The Clockwork Dagger

The Clockwork DaggerFull Of Magic, Mystery, And Romance, An Enchanting Steampunk Fantasy Debut In The Bestselling Vein Of Trudi Canavan And Gail CarrigerOrphaned As A Child, Octavia Leander Was Doomed To Grow Up On The Streets Until Miss Percival Saved Her And Taught Her To Become A Medician Gifted With Incredible Powers, The Young Healer Is About To Embark On Her First Mission, Visiting Suffering Cities In The Far Reaches Of The War Scarred Realm But The Airship On Which She Is Traveling Is Plagued By A Series Of Strange And Disturbing Occurrences, Including Murder, And Octavia Herself Is ThreatenedSuddenly, She Is Caught Up In A Flurry Of Intrigue The Dashingly Attractive Steward May Be One Of The Infamous Clockwork Daggers The Queen S Spies And Assassins And Her Cabin Mate Harbors Disturbing Secrets But The Danger Is Only Beginning, For Octavia Discovers That The Deadly Conspiracy Aboard The Airship May Reach The Crown Itself This book passed an important test I chose to read it out loud to my wife.We read together pretty regularly I don t know how many other people do that but for me, at least, it s a way to enjoy a story physically, when I know it s worth it Usually, i ve read the book silently before we read the book together.So this is a pretty fun book.In the knowing what you re getting into department This is steampunk, ticking off all the usual boxes Airships, clockwork golems, and other mechanical marvels Victorian social s though the setting feels like Germany just after the 1918 armistice than Victorian Engliand But it s steampunk fantasy, not steampunk pure and simple This is not our world The protagonist, Octavia Leander, is a magical healer, and has a mystical relationship to divinity, in the form of the Lady and the Tree, protectors of nature and restorers of health and vitality, in a world determined to mechanize everything.In the knowing where it s going department Because Octavia is incredibly powerful and gifted in her magic, she has become unbeknownst to her a target of interest both to her own government and its terrorist guerrilla liberation army enemies What should have been an uneventful airship ride to her new job becomes a sequence of dangers Someone tries to stab her Someone tries to push her off the airship And that s just for starters They re still warming up, and she hasn t got a clue about why Meanwhile, she s starting to feel some really inappropriate feelings toward the steward, and she isn t sure what to do about them.Some reactions The plot is very tightly constructed, and the mystery like reveals as the true situation develops work very effectively An alert reader of mysteries will be rewarded by the clues Beth Cato drops in advance But they had better be very alert She also does some incredible technology vs mother nature moves that explore very interesting philosophical issues along the way One of the most fun things about the plot is the sideplot involving a lost princess, hiding in plain site as the dowager widow, Mrs Viola Stout Viola is a hard character to get out of your mind.A fun read Worth the effort to get your hands on To see other reviews I ve written, check out my blog Octavia Leander is a gifted medician, so upon leaving school, she boards a dirigible for parts unfamiliar, where a terrible epidemic is reported to be raging But sometimes the journey is what matters, and that s the case here, as Octavia meets Alonzo, a handsome and perhaps overly helpful steward, and her roommate, Mrs Stout, a kindly older woman But not everyone is so nice, as Octavia discovers that there may be a plot to kill her I have to thank Orient for recommending this book to me click her name to see her glowing review This was a really enjoyable book set in a well developed world with a mixture of steampunk, religion, political intrigue, and personal entanglements that made for a fast and gripping read I ll admit that early on I rolled my eyes a bit at Octavia s Speshul Snowflake status, as she s the most powerful medician to live in just about forever, but as the story went on, that played out in interesting ways than I expected Octavia struggles with her abilities, and they contribute to some difficulties that kept the story firmly grounded in the personal even as the bigger picture of war torn nations and misguided leadership emerged I m especially intrigued by the religious aspect of this story, as Octavia s powers come to her through The Lady and The Tree, both of which are real, but not easily understood nothing is made too simplistic or obvious, and the Lady certainly doesn t seem to be all good I really hope to learn about this mythology in the second and only other sob book in this duology I already have it sitting on my to read pile I also really enjoyed what appears to be a romance between Octavia and Alonzo Nothing develops between them too quickly, and the story shows them earning each other s trust and respect, not necessarily eagerly but because they have to rely on each other Sometimes a slow burn beats all those instant sparks Thank you, Orient, for steering me to this Review courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick Dirty In theory, I should have liked everything about The Clockwork Dagger There s betrayal and political intrigue, romance and adventure The unfortunate reality is that it felt flat Cato s descriptive writing made it incredibly easy to taste the dust of the war torn world and feel the shadow