Review: Clockwork Angel


Clare, C. (2010). Clockwork Angel. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books. ISBN: 978-1416975861. Hardcover: $24.99. Also available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format.

After the death of her aunt, Tessa mysteriously receives a letter from her brother Nathaniel asking her to leave New York and join him in England. When she arrives, her brother is nowhere to be seen. Instead she’s taken to London by the malevolent Dark Sisters, and finds herself imprisoned and tortured for a power she never knew she had. Tessa can shape-shift into anyone, living or dead, and her ability makes her desirable to the Downworlders – warlocks, vampires, and other creatures. Tessa escapes her captivity and fall in with the Shadowhunters, who let her take refuge in their Institute. With the help of the Shadowhunters, Tessa begins a quest to find her brother, understand her powers, and discover her place in the supernatural world she never knew existed.

Clockwork Angel is an excellent example of the genrebending often found in YA literature. With its Victorian London setting and villainous clockwork creatures, it brilliantly captures the essence of the Steampunk genre. Carefully interlaced details of 19th century life make it a good fit for the Historical Fiction category as well, with added elements of Fantasy, Romance, and Horror. With so many genres covered in such a compelling story, the book is a great fit for teens with a broad range of interests. The series is a prequel to the Mortal Instruments series, which I haven’t read, but I never felt like I was missing anything from starting here. Some of the horror content is pretty graphic, so I’d recommend the book for older teens.

See more about this book and the rest of the series on the Shadowhunters website: (includes an audio excerpt from the book)

Also check out the author introducing the book:

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