Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

In Victorian London, a young girl discovers a world of demons, warlocks, and shadowhunters while searching for her missing brother.


"Clockwork Angel" is the first installment in "The Infernal Devices" series by Cassandra Clare. This young adult steampunk fantasy novel takes readers on a journey to Victorian London, where they are introduced to a world of magic, mystery, and danger. The story follows the adventures of Tessa Gray, a young girl with a unique ability, as she becomes embroiled in the supernatural underworld of the Shadowhunters.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

The story is set in 1878 in a fictional version of Victorian London, where supernatural creatures, warlocks, and Shadowhunters coexist alongside ordinary humans. Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl, travels to London to reunite with her brother, Nathaniel. However, upon her arrival, she is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters, who force her to develop her ability to transform into another person at will.

Main Characters

Tessa GrayThe protagonist, a young girl with a mysterious power
Will HerondaleA handsome and enigmatic Shadowhunter
Jem CarstairsWill's parabatai, afflicted by a mysterious illness
Charlotte BranwellThe head of the London Institute, a sanctuary for Shadowhunters
Jessamine LovelaceA discontented Shadowhunter residing at the Institute
Henry BranwellCharlotte's absent-minded inventor husband

Story Points Over Chapters

Chapters 1-5

Tessa arrives in London and is immediately captured by the Dark Sisters, who reveal her unique ability. She meets the enigmatic Will Herondale and the kind-hearted Jem Carstairs, who rescue her from the clutches of the Dark Sisters.

Chapters 6-10

Tessa settles into life at the London Institute, where she meets Charlotte, the head of the Institute, and her husband, Henry. She also encounters the rebellious Jessamine, who resents her life as a Shadowhunter.

Chapters 11-15

Tessa continues to train with the Shadowhunters while trying to uncover the truth about her brother's whereabouts. Will's mysterious past and his growing bond with Tessa become more prominent.

Chapters 16-20

The Magister, a powerful and elusive figure, begins to pose a threat to the Shadowhunters. Tessa's loyalties and trust are put to the test as the danger escalates.

Chapters 21-25

Secrets unravel, and betrayals come to light as the characters face increasingly perilous situations. Tessa's own powers and her role in the Shadowhunter world become more significant.

Main Events

  1. Tessa's kidnapping by the Dark Sisters and the revelation of her shapeshifting ability.
  2. The introduction of Will and Jem, who become key figures in Tessa's life.
  3. Tessa's adjustment to life at the London Institute and her growing involvement in the Shadowhunter world.
  4. The looming threat of the Magister and the escalating danger faced by the characters.
  5. The unraveling of secrets and betrayals that test the characters' loyalties and trust.

Themes and Insights

Love and Friendship

The novel explores the complexities of love and friendship, particularly through the relationships between Tessa, Will, and Jem. It delves into the sacrifices made for those we care about and the challenges of navigating feelings in the midst of danger and uncertainty.

Identity and Belonging

Tessa's journey of self-discovery and her struggle to find her place in a world filled with supernatural beings reflect the theme of identity and belonging. The exploration of one's true self and where they fit in the world is a central aspect of the story.

Betrayal and Loyalty

Betrayal and loyalty are recurring themes as characters grapple with trust and deception. The novel delves into the consequences of betrayal and the enduring nature of loyalty, especially in the face of adversity.

Reader's Takeaway

"Clockwork Angel" offers readers a captivating blend of fantasy, mystery, and romance set against the rich backdrop of Victorian London. The intricate world-building, compelling characters, and suspenseful plot keep readers engrossed from beginning to end. The themes of love, friendship, and identity resonate with audiences, making the novel a compelling and thought-provoking read.


In "Clockwork Angel," Cassandra Clare weaves a spellbinding tale of magic, danger, and intrigue, drawing readers into a world where shadows hold dark secrets and alliances are tested. With its richly developed characters and immersive setting, the novel sets the stage for an enthralling series that will leave readers eagerly anticipating the next installment.

Clockwork Angel FAQ

  1. What is 'Clockwork Angel' about?

    Clockwork Angel is the first book in Cassandra Clare's 'The Infernal Devices' series. It follows the story of Tessa Gray, who discovers her ability to shape-shift and gets caught up in the supernatural world of Shadowhunters in Victorian London.

  2. Who are the main characters in 'Clockwork Angel'?

    The main characters in 'Clockwork Angel' include Tessa Gray, Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs, Jessamine Lovelace, and Charlotte and Henry Branwell.

  3. Is 'Clockwork Angel' connected to Cassandra Clare's other books?

    Yes, 'Clockwork Angel' is part of the Shadowhunter Chronicles and is connected to 'The Mortal Instruments' series. It is set in the same world and features some overlapping characters.

  4. What genre is 'Clockwork Angel'?

    'Clockwork Angel' is a young adult fantasy novel with elements of romance, adventure, and supernatural intrigue.

  5. Is 'Clockwork Angel' appropriate for all ages?

    While 'Clockwork Angel' is primarily targeted at young adult readers, it may contain content that is more suitable for older teens due to its themes and some mature content.