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File:Clockwork angel 4385.jpg


Gently, the tide is rising,

corrupting the mechanism.

Salt, rust, and silt

slowing the gears.

Down at the banks
Thames River Song, Elka Cloke

"Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When 16-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all." — back cover

The trilogy is written by Cassandra Clare as a prequel to her previous series, The Mortal Instruments. The first two books, Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince, have been released. This series has a character sheet, so please put all character-related tropes there.

Not to be confused with the third book of the Mortal Engines quartet.

Tropes used in Infernal Devices include:


  • Absent-Minded Professor: Henry - while not really being a professor in the first place. But he's a brilliant inventor who just happens to forget things.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Theresa Gray is called Tessa by most everyone, Tessie by her brother, and Tess by Will.
  • The Ageless: Vampires and werewolves stop aging after reaching maturity.
  • All Myths Are True
  • Arranged Marriage: Tess was going to be forced to marry the Magister before she was rescued.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Ni hen piao liang." Not just Chinese but also French, Latin, I believe some Greek...there's really quite a number of them.
  • British Accents - Tessa's brother Nate, despite being from New York, has one of these. He uses "oughtn't" on several occasions. You know, like every American.
    • Consider the time period, though. It's not too hard to believe that the educated Gray siblings would use more refined word choice, regardless of nationality.
  • Call Back: Magnus tells Tessa he has a thing for people with blue eyes and black hair. Who has blue eyes and black hair? Alec from Mortal Instruments! Though, since this is the prequel trilogy, it's really more of a call forward...
    • Also, Henry talking about inventing the Sensor.
    • Remember City of Fallen Angels when Jace sleeps in the Silent City and sees initials scratched onto the wall? Clockwork Angel reveals that those stood for "Jessamine Gray."
  • Chekhov's Gun: Will talking about Boadicea later on gives, Tessa the strength to fool the Magister
  • Chekhov's Gift: The tiny clockwork angel sure comes in handy
    • But we really don't know much about it
    • Also Tessa's dislike for chocolate, and the gift Nate gives Aunt Harriet...
  • Clockwork Creature: The automatons - humanoid clockwork creatures that answer to the Magister and that were planned to be infused with demon energies to create a clockwork army.
    • only very loosely "humanoid" and many times they are remotely humanoid they lack any facial features, up the creepy factor
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Jessamine, who despite trying all she can to be The Load can't deny her Shadowhunter heritage.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Will... most notably. But also, Tessa, Jem and Jessamine.
    • Sophie should get a special mention.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Tessa's and Jessamine's.
  • Definitely Just a Cold: Jem to Tessa.
  • Demon Slaying: The Shadowhunters' whole schtick.
  • Driven to Suicide: Subverted. Tessa pretends to kill herself to keep Mortmain from getting his hands on her power. In reality she Changed at the last minute into a woman who died of a gunshot wound.
    • Played straight with Barbara Lightwood and her brother.
  • Epigraph: At the beginning of each chapter (usually hinting at what's about to happen)
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Nate. What's with the constant brother/sister betrayals in Cassandra Clare books?
  • Even the Guys Want Him: De Quincy and Magnus Bane both hint at this about Will
    • Of course this applies to Magnus Bane as well since De Quincy was interested in him, "as more than friends".
      • Tessa didn't know what Magnus was hinting at, but that was because such things were unheard of in such a time period... (or just not talked about)
  • Expy: Will, who is basically Jace with different coloring. It's worth noting that Jace is an expy of the original Draco in Leather Pants. Critics argue that the rest of the cast are Expies as well.
    • It's true. Jem is a straight Alec (or in the case of the love triangle, Simon). Jessamine is a pre-feminism Isabelle. And Tessa is Clary with an attitude.
    • YMMV. Once analyzed, the only thing Will and Jace share is their snarkiness. And their last name
  • Faking the Dead: Tessa fakes her own suicide to prevent Mortmain from using her power.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Took care of Mrs. Dark quite nicely.
  • First Kiss: Will, for Tessa.
  • Five-Man Band: The Hero being Tessa in this case with Will as The Lancer, Jem as The Smart Guy, Thomas and Henry count as The Big Guy, and Charlotte is most definitely The Chick here.
  • Gaslamp Fantasy: Is most definitely this - Victorian London with magical elements.
  • Genre Savvy: Tessa.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Played with having Jem and Will be Tessa's angels. It doesn't hurt that they're both part angel.
  • Guns Are Useless: so it's best to just bring your seraph blade with you.
    • Although a few times, guns did come in handy... they just aren't magic.
  • Hair of Gold: Jessamine. Jem is (probably) white-blond.
    • Jem was probably darkhaired before the start of the series, considering his heritage.
      • Confirmed in the second book.
  • Halfbreed: Technically anyone of note in this series. Shadowhunters are half-angel half-human, Warlocks are half-demon half-human, Faeries are half-angel half-demon, etc etc.
  • Happily Married: The Branwells, more or less.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Will and Jem.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each book is titled "The Clockwork X".
  • If I Can't Have You: The reason for Sophie's scar.
  • The Infiltration: Having been given absolutely, totally false information that de Quincey is the Magister, the Clave devises a plan to have Will and Tessa enter one of de Quincey's lavish parties where he tortures mundanes like Nate by having Tessa transform into Camille Belcourt. At the sign of de Quincey breaking the Law, Will is supposed to signal the Clave so that they can kick some vampire ass.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Arguably Will, as he alludes to a traumatic childhood quite often.
    • Subverted with Jem, who had a very traumatic experience and seems to function quite well outside his "illness".
  • Jerkass: Will. He very occasionally strays into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory, but he really isn't.
    • Gabriel Lightwood, and probably his older brother, who can make the former look sweeter than gingerbread.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Love Triangle: Will-->Tessa<--Jem.
    • Jessamine lampshades it in Clockwork Prince

