Clockwork Angel: Infernal Devices, Book 1 Book Poster Image

Clockwork Angel: Infernal Devices, Book 1

Victorian-era fantasy series starts with plenty of violence.
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What parents need to know

Educational value

This book introduces teens to the Victorian age and provokes thinking about identity and what it means to be an outsider. Fans of the book will be excited to know that there are two planned sequels.

Positive messages

Tessa learns to embrace who she is and find comfort in her own skin, although it may not mold to her idea of "normal." 

Positive role models

There are many great role models who are selflessly willing to risk their lives in attempt to create a peaceful and better society. Tessa is a strong protagonist who fights to save the world -- and finds herself along the way.


This book is chock-full of violence, though it all takes place in a fantasy context. There are multiple kidnappings where people are forced to do things that they don't want to do. Battles take place where weapons are used between warlocks, shadowhunters, vampires, and mundanes. The battles are gory and some are written in great detail. Also, very likable characters are killed. 


Will implies that he has frequent sexual encounters with multiple women, but the language used is mild and of Victorian taste (i.e. subtle).  In one scene he offers Tessa an insulting proposition, inviting himself to "her quarters."  Also, the vampires are described as exuding sexiness with an attraction to all things of beauty, men and women alike. 

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Tessa's brother, Nate, is a gambling alcoholic. His excessive drinking is mentioned more than once and the reader witnesses him become violent after drinking too much brandy. Opium dens are referred to and addiction is discussed as, one character, James uses for survival. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Victorian vampire novel includes frequent battles with bloodshed, as well as talk of sacrificing humans and other beings.  Also, people do get murdered. Although the violence is gory, it all takes place in a fantasy world that includes vampires, shape-shifters, and more.

What's the story?

Set in the Victorian era, this story begins with Tessa moving from New York to London to live with her brother, Nate. Upon arrival, Tessa is disappointed to discover that Nate has sent two women to meet her in his place. Although Tessa is hesitant to go with the strange woman, she is persuaded and accompanies them to meet her brother. But her suspicions were correct: Tessa finds herself held hostage by the Dark Sisters, two warlocks who force Tessa to utilize a secret power that she never even knew she had: Shape shifting. She soon realizes that there is an amazing supernatural world beyond the mundane life that she is used to, a world made of vampires, shadowhunters, warlocks, and demons (not to mention the two supernaturally handsome men protecting her at all times). But will she be able to help the shadowhunters stop the evil Magister before he and his automatons take over the world?

Is it any good?


Clockwork Angel is a captivating novel that Twilight fans will enjoy sinking their teeth into. At the end of each chapter, the author dangles just enough information and action to keep the reader hooked. However, they may feel somewhat disappointed and dissatisfied by the book's conclusion, which leaves most of the mysteries unsolved -- an obvious ploy to get readers to buy the sequel.   

Even so, the author succeeds in offering enchanting and diverse characters placed in a well-constructed Victorian London setting. Readers will find the characters' background -- each was orphaned as a young child, has a secret past, and struggles with identity and longing for home  -- not only add to the mystery here, but also serve as a catalyst for thinking about themes of "otherness" and what it means to be exiled from a community. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about violence. This book has lots of gory battles -- but all the violence is set in a fantasy context. Does this make it easier to handle?

  • This is an example of steampunk, which Wikipedia defines as "a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history and speculative fiction that... involves an era of world where steam power is still widely used -- usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain -- [and] incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy." Leviathan and its sequel are other examples. Why do you think this genre is popular?

Book details

Author:Cassandra Clare
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Margaret K. McElderry
Publication date:August 31, 2010
Number of pages:496

This review of Clockwork Angel: Infernal Devices, Book 1 was written by

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Parent of a 14 year old Written byCynjit April 16, 2011

Great book for teens into fantasy!

Although it has violence, it has good strong characters and an interesting story line that will keep kids reading. There isn't a lot of sexual talk or bad language.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written bybandgeek8 September 3, 2011

Nice way to start the trilogy

I read this and couldn't put it down. I really like Tessa. SPOILER! when Tessa "stabbed' herself my heart dropped. I had to know what would happen next. You can totally tell that Will is related to Jace. END OF SPOILER! I like the mystery and elegance that is in it because of it taking place in 1800s London
Teen, 17 years old Written byBook Reviewer May 18, 2014


This is a great book for teens or more mature children (although I don't recommend any kid below 10). It's a action/adventure book that keeps you in suspense. Although there is a lot of violence, it doesn't go into much detail about deaths. One of the main characters is dependent on a drug to live but it isn't focused on a lot in this book. Swearing is limited. I found book this particularly interesting as it is set in London, 1878. And I love the magical warrior like thing. If you or your kid likes that kind of thing than this is perfect. Tessa also is on a self discovery journey that everyone experiences so she is a great role model and very relatable.
What other families should know
Great role models