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Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Title: Clockwork Angel (#1 The Infernal Devices)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: 31st of August 2010 – Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Harback – 481 pages

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

Hello Hello! How are you?

I have been looking forward to this post all week as we can finally talk about Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. If you didn’t know what these Shadowhunter Saturdays are all about, you can check out my announcement here, or Fiona’s here. Fiona and I have been reading Clockwork Angel for the past three weeks, and this book was just so much better right from the start, the setting was completely different, as were the characters and I’m excited to tell you all about this book.  

So, today I’m bringing you my mini-review of Clockwork Angel, and the spoilery discussion with Fiona’s answers! Just like last time, keep reading for my mini-review and Fiona’s thoughts on this book, and don’t forget to head over to Fiona’s blog to read her own mini-review along with my thoughts!

The first part of this post is a non-spoilery review of the first book in The Infernal Devices series, and the second part contains many spoilers, plot points and all of Fiona’s answers to them.


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 Times bestselling 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…


Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare is the first book in The Infernal Devices series, and the fourth book we are reading in the order suggested by Cassandra Clare herself for this Shadowhunter mission! Again, this is a YA fantasy book with paranormal elements, and instead of being set in present-day New York or Idris like The Mortal Instruments series (the first trilogy), this one is set in the 1870s in London.

The first thing that completely captivated me in this book was the setting and the time period. I am a historical fiction fan, I love books set in the past, so this already got a big thumbs up from me. London was also described just as I imagined it from this time period, that is beautiful and privileged at first glance, but deprived when you look closer. I loved how the Shadow world was described and introduced as well. I feel like we made the right choice reading The Mortal Instruments first as I felt like I got more information and descriptions about Shadowhunters and various other Shadow creatures, whereas this book is focused more on Tessa Gray, her introduction to the Shadow world, her powers and the struggles around that element.

I also adored Tessa right from the start. I think that Tessa and Clary might be the same age actually, but wow, there is such a big difference between the two. Where Clary is immature, reckless and just generally Clary, Tessa is a lot more refined without all the faff you could imagine, she is down-to-earth and I just got some really nice vibes from her.

I also really enjoyed meeting and reading about the other characters in this book. Will and Jem!! We finally get to meet this absolutely famous duo and I loved it. I don’t know yet which of the two I prefer, but they are so different and complete each other perfectly. Where I was lacking a bit of character backstory in The Mortal Instruments first trilogy, I got all I wanted here from the important main characters and I think this made the book and plot more plausible as the characters appeared more realistic.

This plot was also really unique and I hadn’t expected what happened at all. I’m not going to go into detail unless I spoil you (the spoilers are for later), but this book has a lot going on. I will say, it’s a really different plot to the other books we’ve read so far, and I think this can be explained because of the setting and time period, back then, the Shadowhunters and other Shadow creatures had only just passed Accords that had Shadowhunters and Downworlders on the same level so to say, I was very surprised by this as in the present-day stories, these two categories of people/creatures despise one another.

The start really surprised me, where I had struggled and become bored with the first two books in the first Mortal Instruments trilogy, here there wasn’t that issue and we jumped straight into the plot, the characters and everything else! There was a bit of a lull in the middle and I kind of forgot what was happening, but as we have learned from reading previous books by Cassandra Clare, the ending just ran away and was really jam-packed with information, action and a lot of revelations, as per usual. I was not happy about that ending, gah, I wanted to jump up and go read the next one immediately, but I was glad to have a cliff-hanger for once as the other books had been a bit floppy at the end.

“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.” – Clockwork Angel


Overall, this book really surprised me. I was expecting the start to be slow and drag along just like the previous books have, but I don’t know whether it was the setting, the characters, a slightly different writing style or all of them combined, but it just took off fairly suddenly and didn’t let me go until the middle dipped a bit and then it picked up at the end.

I really enjoyed this setting and time period, there is something so refined and some great Victorian vibes that my little historical fiction heart just devoured. It was so interesting seeing the Institute in London and also seeing how it was for the Shadowhunters and Downworlders back then.

Tessa, Will, Jem, Jessamine and Charlotte were really intriguing characters to me. While I wasn’t a fan of Jessamine, I will say that she grew on me, however, the others grabbed my heart straight away. I really liked Tessa as the main character, she just seemed so much more wholesome to me than Clary ever did and I appreciated her, her personality, her character arc and how she got the hang of her power and understood the Shadow world.

