Clockwork Angel: Infernal Devices, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

Victorian-era fantasy series starts with plenty of violence.





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. 

Not applicable
Not applicable
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.

Parents say

Kids say

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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
Parent Written byShadesOfRemorse June 15, 2012

Great read!

I, personally, loved it. My children read this and it is fine in my opinion. Although I am not a huge fan of neither her style of writing nor the genre, it was engaging.
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


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide