Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Release Day Review: Wings of Sorrow and Bone by Beth Cato

Wings of Sorrow and Bone
(Clockwork Dagger #2.5)
Beth Cato
Release: November 10, 2015
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From the author of The Clockwork Dagger comes an exciting novella set in the same world…

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day.

When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends.
Wings of Sorrow and Bone is set a few months after the end of The Clockwork Crown and features two teenaged girls introduced in that book. Rivka Stout and Tatiana Garret are unlikely pair, a Mean Girl and a misfit, brought together by a common acquaintance and eventually a common goal. The two meet at a party hosted by Balthazar Cody, a Tamaranian councilman and the creator of the city's arena games. After sneaking away from the festivities, the two discover Cody's workshop where gremlins are kept in cages and used for parts for the giant chimera Cody is building for the next match.

Rivka relates to the gremlins, having been a victim of abuse herself. Though her life has improved, she still has a cleft lip and wants to be a machinist, so she doesn't fit in with her grandmother's society friends. If that's not enough, she's from Caskentia so the science-loving Tamaranians assume she's uneducated even before her accent marks her as poor. But Cody respects her mechanical ability and allows her into the workshop. Rivka plans to use that access to free the gremlins, but she'll need help from Tatiana, who has her own motivation for being there, as well as a young medition, to come up with a plan.

Cody, while not actually the villain in The Clockwork Crown, was never a sympathetic character so it's quite satisfying to see someone giving him a hard time. I also really loved the gremlins in both novels, so I was happy to see the issue addressed. However, I did feel like there was an excessive amount of Octavia name dropping in this story, which makes it hard to view it as a standalone.

I've always found the socio-economic insights into the different countries in Cato's fictional world fascinating. Octavia touches on it in the books, but Rivka has a deeper understanding of the issues having lived in many different areas. I really enjoyed learning more about the world from her perspective. In that respect, this novella might provide a good introduction to the world of the Clockwork Dagger books, but I would not recommend reading it first. It makes too many references to the events in The Clockwork Crown not be spoilery.

I'm not aware of any plans to do so, but I could see Rivka starring in a spinoff series. She reminds me of Genevieve LaFoux who appears in all of Gail Carriger's series. Either way, I'm happy with the chance to return to this world and the gremlins and I enjoyed the novella.

Recommended for fans of: The Clockwork Dagger series, Gail Carriger's Finishing School series

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

3 1/2 stars

Our reviews of other books in this series:
The Clockwork Dagger
The Deepest Poison

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