I gave this book 4 stars, I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series as that cliff-hanger just really annoyed me as I want so much more! You can see my ASPECTS rating breakdown down below for the rating I gave to each element. I would recommend this book if you have already read and enjoyed other Cassandra Clare books, or if you are looking for some really good historical fiction fantasy!

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


Atmosphere – 6

Start – 7

Pacing – 6

Ending – 8

Characters – 8

Theme – 7.5

Style – 7

Total = 49.5

Now I’m going to pass the reigns over to Fiona so we can hear all her thoughts on the plot elements and spoilery events of this book! We have both answered the same questions, if you have not read these books and do want to read them, I would advise you against continuing reading this post as there are SPOILERS!!

Here are Fiona’s answers for the more generic questions about the book!

As the first book in the Infernal Devices series, what were your first impressions and did they change throughout the book?

“I was expecting it to be much the same as The Mortal Instruments, mysterious happening leads a young girl to find handsome strapping Shadowhunter who introduces her to a new world while the big bad threatens it all. While it did pretty much live up to this expectation the way it was executed really surprised me. I liked how it started right in the action, how it introduced us to Will and Jem upfront, then we got to know Tessa and how she discovered the Shadowhunters. It really had some twists I didn’t see coming and even though the middle got a little dull it was still faster paced and more entertaining, in my opinion, than The Mortal Instruments (first trilogy).”

What was your favourite moment?

“I have to say either the double bluff where we found out who the Magister really was and Nathaniel’s betrayal, I really wasn’t expecting that and it really took me by surprise. Or the epilogue. It really had me!”

Who was your favourite character?

“I don’t know yet. I will confess my unwavering love for Magnus and I am so glad he is in this series too, and appears to have an important role if the epilogue is to go by. I definitely prefer Tessa to Clary. She is so much more of a powerful leading lady. I am not sure about either Will or Jem yet. I think they are going to be interesting as we get to know them more. Jess can “get in the sea!”, she is sooo whiney! Why does there always have to be a whiney woman? She seems like she can kick ass if she wants to but damn she just seems like there is nothing but fluff and ribbons in her head.”

Did you like this setting and time period?

“I was kind of disappointed with the worldbuilding. Other than some mention of horse and carriages (which there was in The Mortal instruments anyway as that’s what the silent brothers used) I didn’t really get a Victorian feel to the setting. It just felt exactly like the Institute in the Mortal Instruments. I found that it was me that was doing the leg work and picturing my knowledge of Victorian London over being given any description.”

What do you think is going to happen next?

“Honestly it could be anyone’s guess. The fight at the end was a little open ended so I assume we haven’t heard the last from the Magister. I also assume we are going to have more infighting within the Clave about who should run the London Institute.  But the most intriguing is what Magnus is going to help Will with? I do hope we get more of Jem’s story too.”

And now for more spoilery, in-depth discussions about some of the plotlines!!

Tessa travelling from America to England for her brother and getting kidnapped by the Dark Sisters:

“I loved that we were thrown right in the deep end of the action. The dark sisters were excellent Villains and I kind of like that we the reader are as confused as Tessa is by the whole situation. It really showed her to be a  resilient and strong character which was great.”

Tessa’s powers:

“This was really cool! I really like the take on the heroine being a Downworlder, and a mysteriously powerful one. I like how this plotline unfolded, of her not knowing her power, trying to master it, trying to learn what that made her and why she was that way. It really added a lot more depth to Tessa that we didn’t get from Clary in Mortal instruments.”

The Pandemonium Club & the Accords signed between the Shadowhunters and Downworlders:

“I really liked the callbacks to the Mortal Instruments. I think we learnt a lot more about the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders in this as we were getting it from Tessa’s perspective who wanted to seek out all that knowledge. The Pandemonium club in London does seem a lot more dangerous than its New York counterpart and a lot more mysterious too.”

Meeting the ancestors of The Mortal Instruments’ characters:

“I really loved this part of the book. I liked doing a bit of comparing and contrasting to see if there were any stand out traits that carried through. It was weird the Lightwoods in this were so snooty and a bit of the rival to the main gang of Shadowhunters in this time period as I think we really grew attached to the Lightwoods in New York. but here they are rivals for leading the institute which is really interesting.”

