Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Enjoyable, but didn’t capture me like The Mortal Instruments)

I fell head over heels in love with The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare as you can tell from my review of City of Bones and the next four books. Many of you recommended her trilogy to me, The Infernal Devices, so I picked up the first book and happily spent most of the past weekend immersed in Victorian England, reading about the Shadowhunters who came before Jace, Clary and the others.

cangelClockwork Angel filled the void left after I finished City of Lost Souls, and lucky me, I managed to drum up the willpower to save Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess for reading over Christmas.

Tessa arrives in rainy England in 1878 after coming all the way from New York to be greeted by two creepy old ladies instead of her older brother as expected. Soon she finds herself their prisoner and tortured daily because of her supernatural ability, a talent Tessa was completely clueless about until the Dark Sisters kidnapped her. Tessa is thrust into the Downworld of vampires, warlocks, Shadowhunters and demons. Tessa is a shapechanger. When she holds a physical item belonging to another, she can transform herself into that person as well as touch their thoughts and sense their feelings. This power makes her the target of the elusive Magister.

Tessa is given shelter in The Institute where she comes to know best friends Will and Jem. Will is very like Jace, cocky, beautiful and  full of self-loathing for some reason we have yet to discover. Jem, to me, seemed to be a mixture of Alec and Simon. He is absolutely loyal to Will but is also kind and compassionate. This wasn’t a typical love triangle. In fact very little romance occurs in this book, something that I did feel was lacking. I was hoping for some raw emotion and sexual tension and didn’t feel it. Maybe Clockwork Prince will sort that out. I enjoyed how Tessa’s views on what was proper for a lady  of her time period were challenged, and at the end, she fought just as bravely as Will and Jem. Even Jessamine, whose main concern in life seems to be with her looks and snagging an ordinary husband who can save her from a life as a shadowhunter, came through when her warrior skills were needed.

I enjoyed Clockwork Angel, but not as much as The Mortal Instruments books. I think the new cast of characters and era took me a little while to get used to, and though I sped through the book, it was only in the last third, I tore through the pages with anticipation. I didn’t feel the same level of excitement reading this as I did Jace, Clary and Simon’s story in modern times, but it’s still a great read. The sooty, dull and rainy landscape of London was particularly well done. I’m looking forward to reading the next two books, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess.

Entertaining and well-written. **** Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon.


For those of you who have read both series by Cassandra Clare, which do you prefer and why?


About Emma

Buffy fan, avid reader, writer.
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10 Responses to Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Enjoyable, but didn’t capture me like The Mortal Instruments)

  1. Mae Clair says:

    Which did I like better? Wow, that’s such a tough call. I read the first two books of The Infernal Devices series before reading The Mortal Instruments series, and generally my first exposure to something is the most magical. Plus on the whole, I’m besotted with Victorian London and like Steampunk, so the settings and time period of ID added to the magic for me.

    I really had a hard time with Will’s character though, whereas I liked Jace from MI right off the bat. Of the ID series, Clockwork Prince is my favorite of the three. I’ll also have to comment a lot more after you finish the entire series and post a review 🙂

    Character call is easier for me. Of both series, I liked Gem the best, with Jace a close second.

    • Emma says:

      That’s interesting. You read Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince first. I wonder if I’d read The Infernal Devices before The Mortal Instruments would I have had a different experience and ended up preferring Tessa’s story.

      I’m looking forward to Clockwork Prince. Think I’ll read it the day after I finish work for Christmas. 🙂

      I adored Jem, but like you, Will didn’t strike me as much. Thanks for your thoughts, Mae.

  2. Like Mae said, that is such a tough call, especially after you read them all. There are so many reasons why I like both. I had a hard time getting into the ID series at first, maybe because I read it too soon after the MI series. Jace and Clary were still so strong in my imagination. I think you’ll enjoy the rest of the ID series even more. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on them.

    • Emma says:

      Hi, Laura. I think I read this a bit too soon also and Jace and Clary and the others were still fresh in my mind. I have to give it to the author for the setting though. I could really visualise London on the late nineteenth century.

  3. sherry fundin says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. ^_^

  4. Shah Wharton says:

    Great review Emma. I keep meaning to get the books of Immortal Instruments. I watched the movie the other day and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. This series looks interesting esp because I love Victorian England as a setting. X

  5. fuonlyknew says:

    It’s a bummer when a book isn’t what you hoped it would be. Still, it sounds good and I’m looking forward to this series. And the cover art is so hard to resist! LOL

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