Reading Level: Adult
Length: 12 hours and 45 minutes (320 pages)
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Release Date: March 9, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Clockwork Heart series
Source: Audiobook from Audible.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the first book in the Clockwork Heart trilogy by Pagliassotti. I have had this book in my to read pile for a very long time and was excited to finally get around to reading it. It was a very enjoyable steampunk fantasy with a lot of mystery and some romance.
I listened to this on audiobook and it was well done. The narrator did an excellent job of conveying emotion and I enjoyed her voice. There were a few spots where it was hard to tell who was talking (the voices just weren’t different enough between characters) but aside from that I enjoyed listening to this.
Taya is an Icarus, she wears giant metal wings and flies messages around the great city of Ondinium. Her life changes when she spots a failing in the wire ferry lines and ends up rescuing a woman and child from the Exalted caste of citizens. In an effort to thank her the Exalted draws Taya into her life and Taya gains a celebrity-like status. Suddenly Taya finds herself not only embroiled in high level politics but also trying to solve a mystery involving murder and theft.
I really enjoyed this steampunk mystery. There are some wonderful steampunk elements in the story, the characters are engaging and interesting, and the world-building is well done. There is a complex caste system that was well described. I also really loved the city of Ondinium and how is has multiple layers and runs off of analytical engines.
The book is mostly a mystery. Taya is following a series of accidents and coincidences to try and figure out what is going on. There is a bit of a romance as well, but I didn’t really feel like this book was a romance per-say (not sure why it is advertised as such).
Taya is an awesome character. She is curious and determined but never gets too serious. She doesn’t know when to stop and constantly runs herself into the ground trying to solve problems.
I also really enjoyed the character of Cristoff. He is an Exalted that left the caste to become a clockmaker among the lower caste. He is such a noble, honest, and geeky type that I just loved him.
This was an engaging read that I enjoyed. My only complaint would be that the story went a bit long, I think it would have worked better if it had ended earlier. There is some humor in here as well, which was fun.
I also have a very specific complaint as a chemist. At one point the character smells an ammonia-like smell and identifies it as methanol…totally not accurate. Methanol smells a lot like rubbing alcohol and absolutely nothing like ammonia. I know…I know a small quibble but it bugged me.
Overall this was a great book and I really enjoyed it. This book had some fantastic world-building, lots of fun steampunk elements, and very engaging characters. It is mostly a mystery with a bit of romance. I would recommend to fans of steampunk novels that involve a lot of political intrigue. I definitely plan on reading the last two books in this series.