Magnus Bane’s appearance in the book:

“I completely and utterly love Magnus and It made this book for me that he is back. I love the image of him as a sort of Dandy in his breeches and waist coat. I love it. We know he is 1000 years old in the Mortal instruments and its great to see how he spent some of those. I want more! More Magnus!”

Will, Tessa and Magnus storm the Pandemonium Club:

“I loved the humour in this bit. Tessa having to be dominant over Will, Magnus being a bit teasing but also all business when needed, it was real fun to read. I also liked how everything unfolded to the reveal of the poor sacrifice being Nathaniel and then the misfiring of Henry’s inventions (which we know works eventually as Jace uses them in the Mortal instruments – Jace uses a lot of Henry’s inventions from this book which again was a really subtle yet awesome callback), the delay in the rest of the Shadowhunters showing up it just all layered really nicely into a very well-paced fight scene!”

Will and Tessa in the attic:

“More Angst! This made me go a bit hmmm, what’s going on with Will. Up until this point I couldn’t really see the building of the Love triangle I had heard so much about. It seemed to all be very much siding with Will. But Will’s reaction to kissing Tessa and the whole death wish by biting Vampires then locking himself in the attic thing was a bit strange. There is definitely more to him and that is going to be interesting to find out about. This prompting the walk with Jem did make Jem seem like the more Romantic option. So now we do have the Broody recluse against the sweet but dying boy.”

Jem’s illness:

“This is interesting as before now we have only really seen the Shadowhunters as strong (maybe with some emotional issues). It was nice to get a glimpse of them being fallible and that Jem seems to fight on regardless. I think this was mainly to set up sympathy and a possible relationship between Tessa and Jem, not sure it worked though.”

The clockwork figures, what they are and how they invade the Institute, the Magister and why he wants Tessa, Nathaniel’s betrayal:

“This was awesome. I didn’t see this coming at all and it really took me by surprised and for me was when the middle lull broke. I knew I would race to the finish line as soon as Will and Jem left the institute as you just knew it was about to go down and I wasn’t disappointed. I wish we haD got more with Agnes and Thomas so I really felt for their deaths. Thomas’ got me a little because I really like Sophie as a character so for her to lose him before he got to tell him her feelings was sad. The Nathaniel betrayal was great but again Jess and her whining was Gah! She could have done a lot more.”

The showdown between the Magister and Tessa:

“This ended up being a little disappointing as it ended up being more of a set up for the next book, leaving us with the same questions as to how and why Tessa has her powers and what the Magister wants with them. I really like how Tessa fooled the Magister. I thought that was really creative as I had somewhat forgotten that her transformation would bring the blood along with it. So that was a little “oh” has Clare killed off her MC moment for a half-second.”


“Is it the same Church? Did the sisters do something to the cat and he is magic? or are all institute cats called Church after this Church? I must know!”

That cliff-hanger ending!

“That last line! I hurled the book across the room and made my husband laugh as I shouted “WHAT” at the book. That was just mean as even though I have a TBR longer than my arm I have to go straight into the Clockwork Prince to find out what Will wants Magnus to help with!!! You have to admit Cassandra Clare does know how to get you hooked on these books.”

I think we both enjoyed this book more than we did the first two books in The Mortal Instruments series, and I really enjoyed reading Fiona’s thoughts, we had some fairly different ones for this book! Loved Fiona’s answers!

I’m getting good vibes from this series and I know there is still so much more to come, I don’t know exactly what will happen next, I haven’t even read the blurb as I want to go into it fairly blind, but I have high hopes that it will be as good as the first book in the series.

Head over to Fiona’s post to read all about her own thoughts in her review of this book and to find my answers to the questions and plot points! You can find her post here!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – AbeBooks (affiliate link) – The Book Depository (affiliate link) – Audible FR (affiliate link) – Amazon USWaterstonesBarnes and NobleAudible UKScrib’dKobo


  1. I love the Infernal Devices. I think Cassandra Clare took the feedback from Mortal Instruments and put it to use with this second series. I agree the world building, backstories, and pacing is better in these books. I love Church! Not going to spoil that bit for you. As for the love triangle, there will be more. Normally I hate love triangles, but its actually done surprisingly well in this series.

    Can’t wait to read your thoughts on the next book in the series!
    ♥ Mae

    1. I think so too, I enjoyed it better because it felt slightly more rounded. Love Church too and I’m so excited to read the next books and find out more, Ohhhhhh yay!!! I can’t wait, thank you so much for making me want to read it even more! 🙂

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