Angel revolves around three main characters: Will, Tessa and Jem. While Jem and Will are Shadowhunters, Tessa is....something. She has remarkable abilities that allow her body to change into anyone (essentially a shape-changer). Upon discovering her powers, Tessa doesn't jump with joy or any sort of happiness. No, she's really just miserable, because the people that taught her how to control her powers for 6 weeks are cruel, and manipulated her capabilities to their advantage. The Dark Sisters are what they're called, and I can whole-heartedly say that I still hate them with a burning passion. I never once held a sense of pity for the monsters, and I'm glad they got sent back to the hell they belong in.

”If no one in the entire world cared about you, did you really exist at all?" - Tessa Gray

As for Tessa, I really enjoyed reading her point of views. In the beginning, she cowered back and hid herself from those she wasn't sure she could trust. And that's understandable, considering the Dark Sisters she supposedly believed would protect her, really threatened to kill her missing brother if she didn't comply with their instructions. What really brought the story together was the development of Tessa's character. By the end of the book, she was fierce, as she had always been, except she finally learned to not be afraid of that unveiled resilience that was waiting to be revealed. Overall, I loved reading her perspective the most, mostly because I felt like she had the most to say, and the author really brought her thoughts and feelings to the surface of the plot as it developed.

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

Besides Tessa, Will and Jem are absolute sweethearts. No, Jem is the precious diamond in the rough, while Will is the mysterious, broody guy with a dark past that everyone can't help but fall for (admit it, you love him too). His attitude is especially narcissistic, and left me gushing from every scene with him in it. He's sort of become everyone's bad habit, one that shouldn't be indulged so much but simply cannot be surrendered. Tessa can agree. His character is one of the main reasons I was hooked throughout the entire book. The reason I spent countless hours reading non-stop and not wondering how much time had passed. Will is the reason for my delirium over the book, and I can't even be mad at him or Cassandra Clare for it. While he is the reason I'm partially suffering from a book hangover, I would still suffer a thousand times over if it meant I could read about him again and hopelessly dream about the fictional character.

Tessa and Will's relationship is interesting, to say the least. It's the one where both characters try denying it, no matter how clear it is that the chemistry is there. While Tessa is somewhat more open about her feelings, Will is guarded and makes an effort to distance himself away from her. It was infuriating at first, but makes me even more stirred for the next book, especially after reading the epilogue. I'm certain that their relationship will progress in Clockwork Prince. But I have yet to find out whether it moves in the right direction or not. I suppose time (and lots of reading!!) will tell.

“Thomas! We must away at once to the nearest brothel! I seek scandal and low companionship.” - Will Herondale

Now, Jem is one of the sweetest characters I've ever read. A gentlemen, down-to-earth and a

man every girl deserves. This may be an unpopular opinion, but if I had to choose between Will and Jem, I'd choose Jem. Tessa can have Will, but Jem is truly precious, and I'm sure everyone can agree with that. Along with Will, he has some hidden secrets about him and specifically, his condition, but UNLIKE Will, he trusts Tessa enough to share those secrets with her (Jem - 1, Will - 0, but who knows, things might change in the second book). Whenever I read Jem's scenes, I just felt a wave of love and empathy wash over me in a flood of drowning emotions. A guilty pleasure of mine has got to be reading spoilers, and let me tell you, when I read the spoilers for this series, I was shattered to pieces. And whether they leave me destroyed for days on end or boiling red with anger, it doesn't leave me as surprised to know the ending of the characters I've grown to love and cherish with all my heart.

”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.” He smiled then, seeming to have come back to himself, slightly embarrassed. “That’s what I believe.” - Jem Carstairs

Along with the infamous trio, Charlotte and Henry Branwell are really a match made for one another. While Henry can be a klutz at times, Charlotte is there to support him and love all his imperfect mistakes, which I loved reading. They may not have a series to themselves, but every perspective with them in it is a heart-warming one. So far, we've got Tessa, Will, Jem, Charlotte and Henry, but we can't forget Jessamine.