from a dirigible floating overhead, yet her characters were bland and inconsistent The story takes place in a creative and comprehensive Steampunk world but the reliance on the mystical Lady for everything that happens is tiring Cato has potential but I ll pass.Opening Sentence Octavia Leander s journey to her new source of employment was to be guided by three essential rules that she hide her occupation, lest others take advantage that she be frugal with her coin and avoid any indulgences that come with newfound independence and that she shun the presence of men, as nothing useful or proper could possibly happen in their company.The Review Reading a book is a lot like meeting someone new Sometimes you hit it off right away, instantly enjoying each other s company and effortlessly forming a tight bond Other times, that connection takes a while but it does eventually form after you ve spent some time getting to know each other Then there are the it s not you, it s me times when things simply don t click Something is missing and no amount of time or effort is going to change the fact The Clockwork Dagger and I fall into the third category.Octavia Leander is probably one of the most annoyingly oblivious characters I ve come across Despite being powerful than THE Miss Percival of the renowned Miss Percival s medician academy, Octavia refuses to see she has an extraordinary connection with the mystical force known as the Lady She thinks her ability to hear the music of any living being s body without the typical medician tools is just a fluke Her uncanny success rate is due to luck, and definitely not mysteriously connected to the physical urge to make a blood donation to the Lady after a particularly powerful healing spell.Which is why she s so shocked when she learns Miss Percival is outsourcing her to a small village between the warring nations of Caskentia and Dallows With no friends, little money and a dangerously depleted supply of healing herbs, Octavia boards the older and slightly dingy dirigible named the Argus Octavia isn t happy about the mode of transportation given her parents were incinerated when one crashed on her village but what can she do Miss Percival has made it clear the academy needs the money and Octavia is the only one she can send.After playing a role in a twisted display of the town s poverty, Octavia finds herself in danger of missing her ride The first of many coincidences occurs when a kind gentleman by the name of Alonzo Garret steps in to escort her to the Argus where he works as a crewmember Octavia is instantly attracted to Alonzo until she learns he s the son of the man who caused the dirigible to crash into her village She relives the agony of being the only survivor of the tragic accident Alonzo s dad was flying a small plane, defending Caskentia s borders against an air attack by a Darrows airship when one of his shots caused the thing to explode remember photos of the Hindenburg The dirigible crashes and takes down his plane, killing himself and everyone on the ground except Octavia.Only the introduction of Mr Drury makes Octavia reconsider her stance on Alonzo Drury, the slimy salesman of a product called Royal Tea is obsessed with getting Octavia to drink his wares He corners her and her modern day woman roars, with only Alonzo s sudden appearance saving Mr Drury from a crotch kick and face full of pepper spray Alonzo escorts Octavia to her room, where they meet Mrs Viola Stout, Octavia s much older and heftier roommate Mrs Stout develops a motherly attentiveness in keeping Octavia s modesty in tact after noting how handsome Alonzo appears and firmly implants herself in Octavia s life for the remainder of the flight But, not long after they take off, Octavia discovers a death threat in their shared room but brushes it off No one can know she s a medician and alerting Alonzo to the death threat will only raise questions she can t answer She doesn t deem it worthy to warn her roommate that someone with ill intent has already entered their room Instead, Octavia conveniently forgets she offered to trade bunks with Mrs Stout until she returns after dinner to a blood bath.As they continue on the trip, it becomes clear Octavia s connection to the Lady has drawn unwanted interest Caskentia, Octavia s own country, has sent its deadly assassins known as the Clockwork Daggers to determine the threat she presents and to keep her out of the hands of the Darrow s Wasters by any means necessary Octavia is shocked to learn that her connection with the Lady and power it brings is so coveted by both sides and yet she still doesn t acknowledge the special connection To make things convoluted, the lost Caskentian princess pops up with some hefty post traumatic stress disorder symptoms and Octavia is forced to make a hefty decision that will affect everyone s lives.You know how actors in bad B movies are caricatures than characters That s what this felt like Every action was exaggerated, every nuance comical in its portrayal from Octavia s innocence turned badass heroine to Mrs Stout s name and physical description Take the situation with Alonzo Even though she just met the guy, she admonishes herself for thinking him kind because she can t possibly ever be interested in a man who s remotely associated with her parent s death If you re like me, your first thought after reading that is Huh Besides the whole insta love thing, this perplexing attempt to create friction between