Steampunk Review: ‘Clementine’ by Cherie Priest

Clementine (The Clockwork Century, #1.1)The Clockwork Century was a five book series.  Right?  It is a completed series with five books.  If I go to my library, get into the catalog, I can count the damn things.  One, two, three, four, five.  It is that easy and I would assume that like many series anything else involved with the series would be a throwaway story; short and only loosely connected.

So someone bring me the head of the marketing genius that hid the most entertaining story of the entire series as a special release!  Oh I was aware of Clementine, but as I didn’t have an e-reader at the time and the special print run was running in the ‘way more than I would pay’ range I assumed I could safely skip it.  And to be fair, nothing happened in this book that was a required plot thread for understanding later books (though outside of Boneshaker, the same could be said of most the series).  But still, I would have loved to meet Maria when I should have met her, several years ago when I first read Boneshaker!

I was expecting a short story; instead I got a short book.  (200 pages counts as a novel, I even asked important people to verify that).  But damn was it fun.

This was a fast paced chase, nothing more, but well-crafted and entertaining throughout.  New Pinkerton agent Maria is sent to chase down and stop former slave current air pirate Captain Hainey, who himself is chasing down the thief who took off with his rightfully stolen ship.  Eventually their paths cross and their goals are modified as the full extent of events surrounding the situation are brought out.

Priest has always managed to pull me into to her stories because she writes some of the most entertaining people on page.  I knew to expect awesomeness from Maria due to her role in Fiddlehead and wasn’t disappointed.  Morally ambiguous is a rough term, while she isn’t afraid to take a shot she is a good person.  The smartest person in the book, and possibly the most dangerous.  Hainey is amazing, I would almost forget he is a pirate looking for vengeance; I just want to hang out with him when the whole chase is done.

Recommended for fans of the series, but wouldn’t be a good starting place; events in Boneshaker are still probably need for the set up, but it could safely be read at any time after that.  Outside of Dreadnaught this is the most ‘steampunk’ of the series, the airship chase showed how fun that could be (and I couldn’t help but grin when Hainey finally lifted up the much talked about Rattler).

Proof that less can sometimes be more, this book stripped away all the unnecessary stuff and gave a very tight and very fun story back.  Damn good.

4 Stars

 

P.S. Thanks again Pabkins

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