Early Review: The Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato (Clockwork Dagger #2)


The Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato // VBC ReviewThe Clockwork Crown (The Clockwork Dagger #2)
Beth Cato
Published: June 9, 2015 (Harper Voyager)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books in the series. If you haven’t started yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, The Clockwork Dagger.

Medician Octavia Leander and her Clockwork Dagger Alonzo Garret have escaped from the Wasters who wanted to use her powers and are now on the run for their lives. Their former captors continue to pursue them, as do their own country’s assassins who would rather kill Octavia than let her fall into enemy hands. I was completely riveted by this action-packed story.

They flee to the south into Tamarania, where Alonzo’s family keeps a home. But they never stay in one place for very long. I liked getting to see even more of Cato’s fictional world. Each of the cities has a distinct look and personality, while barren wastelands and lush forests fill the spaces in between.

The Clockwork Crown incorporates new steampunk elements like giant mechanical animals that battle in an arena. The buzzers and dirigibles are still there as well, along with the gremlins. I loved seeing those adorable chimeras again and learning more about how they were made. I also liked the introduction of Alonzo’s family, as well as Mrs. Stout’s. Her relatives provide some welcome pieces of backstory and lots of surprises.

I felt like the relationship between Octavia and Alonzo was a much bigger part of the story than it was in the first book, although when I re-read The Clockwork Dagger I thought the romance was more prominent than it seemed on my first reading. Octavia starts to understand her feelings and they become obvious to those around her. But Octavia wonders if she’ll survive to pursue her happily ever after, and I wasn’t so sure for a while there either.

Octavia’s powers have been growing and changing. She’s being drawn to The Lady’s tree, the source of her medician magic and the object of her worship. But she’s also increasingly frustrated with The Lady who seems to be demanding too much of her. I thought it was interesting that Octavia questions The Lady but never her faith, given her society’s preference for science over magic is so often thrown in her face. It’s ironic for a steampunk novel to support an anti-modern philosophy, but I feel like that’s what happens here.

The Lady also influences some of the characters who have wronged Octavia as they get a chance to atone for their actions. I wonder though, whether everyone truly gets what they deserve. I also thought a few of the supporting characters, especially the Garrets, got lost at the end of the book.

I was initially disappointed that there would only be two books in this series, but so much happens in The Clockwork Crown. I thought Octavia’s story was wrapped up nicely. There’s still plenty of room for other books in this world though. I would love to see a series set at Miss Percival’s medician academy, similar to Gail Carriger’s Finishing School.

Sexual content: kissing

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