”I am not a Shadowhunter, Tessa. I despise everything about the Nephilim. I have never wanted to be one, and my dearest wish is to leave the Institute and never speak to a single soul who resides there ever again.” - Jessamine Lovelace

Now, that girl is a Shadowhunter but wants NOTHING to do with the Shadow World. She has plans and dreams of living a mundane life, even though demons lurk every corner, and crave to see angel blood stain the streets of London, hers especially. At first, I truly hated the girl's guts because she came off as very self-absorbed, and lived in her own reality where everything depended on looks. Then, as I read more about her backstory and parents, I sort of felt pity for her, with a pinch of dislike and scorn. Admittedly, I do want to see her in the next two books, because she really added the spice that the story needed, and I live for that. There are some maids and servants in the book; Sophie, Agatha and Thomas, who are mundanes that have the sight, allowing them to see the supernatural. They do enter perspectives here and there, and there was a love triangle for a short while between Sophie's fixation on Jem, and Thomas's fixation on Sophie, however that ship sunk to a bottomless abyss by the last chapter.


I don't know about you, but I really enjoyed following along with the plot of the book. Everything made sense, and left me smacking my head from not holding any suspicion about the HUGE plot twist at the end of the story. Just when the characters connected the dots, I really said to myself- "Wow, I'm really stupid." Cassandra Clare really surprised me to the point of questioning my own sanity, and I would have NEVER seen that plot twist coming, even if it was staring inches from my face. Another reason to be awed from the beautifully crafted slow-paced storyline. It was truly satisfying to see every puzzle piece merge together in one big plot that made so much sense after the reveal. Of course, it wouldn't be Cassandra Clare if she left everything sunshine and lollipops, so it was no surprise to me when the epilogue was left with a MASSIVE problem that needed a whole other book to solve. Still, I'm not complaining.

Writing Style

Clockwork Angel is written in the third person perspective, which is kinda new to me. I only realized a few days ago that in the past several months, I had only been reading in first person. So imagine my shock when I open the book to a third person point of view, AND past tense?!? Yeah, it was unnerving at first. I even considered abandoning the book by the end of the first chapter, but I'm really glad I didn't. This book has really made me fall in love with this perspective, and the different shifts between characters in individual chapters. It's even given me the idea to COMPLETELY switch my current work in progress's point of view (first person, present tense) to third person, past tense! How crazy is that? Not sure if I am going to do it, but I will be posting weekly updates of Camp NaNoWriMo in April, so stay tuned for that!

Back to the story, I really liked Cassandra Clare's writing style. Her syntax and diction were written beautifully with a simplistic style that made it very easy to read. Upon analyzing her style of writing, I learned a lot about different rules of language and have been applying it to my own work. The sentences aren't too complicated, and although the Shadow World isn't a new thing to me, I can say with confidence that many people could read this book alone and understand at least 90% of it, if not all. I am totally recommending this series to my friends and peers, and maybe go as far as giving my precious paperback to them to borrow temporarily (Key word: maybe).


In brief, I loved Clockwork Angel, and am definitely planning to read it again in the near future. By now it should be clear why I've given the book 5 stars, but I'll give a quick recap to the skimmers (I'm talking to you. Yes, you). The characters in the book are amazingly written and demonstrated beautifully throughout the plot-driven aspects of the Shadowhunters Novel. I really enjoyed reading Tessa's perspective the most, and loved watching her character develop with the influence of those around her. The plot of the story is also immaculate, and left me in desperate need for the second book (which I have yet to purchase, sigh). Cassandra Clare's style of writing is incredibly simple to comprehend, and a past tense, third person point of view. I would 100% recommend this to other people, including you! If you haven't read this book yet, I'm sorry if I may have indirectly spoiled some of it, but I really hope you do give this book a chance!

Thank you for reading! If you've made it this far, let me know if you've read Clockwork Angel or not and your thoughts on The Infernal Devices series! Have a splendid day Scribblers, and I'll see you in the next post <3

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