Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

(Cover picture courtesy of Fantastic Fiction.)

When Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother in Victorian England, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld.  Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, who are members of a secret organization called the Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she has the power to transform into another person.  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, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons.  She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James and Will.  As Tessa is drawn deep into a plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, she 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.

Even after more than a week has passed since I finished reading Clockwork Angel, I’m still not sure how I feel about it.

On one hand, Tessa Gray is a great character.  She’s not nearly as helpless as Clary is at first in City of Bones.  She does anything to save her brother Nathan, even if it means submitting to the torture the Dark Sisters put her through to train her to use her shape-shifting power.  But while Tessa is three dimensional, some other characters like Will and Jessamine are not.  Will is cold, distant and appears to be a womanizer, just like Jace was at first.  He’s the stereotypical bad boy with a tragic backstory that made him that way, which makes Clockwork Angel feel like City of Bones rehashed.

What saves this novel is that it is set in a different time period with a different enemy: the mysterious Magister and his freaky robots.  The plot is fast-paced and readers of The Mortal Instruments will recognize Magnus Bane and a few family names, like Lightwood and Herondale.  We also find out why the club where Clary first saw Jace is called Pandemonium; it really does have an interesting backstory.  If you’re completely new to Cassandra Clare’s writing I would recommend reading the first three Mortal Instruments books before reading Clockwork Angel because you’ll get a lot more out of it.  It’s not necessarily a requirement, but things will make a lot more sense.

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

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