Book Review | Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

clockwork angel coverSeries: The Infernal Devices (book #1)

Rating: 4 stars

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“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 is a YA historical urban fantasy that follows Tessa Gray, a young lady who travels from North America to 1800s London to meet her only living relative, her brother, and finds herself all mixed up with Shadowhunters and other supernatural creatures business. I’m sure you know that Shadowhunters are half-angel demon-hunter people, and that The Infernal Devices is a prequel triology for Cassandra Clare‘s famous The Mortal Instruments series.

I’ve been reading these books in publication order, so I have read the first 3 TMI books before this. I didn’t love them, but I like the world and I appreciate expanded universes so I kept going. People usually say that TID and The Dark Artificies triology (TMI’s sequel) are better than the original series, so I’m optimistic. I did enjoy this book more than the previous ones, and Cassandra‘s books are easy to read.

In Clockwork Angel, I noticed that the author’s writing did evolve and that she got better at handling dialogue. She used to overdo it with the witty banter in a way that didn’t make sense for certain characters and felt inappropriate for certain moments. This book isn’t mindblowing, but it is enjoyable. I think one of Cassandra’s strengths as a writer is her ability with character’s family dynamics. She’s good at making people who aren’t blood related seem as if they were. Although I’m not so convinced when the subject is her romance writing. At least not so far.


“If no one in the entire world cared about you, did you really exist at all?”


About the characters, I’ll start by saying that thank goodness Tessa is a better protagonist than Clary. Well, that isn’t exactly that hard considering that even a good chunk of the TMI fans don’t like that protagonist either. Tessa is in a similar situation to Clary‘s, having to rely on strangers’ help in order to find a missing relative, and even in her distress I did not feel like she was being bratty or super ungrateful with the people who were sheltering her, unlike a certain red-haired girl. I also appreciate that Tessa doesn’t shame other woman out of jealousy. I’m sorry, I can’t help comparing her to Clary because that girl was one of the main reasons I didn’t like TMI as much. Tessa is an orphan bookworm who is determined and loyal to the people she cares about. I think she fit well in the London institute.

Jem Carstairs. I really like Jem. I mentioned in my A Very Large Expanse of Sea review how nice guys don’t get as much praise, and I’m here to shout out this really nice dude, and say how much I appreciate his thoughtfulness and kindness. He makes Tessa feel welcomed, and he made me feel protective of him. I also really like that he has good humor despite his delicate situation, I respect people like that.

Will Herondale. Are you ready for an unpopular opinion? Well, I’m not a fan of Will and I don’t get why people love him so much. There, I said it. I mean, I don’t hate him, but I also don’t feel it, you know? First of all, he feels too much like Jace 2.0 and I’d appreciate a bit more variety with these main love interests. Second of all, I’ve found that I don’t have that much patience for guys who act out, even if they have their designated sad backstories. Unless they get a very good development, or I see more complexity than just witty remarks and flirting, they just won’t do it for me anymore. I actually don’t mean to drag Will, and I really like his relationship with Jem. Cassandra has got the hang of that parabatai bond thing, even in TMI. But he was also a real jerk to Tessa in a certain scene of book one, and unless he gets some FANTASTIC development on the next installments, I don’t see my appreciation for him growing one bit. I’m cautiously open to it, though.

Also, I must say I’m a bit offended because every Camile or Camille I find in literature (which aren’t that many) is sketchy somehow. Thank you, next.

As for the worldbuilding, the world does get a bit expanded in this novel, but not too much. I felt like if I hadn’t read TMI I would still be able to understand things, because Cassandra does explain a few concepts again (although she uses a bit of shameless exposition to do it, but I forgive her).

I really want to read the most recent releases of the Shadowhunters Chronicles, people praise them so much. But I’m sooo behind that it’s unlikely that I’ll catch up with them this very year. It’s one of my 2019 projects though, to get as up to date with this series as possible. I want to at least read one of these books a month. It’s a matter of honor at this point. I actually started TMI 4, City of Fallen Angels, but I couldn’t finish it in January. I’ll try to read it this month and then pick up Clockwork Prince before February ends. We’ll see how that goes, wish me luck!

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So guys, have you read any of Cassandra Clare’s books? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments. 😊

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2 thoughts on “Book Review | Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare”

  1. Mmhhh that’s some good tea about boys with tragic backstories in YA. I haven’t read any CC books yet though I really want to, I don’t have very high expectations for TMI, I read a sampler and I was kind of cringing at the writing and tropes. But this I really want to get to, I’m debating if I should just read this first and the only reason I haven’t is because if I like this I’m worried it will ruin TMI via comparisons


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