When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, 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 of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by–and torn between–two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa 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.
I loved the Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare, so I was eagerly looking forward to her prequel series, The Infernal Devices. Set in the same world of Shadowhunters, but in Victorian England, I couldn’t wait to dive into this. It starts out fast, diving right into Tessa’s story and introducing us to Jem and Will. The love triangle gets set up early on, and it’s interesting to see how the relationship between the three of them unfolds.
The other secondary characters aren’t quite as fleshed out, but provide an interesting background to the rest of the story. And of course I loved the steampunk elements scattered throughout.
I had a an issue with Jessamyn – one of the shadowhunter children. She seemed almost like an afterthought, her story never really explained, her presence felt a little random. However, I wonder if this ambiguity means that her story will be more developed in book 2.
The romantic tension between Will and Tessa felt a tiny bit forced to me. I didn’t like Will as much as I wanted to, and I couldn’t understand what he’d done to make Tessa fall for him. He’d pretty much been a jerk from the beginning. That being said, he’s definitley the bad boy of the story and there is lots of potential for his character arc, so I’m really excited to see what happens with him.
Overall, this was a great set up for the rest of the series and I can’t wait to see what happens next between The Magister and the Shadowhunters. And of course I can’t wait to see what happens between Tessa, Jem, and Will. I have a feeling we’re in for a bumpy ride. And I plan on loving every minute of it!
I give Clockwork Angel 4 out of 5 stars.