Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare | Book Review
Updated: Mar 27
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Clockwork Angel is the prequel of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter novels. Tessa Gray arrives in London expecting to meet her brother Nathan. Instead, a pair of women called the Dark sisters are waiting for her. Under the pretense of being sent by her brother, the sisters take Tessa under their wing. But what waits for Tessa in the Dark sister’s house is nothing pleasant. They force her to do things she never thought possible. Tessa enters the dark world that is home to vampires, demons, warlocks, and more. Her only hope lies in the London Shadowhunters. Will and Gem will do all they can to save Tessa and her brother, but nothing will prepare them for what’s to come.
There are a lot of Shadowhunter terms used with little explanation. If I didn’t have a clear image of the world, I would easily have been lost reading this. The characters also don’t have the same type of chemistry. The mood between Tessa, Will, and Jem is icy at best and slowly works its way into something more as the story progresses.
When I first started reading Will’s sarcastic comebacks, he felt a lot like Jace in Mortal Instruments. I was worried there would be a repeat characterization, but I was proven wrong. Will is vicious in this first novel. Just when the character started to grow on me, I realized his words were just as sharp as his blades. Both aimed to cut as deeply as they can. That’s not to say Cassandra Clare didn’t build enough of a backstory to understand it. She certainly gave the reader enough pain and suffering for him to act this way, but it didn’t make for a likable character. It certainly paves the way for a redemption arc that I hope to see in book two.
I wanted more of Jem. He was quiet in the first book and pushed into the background of scenes. Often times when Will was on a tirade, I silently wished for Jem to barge in and stop him. The slight mystery that surrounded Jem, didn’t really sink in for me with so little page time. The best moments were always when Will and Jem were together. They compliment each other so well. Of course, being Parabatai I’m sure helps.
Despite some hiccups with the characters, I love this world. The battles, the tension, the potential of it all makes me crave more. I want to learn about the history of the Shadowhunters, the before moments for characters I came to know and love in the series.
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