Clockwork Prince: Infernal Devices, Book 2

Book review by
Karen Wirsing, Common Sense Media
Clockwork Prince: Infernal Devices, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Fantasy sequel has strong female characters, more violence.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 22 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Clockwork Prince offers a historically accurate depiction of the culture in mid-19th century London. It also introduces readers to 19th-century mystery as a genre. The many references to classics -- such as E.D.E.N Southworth's The Hidden Hand, Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes -- along with paraphrasing Tennyson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Shakespeare, will spark interest in and encourage teens to read different genres.

Positive Messages

Teaches girls that there are female heroines who can take care of themselves. Encourages women to find their own voice and stand on their own feet.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters display great strength and selflessness. Will, Tessa, and Jem will do anything for one another, as well as for their families. They each show strength in doing the right thing, even when the right thing is difficult to do.


The Shadowhunters train daily (with weapons) to be able to fight off evil demons and the clockwork army. A huge battle takes place where both men and women are hit and thrown to the ground. People are injured, and one person is killed.


Tessa shares passionate kisses with two different boys. In one scene, the kiss takes place in a bed at night, where the two lovers caress each other and remove clothing. There are also references to prostitution, and a sexually transmitted disease (demon pox) spreads.


The words "bastard" and "whore" are used.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In the first installment of this series, Clockwork Angel, Jem was injected with a terrible drug called yin fen (similar to opium). Now, he must take the drug daily to survive, yet it's also causing him a slow and painful death. Will goes to an opium den and uses yin fen in attempt to forget his troubles but instead learns a valuable lesson. Most of the werewolves and demons use the drug frequently. However, the opium den isn't glamorized and describes users in a very negative light.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Clockwork Prince is slightly more graphic than Clockwork Angel, the first installment in a series that features warlocks, vampires, demons, shape shifters, and Shadowhunters. The romantic scenes quickly heat up as teens form couples and passionately kiss and caress each other. Also, a sexually transmitted disease known as demon pox (the equivalent of 19th-century syphilis) floats among the demons. One detailed scene takes place in an opium den designed for Shadowhunters, where fantastical characters partake in abusing controlled substances. A descriptive battle takes place amongst the good and evil characters, and a major player is killed.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byApril R. February 4, 2016

I loved this series

Strangely enough, i loved the characters and interactions of the Infernal Devices, even more than the Mortal Instruments
Adult Written byvictorianmermaid August 6, 2015

Favorite series EVER!

I love this series. It is set in my favorite era, Victorian. Although you should know that there is quite a bit of violence, drug use, and passion between Tessa... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bythemortaldevices December 28, 2015

One of the best books I've read!

Don't let the age restrictions bother you. I started reading the Infernal Devices trilogy at the age of 11, and I enjoyed it a lot. I found myself getting... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byozera2008100 April 6, 2021


this book is vary passionate and has a lot of kissing,
I think you could be 12 but should wait to be 13 to fully take in the book

What's the story?

In Victorian London, 16-year-old Tessa is living with the Nephilim, a family of Shadowhunters who have been protecting her from the evil Magister. The Magister will stop at nothing to capture Tessa and use her shape-shifting abilities for his own malevolent agenda. The Clave challenges Charlotte, head of the Institute and mother figure to the house, to find the Magister and his clockwork army or give up her chair as the leader. Secret pasts are revealed and mysteries uncovered when Will, Tessa, and Jem unite to help Charlotte keep her role as head of the Institute. Along the journey, they discover the joy of love, the agony of betrayal, the excitement of masquerade, the atrocity of violence, and the heartache of a love triangle.

Is it any good?

CLOCKWORK PRINCE is as clever and witty as it is amorous and enthralling. Cassandra Clare has created a story of love, loss, and self-sacrifice that's difficult to put down. The consistent, descriptive backdrop of 1850 London offers readers an English escape, he characters are lovable, and the scenes are mostly engaging. Each character, quirky and unique in his or her own way, is on a road toward self-discovery and holds an invaluable role that completes their unbreakable, forged family unit.

The female leads (Charlotte, Tessa, and Sophie) model intelligence, strength, and independence. Although each plays a distinct role (one as head of the Institute, one an American mundane, the other a servant), each offers a strength the others lack. Charlotte is independent, Tessa is tenacious, and Sophie is resilient. As the three women struggle to  find their own identities, each comes to the realization that feminine strength is found within your individual voice -- and from being heard.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about drug use and violence. Do the scenes featuring these elements seem less real because the characters are fantastical beings? Would it be different if the characters were human?


  • This novel is an example of steampunk, a subgenre of science fiction whose stories are set in an era and place where steam power is used, usually the 19th century and often Victorian England. Leviathan is another example. Why do you think this genre is popular?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love vampires and werewolves

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