lockwork Angel is the first book in Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices Series and is the prequel to the best-selling Mortal Instruments Series. The story follows young Tessa as she travels to London to live with her brother after their aunt dies. Tessa is soon kidnapped and introduced to the wide variety of Downworlders who want to force her dormant abilities out of her so they can use her as a tool.

Tessa is taken in by Shadowhunters who promise to house and protect her while her secret gift of changing into other people at will is examined. While living in the Institute with the Shadowhunters, Tessa finds herself torn between an attraction for the kind and genteel Jem, and the harsh and cruel Will.

When she makes the decision to love her brother enough to try to save him from the Downworlders, it affects the entire Institute and forces the Shadowhunters further down the road that may lead to their untimely deaths. Tessa must discover the truth of just how dangerous her love might be.

Long has it been since I stayed up half the night reading a book for the simple torture of not being able to part with it. You might as well have a takeout menu in hand and make your peace with chores not being done once you begin the journey of Clockwork Angel. The well-told story of Tessa’s plight of love and danger kept me so engaged that as the last page turned, it dawned on me that I’d read almost five hundred pages in less than twenty-four hours.

If you are the sort who is offended by the likes of Harry Potter, then I beg you not to look past the front cover. For those of you addicted to this delicious mystical genre for the pure fun of it, Cassandra Clare will become your new favorite flavor of fantasy fiction. Mixing relational tension with frightening events, Clare isn’t afraid to take chances with characters. At times she makes you hate them, but then somehow you’re still holding your breath when they get wounded.

For readers who have stayed up sleepless nights to read the Mortal Instruments Series, this prequel will not disappoint. There are familiar names and places, and a special guest appearance by our favorite warlock with a penchant for flair. Set in 1878, the cultures and language are different, but the Jaces of the day are still very much the same.

For those of you wary of prequels in general (Oh, Star Wars Episodes 1-3… why must you flaunt your mediocrity so?), have no fear. This story can stand on its own without the fame of the Mortal Instruments Series to lean up against. With the precocious Tessa as a replacement for Clary as the main character, I found the heroine less grating on my nerves and easier to pity, rally with and love through the entire story. Had I six thumbs to spare, I would give this book a six-thumbs-up review.