Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel 
By Cassandra Clare
Publication date: August 31, 2010

My review:

Tessa Gray arrives in London expecting to meet her brother Nicholas at the docks. Instead the Dark Sisters are waiting for her with a note from Nicholas saying that he can trust them to look after her. The Dark Sisters however have other plans for Tessa and she finds herself their captive. They claim that she has special powers and they train her against her will to use these powers to change shape at will. Tessa finds out that the Dark Sisters plan to hand her over to their master, The Magister, but she escapes with the help of Shadowhunter Will Herondale. Will takes her to the Institute, where she is protected by the Shadowhunters while they try to stop the Magister and find her brother.

Clockwork Angel is set in the same world as the Mortal Instruments series but in Victorian England rather than modern day New York and featuring a steampunk twist. I was worried that the characters in this series would be exactly like those in The Mortal Instruments but that was not the case. Tessa Gray is distinctly different from Clary Fray, the heroine of City of Bones, etc. Tessa is a Downworlder who had no idea that she was anything other than an ordinary human until she crossed paths with the Dark Sisters. Tessa’s perspective allows readers new to Cassandra Clare’s fictional world to understand the key players. I found Tessa to be a relatable character. She is someone who has survived painful loss and she may not be a warrior but she has her own unique strengths. It is fascinating to read about her abilities and try to figure out the mystery surrounding who she is. The two main Shadowhunter characters are Will and Jem. They are a contrast to each other and both are potential love interests for Tessa although it seems obvious that she will end up with Will. Will is cocky and adventurous but he has a troubled past. Jem is more sensitive and he appears to have a physical illness as well as serious secrets of his own.

While Tessa and Will have great chemistry, their romance lacks some of the intensity that was present between Clary and Jace in The Mortal Instruments. I found that to be refreshing and I felt that it reflected the Victorian time period. I enjoyed the romance but I equally loved the mystery. I did not figure out some of the big revelations so I found myself pleasantly surprised. The ending left me eager for the next book. Clockwork Angel is the excellent first book in what is sure to be an entertaining and well planned series. It more than measures up to The Mortal Instruments although it has a different feel to it. Fans of The Mortal Instruments will be glad to be back in the world of the Shadowhunters and new readers will find it a great introduction to Cassandra Clare’s series of fantasy novels. I would also suggest this to fans of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series and to those who enjoy the blend of paranormal and historical fiction.

Readalikes: The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle, The Agency series by Y.S. Lee (not paranormal but a YA mystery set in Victorian England)

Thanks to Around the World Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book.


  1. ohhh great review, Christina! I'm really really eager to read this one and see how different it is from the MI series (although a seemingly ordinary girl finding out that she's some paranormal character - apart from accounting for at least 75% of YA fantasy out there - seems a little close to the MI plot). Interesting! Thanks for such an informative review :D

  2. Great review! I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I agree that Tessa and Will didn't have a connection like Jace and Clary, but I loved the historical fiction aspect of this book, too. I already can't wait for book #2!

  3. I read Clockwork Angel first before reading the first Mortal Instruments book and actually am glad I did. It was the perfect introduction to the Shadow hunters. I do agree that Will will probably be the love interest, but I liked Jem better and can't wait to get more info on him in the next book. Great review.


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