Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.
Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.
What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together.
Review: This is another example of me branching out of my familiar contemporary and historical safe place and trying out something new – and in this case, I’m very glad I did! CLOCKWORK is full of incredibly imagined inventions, traditions, cultures, and cities, and the world is remarkably well-realized. Every scene and element of the setting is evocative, and I felt completely transported. The plot moves along quite well, and despite some romance that at times feels a little expected and ordinary, Maeko does deal with some real emotions and, as a heroine, she is a great example of a girl who can stand on her own two feet and defend herself but is also vulnerable to hurt and in need of others at various times. She makes some big sacrifices, sometimes good and sometimes bad decisions, and is altogether a character who is true to herself, even as that self changes. The story was suspenseful and exciting, and as it charged to it’s end I was reading as fast as possible, desperate to find out what would happened. I definitely recommend this book, and even if steampunk is a little outside your normal reading materials, this is a great story to launch yourself into a new adventure. Also, is that not an AMAZING cover?!
Nikki lives in the magnificent Pacific Northwest tending to her husband and three cats suffering varying stages of neurosis. She feeds her imagination by sitting on the ocean in her kayak gazing out across the never-ending water or hanging from a rope in a cave, embraced by darkness and the sound of dripping water. She finds peace through practicing iaido or shooting her longbow.