Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare is the first book in the Infernal Devices series, set in the same universe as The Mortal Instruments but in 1870s London instead of 2000s New York.
Tessa follows her brother from New York to London after her aunt dies but when she arrives it isn’t to find her brother waiting for her. Instead she captured by a pair of warlocks who torture her to force her to use a power she never knew she had. Then she is rescued by a dashing young Shadowhunter — one of the part human, part angels who act like the supernatural world’s police force and protect humans from them — and taken to London’s shadowhunter Institute. And so begins the quest to find her vanished brother and discover why she was captured and where her mysterious power comes from.
I very much enjoyed Tessa as a main character. First, her fascination with books automatically makes her appealing to this book lover. Second, although she can’t run around kicking arse like many YA heroines (because she doesn’t know how and also impractical dresses), she is clever and manages to use that to her advantage as much as (or more, really) than her power. I found it realistic that her attitude at the beginning, when confronted with female Shadowhunters, was “golly women need men to look after them” and enjoyed watching this change throughout the book.
The two male leads, Will and Jem, are both appealing. Will for his alternating snark and charm and Jem because he’s so damn nice. While I know I have at some point been spoiled for which boy Tessa ends up with, I couldn’t actually remember while reading which made it more exciting, particularly since it’s not yet resolved by the end.
Overall, Clockwork Angel was a great, steampunky read which I enjoyed more than I’ve been enjoying the Mortal Instruments series (which is also good). Recommending for lovers of steampunk, YA fantasy, or evil automatons.
4.5 / 5 stars