Reading Level: Adult
Size: 384 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd book in the Clockwork Dagger duology
Source: ARC from Edelweiss.com
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
This is the second book in the Clockwork Dagger duology and did an excellent job of wrapping up this series. This was an amazing blend of alternate history, steampunk, and magic. I loved the characters and the world-building. The book was perfectly paced and the writing style flowed well and was easy to read.
Octavia Leander and Alonzo Garrett are on a quest to find out why Octavia is so powerful and changing in such strange ways. Aloza gave up his career as a Clockwork Dagger when he went against his orders and saved Octavia. Now they are both dodging assassins and others who want to use Octavia as their own. They hope to find out why Octavia is so powerful, how that ties into the mystical Lady’s Tree, and whether or not all of this will tie in to them finding a way to eliminate the rot that has taken hold in the kingdom.
I really loved this series and thought this book tied it up beautifully. There are many steampunk elements in here as well as a lot of magic and I enjoyed how the two were blended together. For steampunk elements you have things like airships, gremlins that are a blend of organic and mechanical components, artificial limbs, and crazy devices. For magic you have Octavia’s crazy healing and medician powers, which have gotten incredibly strong and out of control in this book.
The majority of the story is about Octavia’s quest for knowledge about her condition. She has gotten so powerful that she mentally hears every single person’s health and ailments in her head. As things progress she also finds that parts of her skin are turning to bark just like the Lady’s Tree. Her struggle for knowledge turns into a desperate race to save not only herself but the kingdom that is rotting around her. I really enjoyed her as a character. It’s not often that you see a healer-type of character as the main hero in an epic struggle like this and I enjoyed it.
I also enjoyed the contrast of Octavia’s almost religious-like healing magic with the mechanical heavy world around her. In this book she travels to regions that flat-out forbid magic; even when that magic could save the lives of people who are injured there.
The relationship between Octavia and Alonzo isn’t a hot and steamy one, but it is a relationship based on mutual respect and trust. Their relationship builds at more of a slow simmer than a lot of couples you typically see in books. However because of that I thought it was more realistic and really enjoyed reading about it.
The story is beautifully written, flows well, has a ton of action, and some humor too. It all balances very nicely to makes a story that is fast-paced and hard to put down.
Overall I thought this was a wonderful steampunk read with magic. I loved the world, the characters, the steampunk elements and how that was balanced with Octavia’s healing magic. I wasn’t sure where this second book was going to take us, but I ended up really enjoying how it focused on Octavia and her quest to understand The Lady’s Tree. This duology is highly recommended to fans of fantasy and steampunk books.