I loved Boneshaker, the first book in Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series, so I was really looking forward to reading Clementine. I was not disappointed, I loved this book. It follows a different set of characters and can be read separately from the first book (although there is some reference to the events that happen in the first book).
Maria Isabella Boyd is a famous actress and Confederate spy; after the Confederates kick her out she goes to the Union to work for the Pinkerton Detective Agency there. There she is given a mission of ensuring some stolen cargo gets to where it’s suppose to be. Along the way she crosses paths with Croggon Hainey, who is an escaped slave turned air pirate. Croggon wants his ship, the Clementine, back and this just happens to be the ship that is carrying Maria’s cargo. Despite their different backgrounds and goals they are forced to cooperate in order to get what they want.
This book was just perfect. It is like a retelling of the Civil War era but with airships and crazy gadgets. It happens in a similar time frame as the first book, there is some mention of the crazy things happening in Seattle. You can’t help but love Maria with her “can do it” attitude and her absolute fearlessness. Priest gives us a civil war dame with a dangerous streak in Maria and it is wonderful. Croggon is another great character, he wants his ship back and will stop at nothing to retrieve it, still (like all good pirate characters) he has a sense of morality that won’t let him leave a comrade in a tough position.
The descriptions of the air battles are superb and the I can always picture exactly what Priest is trying to show me. The book is short, at barely over 200 pages, but the story packs a punch all the same. Issues of piracy, slavery, woman’s rights are all touched on in this very convincing re-imagination of this era.
I absolutely loved all the steampunk details and the descriptions are spot on. I really enjoy Priest’s writing style; she weaves a tight plot with wonderful action scenes and description. This book was truly a treat to read and I was kind of sad when it was over.
Overall just a wonderful book. I am really looking forward to reading the final Clockwork Century novel Dreadnought, which will be released late September 2010.
This book goes towards the following reading challenge:
– The 100+ Book Reading Challenge