Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Infernal Devices: Book one - Clockwork Angel

The Infernal Devices: Book one - Clockwork Angel

Cassandra Clare
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2010   ISBN: 978-1416975861

Tessa is delighted when she gets a letter from her brother Nate in which he invites her to come and live with him in England. Now that her aunt is dead, there is nothing to keep Tessa in America, so she quickly packs up and leaves the only life she has known.

At first Tessa is very worried when Nate is not there to meet her ship at the dock in Southampton, but when two women arrive to tell her that they are there to take her to her brother, Tessa is relieved. However her relief is short-lived because the two women imprison Tessa in a house in London and they force her to use a power that she didn’t even know she had. Tessa is able to change her shape, and someone who calls himself the Magister is determined to claim her for his own.

Thankfully, before the mysterious Magister has time to appear on the scene, Tessa is rescued by a young man called Will. Will takes her to a place called the London Institute, and there Tessa finds out that the world is a far more complicated place than she realized. Humans walk around mostly oblivious to the fact that there is a war going on in front of their noses. The war is between beings called Shadowhunters (Will is one of these) and demons. There is also a class of beings called Downworlders, which includes vampires, werewolves, warlocks, and faeries. According to one of the people Tessa meets, she is a Downworlder of some sort, though no one is sure what category she fits into.

It is decided that Tessa will be given sanctuary in the London Institute and that the Shadowhunters will do their best to help her find her brother. In turn, Tessa will use her extraordinary gift to help the Shadowhunters find out what a vampire called de Quincy is up to and what the Magister’s master plan is. The Shadowhunters don’t know much yet, but what they do know is that the plan afoot is surely a diabolical one, and that it must be stopped.

In this prequel to the Immortal Instruments trilogy, Cassandra Clare takes her readers on a thrilling and often terrifying journey into the underworld of Victorian London. Here vampires stalk humans, Shadowhunters destroy demons, and humans are killed so that their bodies can be turned into biddable clockwork soldiers. Tessa’s discoveries about who and what she is are fascinating, and readers will surely be eager to find out what is going to happen next.