Title: Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Fantasy/Adventure
Similar/Related to: The Mortal Instruments, The Dark Artifices, the Infernal Devices
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 here’s the thing- I first read Clockwork Angel when I was in middle school and I fell in love with the Infernal Devices series immediately. I reread this book in an attempt to see how my thoughts have changed! Mild Spoilers ahead.
IN TERMS OF CHARACTERS, I found that my opinions on Will, Tessa, and Charlotte really changed! When I was younger, I was absolutely crazy for Will Herondale- he’s the classic moody, dark, and passionate boy that sweeps the heroine off her feet. He is both mysterious and familiar, warm and distant- but this time around, I found him less entrancing. It may have something to do with the fact that I already vaguely know what his motivation is. I still think it gives him no right to treat Tessa the way he does. Speaking of Tessa: I still love her! I was relived that even though Clare uses the “chosen” trope, Tessa is strong, witty, and independent. However, I was surprised at the blatant internal sexism that she exhibits, (I reconciled that with the fact that she’s lives in Victorian Era London). Yet she really grows and evolves in this book to become the strong protagonist I admire, and it’s wonderful watching that journey in the first novel of the series!
I found that this time around I related more to Charlotte than any other character. She’s the head of the London Institute during a time when women were often talked over, questioned, and disrespected. Despite the institutional sexism and barriers, she is a natural born leader who fights for her convictions and cares deeply for everyone in the Institute. I think she’s an excellent feminist foil for Tessa (which is definitely something that I didn’t pick up on when I first read this series!).
SIDE NOTE: Henry is hilarious and I love him. I love how he both contributes to the Stempunk-esque flair in this novel with his inventor skills AND manages to retain some boyish charm.
IN TERMS OF THE PLOT/WRITING, I was actually still pretty surprised at plot twists despite the fact that I knew what happened in the book! The twist doesn’t come out of nowhere, and rereading allowed me to pick up on the little hints that Clare drops to piece together the truth of the Magister, their plans, and Tessa’s abilities/background. It was almost like rereading a mystery book and piecing together the hints as I went along! Clare is also very meticulous when world building in Clockwork Angel. She really brings the Victorian London and the Institute to life without delving into info-dump expositions or digressions. I love how she sprinkles it in with the most unassuming sentences- describing clothes, the weather, the Thames River….it really sets the tone for the rest of the series in the Shadowhunter World.
Overall, I’d give this book a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5! A wonderful read and a great start to the Infernal Devices Series.