(Clockwork Dagger #1)
Release: September 16, 2014
Reviewer: Rose Red
Full of magic, mystery, and romance, an enchanting steampunk fantasy debut in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail CarrigerReview by Rose Red:
“The Clockwork Dagger was just what I needed: A steampunk adventure with an uncommon heroine, a fascinating magic system, and a young gremlin! I’m hooked and can’t wait for more Octavia and Leaf!”
—New York Times bestselling author Kevin Hearne
Orphaned 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 threatened.
Suddenly, 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.
Octavia Leander was orphaned at a young age, but her luck took a turn for the better when she was taken in by Miss Percival and trained as a medical magician, or medician. Years have passed and now Octavia is now a fully trained veteran and has been hired by a small town that is being devastated by illness.
As she’s trying to find the airship that will take her to her new town, she meets the very handsome steward, Alonzo Garret. As The Argus takes off on its journey, things happen that threaten Octavia. When people start becoming ill on the ship, Octavia's nature is revealed and murders ensue that cannot be stopped. There are some people who want to get rid of Octavia in a permanent fashion because of her gifts with healing. Due to the multiple assassination attempts, she gains two friends and protectors in her roommate and the previously mentioned handsome steward.
Octavia's roommate, Mrs. Viola Stout (who is very aptly named) has secrets of her own and even though she is a sweet older lady, something about her seems a bit off to Octavia. Then there is the gorgeous steward, Mr. Garret, who is far more than what he seems. Nobody is who they seem to be in this book!
The first thing that caught my attention in The Clockwork Dagger was the world building. It is this wonderful mix of steampunk and magic in a world torn apart by a war between two neighboring countries. Beth Cato did a wonderful job of layering each element needed as the story built. The pacing was spot on and always moving forward. I can't think of any chapters where there wasn’t some new clue being dropped or some kind of danger manifesting itself. It felt like an adventure novel and was loads of fun!
The magic system in this book fascinated me! I’ve always been attracted to books where the main character is a healer but I’ve never read anything quite like this! Octavia’s power comes from an interesting mix of science and religion. To do any healing, Octavia has to pray to the goddess of healing referred to as The Lady. The religious aspect added a very interesting contrast to all the mechanical steampunk. Octavia uses magic and faith to heal in a world that is very much in love with all things science and it truly adds a fascinating dynamic to the story. I absolutely love the back story on who the Lady is and I think it played well with the story of the lost princess.
While there is a bit of romance in the story, it is not what drives the plot. The story is action packed and driven by Octavia's need to figure out the mystery behind the attempts on her life. There is also a bit of political intrigue that adds some depth to the story as well as motive for our villains.
The characters were intriguing and you never knew who might be friend or foe. I loved Octavia as a character! She is resourceful, incredibly compassionate, practical, and a tad bit naïve. She was a fascinating character to read about. I adored Mrs. Stout with her motherly advice and romance novels. I have a lot of thoughts about Alonzo which unfortunately are a bit spoilery so I'll keep them to myself for now. But I will say that I love him! He is a perfect gentleman and never forces Octavia to do anything and allows her to be herself. Seriously, love him! He was an intriguing character, but I couldn’t figure out what his lay was until the end. I must say that the gremlin, Leaf, was my favorite! He was just so cute and so funny. I can't wait to read more and see how he fits into the bigger picture.
Overall, I loved this book! The story is gripping and engaging and I had one hell of a time putting it down once I started it. That is the best kind of book! The ones that you can’t set down and are impossible to leave alone once you do. The story was incredibly engaging. The writing was very easy to read and flowed nicely. The dialogue between characters was witty, fun, and very natural. The characters are well done and I enjoyed the world so, so much! I seriously can’t stop thinking about the contrast between Octavia's magical healing and the mechanical world around her.
I highly recommend The Clockwork Dagger to fans of steampunk and fantasy! This book left me hungry for more. Thankfully, there’s a sequel already in the works and I absolutely cannot wait to read it!
Recommended for fans of:
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
**I received an eARC of this book through Edelweiss from the publisher, Harper Voyager, in exchange for an honest review.