Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare


Book: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Type: YA Paranormal

Release Date: August 31st 2010

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

The story revolves around Tessa Gray, a young lady who lives in Victorian England (circa 1800). She loses both of her parents and goes to live with her brother and her aunt while growing up, but when her brother leaves her for work in England & her aunt passes away, she has no choice but to get on a ship to England and meet up with her brother.

Unfortunately she gets kidnapped as soon as she arrives by The Dark Sisters. They hold her hostage in their home and force her to learn about a power that she has: she can change into anyone as long as she has something that belongs (or belonged) to them. The only reason she continues to do what they say? They claim to have her brother held hostage somewhere, too… And all she wants is to keep him safe.

As Tessa begins to think that there will be no end to the torture that The Dark Sisters put her through, she escapes with the help of Will Herondale, a young boy who is part of the Shadowhunter world. He brings her back to The Institute, which is basically the home of all Shadowhunters in England. There, she learns all about the world of Shadowhunters, and with the help of Will, his friend Jem & the other Shadowhunters who live in the institute, she begins to solve the mystery behind The Dark Sisters, her brother, her superpowers and a man called The Magister who is behind it all.

What I thought about the book

As a huge fan of Cassandra Clare’s other work, I was very excited to read her prequel series and see if it matched up to her original books, the Mortal Instruments. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about this series because it’s so different and yet so similar to her other stuff, but I wanted to pass my own judgement on it.

I think that as it’s own book, it was really interesting overall. The main problem with it, if you don’t compare it to the Mortal Instruments, is that the story drags a little bit and doesn’t ever reach a climactic point. It just kind of… keeps going. And going.

That being said, I think she does a really good job of introducing new readers to the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, and she creates a slew of new and interesting characters to relate to. I love that there are two main boys in this series, and I like that the storyline doesn’t revolve around love, but rather around the actual paranormal aspect of the book. Both Jem and Will aren’t your average “perfect” guys, expect for the fact that as Shadowhunters’ (children of the angel) they are beautiful… But I really don’t mind so much in her books because Clare makes it really clear that this is because of their heritage. Tessa has really  good interactions with all of the characters and the plot is really well set up for the rest of the series.

My main problem with the book as a whole is that it’s kind of forgettable. I mean, not because it’s bad AT all. I was really interested while reading the whole thing. It’s just that SO much happens and yet none of it really STANDS out to make the novel well remembered. I read this book two weeks ago and already have trouble remembering a lot of the detail. Clare is such a fantastic writer, but there are big parts of her books that could probably have been cut out to make the story more concise.

Compared to her past books, I really like the duality between her two main characters. In this book, Tessa is a Downworlder, which includes creatures like vampires, warlocks and werewolves. She has no idea that she belongs to this world, but her superpower automatically puts her into this category. Because I’ve read all of Clare’s other books, I thought it was really neat to see the perspective told from a Downworlder compared to Clary from the Mortal Instruments who is actually a Shadowhunter. They both have such different views of life in the world that Clare has created and I loved being able to see the two different sides of the spectrum.

I tried really hard not to compare the characters in both books, but I often found myself associating them to one another. Clare does a really great job of making all the characters distinct in her two series, but because you learn about the history in Clockwork Angel of the characters in all of the Mortal Instruments, it can sometimes be difficult to remember who is who.


I really enjoyed this book and will definitely read book two, Clockwork Prince, very soon. As I said, I’m a big fan of Cassandra Clare’s writing and I think the paranormal world she’s created with Shadowhunters is extremely interesting and different from your average vampire or werewolf book!

I really hope that book two develops more of the relationships between the characters in this story, but more than anything, can I just say that I’m totally TEAM JEM! I seriously hope something happens between him and Tessa! He’s so cute!

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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