love interests approximately two chapters into the story was the timer bell on our speed date Octavia is going to hate on the man who lost his father in the same horrendous accident that took her parents Sure, technically Alonzo s father caused the airship s fiery crash and Octavia could be reacting in the irrational way survivors of horrendous things do Yet her reaction doesn t make sense as the character she s portrayed to this point It s been established that she s never been close to anyone because of her abilities and deeply desires a connection with another person Why then would she not befriend a man who shares such a tragic history There are numerous instances of this awkward character dichotomy, making it impossible for me to connect with Octavia specifically and others characters generally The second glaring instance is when Octavia meets Mr Drury Then again, later, when a number of gremlins are slaughtered and Octavia bounces a wooden tray off people s heads to save the one she rescues and names Leaf These reactions aren t consistent with the virginal, modest Victorian society Cato built and felt like nails down a chalkboard as I was reading.My annoyance with character discrepancy was exacerbated because of the narration If you re going to tell ninety nine percent of a story in third person, don t switch to first when you want the reader to hear specific character thoughts Either denote you are switching by using italics Why does this bother me so or include What the heck, Kelly thought At the very least, remain consistent Randomly bouncing between the two disrupted the flow and added to my frustration with the story The notable scene below is a perfect example of this It s possible that this was only a result of a formatting issue since this was an ARC but it still greatly affected my enjoyment.Finally, story s buildup wasn t a cohesive blend A missing Princess thought dead turns up but doesn t seem to play a larger role in the overarching story plot Then everything about the blasted Lady, who turned out to be embodied in a tree I lost count of how many times Octavia asked for her help it happens every chapter and wanted to yell WE GOT IT Octavia is a devoted servant of the freaking Lady and they have an insane bond And, ugh, the gremlin named Leaf If you re like me, you won t find humor in the cutesy little green version of Bubo the golden owl in the Clash of the Titans.Cato s vivid descriptive writing style was perfect for the multi layered world she created for The Clockwork Dagger, but ultimately couldn t make up for its lackluster characters I m grateful for the chance to review The Clockwork Dagger but will think twice before picking up another book by Cato since we seem to want different things in our fiction.Notable Scene Her fingers trembled as she packed her jars The pampria was half full, enough for two or three trauma cases as bad as Mrs Stout certainly not adequate to start her practice With the Lady s herbs, I ll be almost useless in Delford Doctoring can only do so much for poison cases as bad as theirs It would take months to grow pampria until it s ripe enough to harvest There may be an apothecary in Leffen, but it would be far too overpriced, and I barely have the funds for my journey.She brushed her fingers against Mrs Stout s arm, now warm to the touch She was grateful to be able to save her friend, but the consequences were dire You are a medician, Mr Garret said in a gentle tone, probing Yes She didn t look at him I was trained at Miss Percival s academy I know of it One of the most reputed medician schools in the kingdom Your skill tis as though your Lady s hand rest directly on you I had the brief acquaintance of a medician He was not as attuned Ah When you lost your leg Mr Garret sucks in a breath How I know these things As you knew of her injury before opening the door You are unusually attuned So I ve been told Again, and again, and again.FTC Advisory HarperVoyager HarperCollins provided me with a copy of The Clockwork Dagger No goody bags, sponsorships, material connections, or bribes were exchanged for my review. In this book the author introduces an attractive main character, Octavia and a well constructed steampunk fantasy joined with some magic and political scheme The book is a well written murder mystery story It entangles spies from the eastern part of the country, spies, who were sent by the queen, a princess, who was thought to be lost, and the main character, Octavia, who realizes that she s not just a simple magical healer What I really liked is that there s an adventurious fight combining science, magic and religion in the story, also there is a strong need for social justice and overwhelming change The story also reveals the poisonous leadership, the colourful variety of humankind and the mysterious adventures through a progressive, well constructed steampunk world Yummy

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona She shares the household with a hockey loving husband, a numbers obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.She s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER a 2015 Locus Award finalist for First Novel and THE CLOCKWORK CROWN an RT Reviewers Choice Finalist from Harper Voyager He

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  • Paperback
  • 360 pages
  • The Clockwork Dagger
  • Beth Cato
  • 26 February 2019
  • 9780062313843

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