The GearMaker’s Locket by Shannon L Reagan – 4 stars
Mechanical prodigy, Copper Rose, discovers a locket while cleaning out her grandmother’s attic. Inside it, gears turn of their own accord. She flips it open to investigate the inner workings and is swept away to a world of airships, huge buildings and massive plant life. She becomes a reluctant guest to Bromin Shere, the cruel leader of half of the land. He claims to be a living machine and he believes she is capable of making more living machines. It’s a life she never imagined. But will she survive?
This wonderfully imaginative story is full of whimsy and cleverness. The characters are entertaining and developed, the story is surprising and believable, and the villain is a really bad guy. I’d never read clockpunk fantasy before, and am quite glad I found this example of it.
It does need a bit of a touch-up in terms of editing, as a small number of the passages are a tiny bit confusing. Only the nitpickier types (such as myself) will notice, as ordinary typos are quite few and far between.
The main reason I docked this book one star is the ending: a cliffhanger. While I don’t mind (and tend to expect) that from a book 2, this is a book 1. It made the ending entirely unsatisfying, as cliffhangers do, which is a wretched place to be when the next book isn’t available yet.
People who enjoy clockwork stories and sassy female protagonists will enjoy this book, and I look forward to the next installment, whenever it may be released.