  Jessamine, mocking Tessa: Oh, I must choose between Will and Jem! Whatever shall I do?

  • Meaningful Name: Axel Mortmain makes mechanical devices.
  • Mundane Solution - Of the Ass Pull variety, when Mrs. Dark in demon form inside a pentagram can't be touched by seraph blades infused with the divine energy of God, but a falling chandelier kills her just fine. Sort of.
  • Morality Pet: Jem and Tessa, for Will.
  • Muggles: or, "Mundanes"
    • Which, actually makes more sense here when you think about it. "Mundane" means not sacred, ordinary versus divine. But, in Mortal Instruments it takes a bad meaning, sounding boring and the Shadow Hunters use it with bad connotations -- here it's more friendly.
  • Odd Friendship: Will and Jem.
  • Only Child Syndrome: The only characters who aren't only children are Tessa, whose search for her brother Nate who eventually betrays her, and is actually her cousin kicks off the plot, the Dark Sisters, Gabriel, whose siblings aren't seen until at least the second book, and Will whose younger sister comes to the Institute at the end of book 2. Aunt Harriet, who was Tessa and Nate's mother's sister, is dead. Everyone else's parents are either deceased or simply not there, leaving them only children.
  • Our Angels Are Different
  • Our Vampires Are Different
  • Parental Abandonment: Everyone suffers from this. And I mean everyone. Jem even mentions that everyone is an orphan.
  • The Reveal: Mortmain is ACTUALLY the Magister also, Tessa's dad was a demon who fooled his mom into thinking he was her husband, and having his half-demon warlock baby! BUT this is Mortal Instruments so expect some of this stuff to change as the series progresses.
  • The Woobie: Will, after we find out the Jerkass attitude is due to a curse that anyone who loves him will die.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots: The automatons - despite walking with a graceless gait, they can pass for normal humans well enough.
  • Running Gag: "There's no such thing as demon pox, Will!"
    • Many fans believe demon pox is a real disease and that may be the cause of Will's or Jem's problem
    • As it turns out, we find out in Clockwork Prince that Demon Pox IS a real disease, and Benedict Lightwood has had it for years and gave it to his wife, driving her to kill herself in shame. Will is so pleased about being right all along that he sings a song about it.
  • The Scapegoat: De Quincey, who unknowingly took the blame for being the Magister.
  • Scars Are Forever: Sophie, who has a long scar running down the side of her face that distorts her beauty.
  • Shape Shifter: Tessa! This starts off the whole story because of her ability to change into anyone, even possessing some of their memories and personality (she just has to touch one of their items to do it the first time)
  • Soap Opera Disease: Jem's. It was caused by a demon drug that was used to torture him and his parents when he was younger. There is no known cure for it, and he has to keep taking a specific drug to keep on fighting - as Brother Enoch says, taking the drug means a slow death, but keeping him off the drug would mean a quick one.
  • Stock Foreign Name: James and William.
    • Could be justified, considering how common those names were when the story is set.
  • Take Over the World: The Magister wants to do this, very much.
  • Token Trio: Will being the lead "white guy", Tessa being the lead "white girl", and Jem being the lead "ethnic guy".
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Wanna know if Will and Tessa kiss? good! Go here!
    • Luckily, it's not too much of a spoiler.
  • Trilogy Creep: The series can be considered one to the original Mortal Instruments series.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Will, Jem, and Tessa.
  • The Verse: This is a prequel to Mortal Instruments that takes place in the same universe.
  • Victorian London
  • Who You Gonna Call?: Shadowhunters.
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