Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare


Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare


Title: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: 8-31-10

Pages: 479

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Steampunk, Paranormal


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…


After unsuccessfully trying to read and get sucked into The Mortal Instruments series, I decided to give The Infernal Devices a go with Clockwork Angel. I had heard that this series is better, and historical fiction is more my thing anyway. I was hoping to be blown away and finally get what all the hype is about…but I just wasn’t.

I’m giving it three stars because the storyline was pretty interesting and I liked the characters. I’m not sure if it was just me, but at times, I had a hard time remembering who was who, because there were quite a few characters. A few of them really stood out for me, though — Tessa, Jem, and Sophie. I was constantly annoyed at Clary in City of Bones, but I liked and admired Tessa’s character in Clockwork Angel. Jem was my favorite character, though. I think that, if I do eventually continue the series, it will mostly be to read more about him. I’ve heard so many people go on and on about Will…but he was just too much like Jace, with his cocky arrogance and wit. I’m sorry, but I don’t like asshole characters.

I loved the steampunk feel of this novel (I’ve never read anything from that genre before), and the Victorian era in which it was written. But it really didn’t feel like historical fiction should, at least in my opinion. Besides the infrequent additions of a few “old-timey” words and descriptions of fancy dresses, this novel could easily have been set in the modern world and I would never have known the difference. This book could’ve been amazing if more effort had been put into the historical aspect of this novel. I guess I would consider it “historical fiction lite” or something. This is a YA novel, though, so maybe it’s a book that will get high school kids interested in delving deeper into the historical fiction genre.

Ultimately, it was pretty riveting and I liked the characters, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the writing — both characterization-wise and, more specifically, with the descriptions. I will probably continue on with the series (eventually), as I liked it more than The Mortal Instruments, but I’m not expecting to be blown away by the rest of it.

(see this review on Goodreads)

5 responses to “Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

  1. I don’t even want to attempt to read The Mortal Instruments series. It’s way too long and seems like a series that really drags. I have, however, read Clockwork Angel, though! I liked it quite a bit, but I agree with you on many points…. Like Jem being a sweetheart.

    No, really, I loved Jem. He is just so sweet and nice. Like you, I don’t like asshole characters. Well, to be more specific, I don’t like asshole characters in love triangles. I do think they can be interesting characters to read about. Oh, and Tessa… Her bookishness and quiet way of fighting made me love her so much– I really connected with her.

    I didn’t really feel the steampunk in this book. I mean, I knew that there were steampunk things in it, but I just didn’t feel it– I hope that I am actually making sense >_< I thought the writing was pretty good, but it wasn't breathtaking like some writing I have encountered… Great review!

  2. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up (#4) | Tempest Books·

    • Thanks! Yeah, I’m not sure if I’m going to continue on or not. If I do, it probably won’t be for a while, since I have so many other amazing books that I’m actually looking forward to read!

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