Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Summary from Goodreads:

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

The personalities of the main characters of the story seem to be quite similar to the ones found in Clare's The Mortal Instruments (TMI) series. It also played the forbidden love and love triangle angle as well. But I liked it better than Mortal Instruments because the romance was not as not too much on the fore front. There were less of the mushy dialogue about how the girl or boy longs for the other. There were less descriptions of how gorgeous the characters are which became a bit of a peeve for me in TMI.  I found that there were much more interesting characters here as well. Charlotte, the head of the Institute and the wife of Henry, someone who belies her age considering how she carries herself and her huge responsibility as Institute Head. Henry with his fumbling self and wacky inventions, always looked down upon by fellow Shadowhunters, relegated to being Charlotte's fool of a husband. Jessamine, a Shadowhunter (demon slayer) who longs to live a life of a Mundane (Ordinary Human). Sophie the help gifted with Sight, even has a nice back story in it. 

It is also because of the setting as to why I liked this one better. It is set during the Victorian Era of London. A time characterized by opulence and refined sensibilities and of a highly unique culture than any other era in London. In fact, the mode of transportation of the Shadowhunters in the story were horse-drawn carriages, which I found a bit hilarious at first. But I think it added charm to the story. Horse-drawn carriages, tea, petticoats and parasols in combination with seraph blades, witch light, and steeles. Mixing the old with the new, the normal with the fantastical. This one is also darker and grislier. What with mechanical humanoid armies, and creepy warlock sisters and their necromancy. And most importantly  it still has the witty, snarky, and funny dialogues that I've grown to appreciate in Clare's writing.

For my review of The Mortal Instruments 1-3 click here.

Clockwork Angel is the winner of the 2011 Silver Inky Awards and 2011 YALSA Teens Top Ten Award.

This is my 13th entry for the Award Winning Books Reading Challenge hosted by Gathering Books.


  1. Same thoughts here, Tin. Liked it better than Mortal Instruments even if the tropes were similar. I think the setting has a lot to do with it and the characters are a bit more reserved compared to their obvious TMI counterparts. Plus I love Charlotte and Henry!

    1. Hi Chris! I agree on the characters being more reserved and I like it more that they are that way too. And yeah, it's because it is set in the Victorian Era where the culture sort of dictates the "reservation" that we mentioned. Unlike in TMI, which is set in the today's time. :)

      I love Charlotte and Henry too! They make an unusual but lovely couple. Were you able to guess who the villain was? Because I wasn't able to. And I was surprised by the betrayal of ****! :D Were you able to read the second book, Clockwork Prince?


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