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The Clockwork Crown by Beth Cato
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The Clockwork Crown

by Beth Cato

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Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A fast paced and exciting last half of the book ultimately makes up for a very slow start in this conclusion to the Clockwork Dagger duology.

Opening Sentence: As she rode through the snowy wilderness of far southern Caskentia, Octavia Leander’s spirits were buoyed by three thoughts: that although she fled from assassination and capture, she was undoubtedly in one of the most beautiful places she had ever seen; that thus far they had survived a full week without any sign of pursuit by horse or buzzer; and that her companion in the hard journey was Alonzo Garret, a man who had forfeited his career as a Clockwork Dagger–and possibly his life–in order to keep her alive.

The Review:

Octavia and Alonzo are on the run, with nowhere safe for them to turn. The Clockwork Daggers want them dead, while the Wasters want to use Octavia for their own purposes. At the same time, Octavia is undergoing changes that she does not understand. She believes she needs to find as much information on the Lady and the Tree as she can in order to fully comprehend what is happening to her. Her growing feelings for Alonzo make it difficult for her to fully reveal to him all the changes she is undergoing. With constant danger at every turn, the pressure is mounting. Will they be able to find the information Octavia needs before it’s too late?

I finished this book a day ago, and I’ve been putting off writing the review because I honestly didn’t know what I was going to say. I’m still a little unsure, so we’ll see how this goes! I really enjoyed the first book in this duology. I thought it was fast paced, entertaining, and not too confusing considering there are some steampunk elements. So, naturally, I was looking forward to continuing the series with this final book. While I’m ultimately giving this book the same rating as I did the first one, it was much harder for me to come to that conclusion this time around. In all honesty, this would probably be more like a 3.5 star book, but I rounded up.

The first half of the book moved incredibly slowly. It just seemed like nothing happened at all, which when you consider that the two main characters are on the run, is incredibly disappointing. The changes Octavia was undergoing were intriguing though, so it made me to keep reading. Once the book hit the 50 percent mark and a certain new character was introduced though, the plot really took off. I would say at that point, the book became really hard to put down. There were even moments towards the end that brought me to tears, although it should be mentioned I’m 9 months pregnant, so some of that could have been hormones. The only issue I had with the last half of the book was that the resolution to the plot seemed a bit too convenient. While I wasn’t looking for a tragic ending, I didn’t like that all the build up that preceded the climax was ultimately so easily solved.

One last minor complaint is that the romance arc in the story is so minor that ultimately, I don’t think it’s needed. Yes, Octavia’s feelings for Alonzo give her incentive to keep fighting against the changes in her body, but that’s really the only reason for the storyline that I can see. Not much focus is really given to it other than that.

Ultimately, the last half of the book saved it for me. If the entire book had been as fast paced and exciting as the last half, this would have been a much easier review to write. All in all, I did like how this final book turned out, and I will certainly keep this author on my radar.

Notable Scene:

The songs departed, leaving only the roars of airships. Up here, Octavia could not even hear the crowd, or perhaps the raucous noise blended with the engines. The crowd. Alonzo. Oh, Alonzo. She pressed both hands to her face as she collapsed on the bottom of the crate. The lamp, the cheap sort found across Caskentia, cast its sallow enchanted light across her legs.

If he’s hurt, if he dies, I won’t be there. I won’t be able to save him. She tried to stand again, bracing her shoulders against the lid. It didn’t budge. Panting, she dropped to her knees and reached for the other bag. She held up the contents to the light: a bucket, canteens of water, parcels of dry meat, Tamaran flatbread, nuts. She doesn’t intend for me to die, then. Just to dispose of me.

“Octavia”–Alonzo’s voice cut into her mind out of nowhere–“will be sorely disappointed if you are injured. More, she will turn her vicious tongue upon me, and I would much prefer sweetness from her lips. Three minutes remain….” His voice started to fade, then resurged. “Octavia must be sick with dread, but we will hold on for her. I am sure she will bring you more cheese.”

Octavia sobbed, both arms clutched to her torso. Her parasol slapped against her hip. The roof quaked beneath her–the crowd, wild with enthusiasm. Then, nothing.

She rubbed her arms together. Did Alonzo and Chi win? Did they merely survive? What happened?

Voices, distant. Octavia pressed her mouth to an air hole again. “Help! Help! I’m in a crate! Help!”

She looked out and couldn’t see anyone. Machinery clanged. With a lurch, the shipping crate rose.

Beams of light shifted as the box turned.

“No, Lady, no. Stop this. Let them find me. Let there be a way out, please.” The tiny view outside showed gray skies and towers, then the sunlight blinked out again. A new roar surrounded her, and the sense of being totally enclosed–the holding bay of an airship.

“Help! Help me!” She scooted from side to side. Through the holes, she could see more crates. A heavy weight clanged above, the wood of the crate groaning. Something had been set on top.

“Lady?” she whispered. The buzz of an engine was her only reply.

FTC Advisory: HarperCollins/Harper Voyager provided me with a copy of The Clockwork Crown. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Dec 16, 2015 |
I wasn't completely blown away by the first book, The Clockwork Dagger, but I enjoyed it enough to want to read this next book in the series. It picks up almost exactly where the last book ended. Octavia and Alonzo are on the run. Octavia is trying to find out more about the Lady and her origins. After what happened in the first book, Octavia is questioning her beliefs and needs to know if she is doing the right thing. The attraction between Octavia and Alonso is growing along with the danger. In fact, danger lurks around every corner in this book.

The first half of this book went along the same path as the first book. I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. But it wasn't until about halfway through that I really started to enjoy this book. So much so that it became unputdownable. I try my best to avoid spoilers, so I won't go into much detail. It's the last half of the book that saved this series for me. There's a lot of adventure and a little romance. Overall, I like this series. I don't think it will be a re-read for me, but I am glad that I read it.
Read more at http://www.toreadornottoread.net/2015/05/review-clockwork-crown.html#C8ATDFDWyMz... ( )
  mt256 | Jun 17, 2015 |
This is the second book in the Clockwork Dagger duology and did an excellent job of wrapping up this series. This was an amazing blend of alternate history, steampunk, and magic. I loved the characters and the world-building. The book was perfectly paced and the writing style flowed well and was easy to read.

Octavia Leander and Alonzo Garrett are on a quest to find out why Octavia is so powerful and changing in such strange ways. Aloza gave up his career as a Clockwork Dagger when he went against his orders and saved Octavia. Now they are both dodging assassins and others who want to use Octavia as their own. They hope to find out why Octavia is so powerful, how that ties into the mystical Lady’s Tree, and whether or not all of this will tie in to them finding a way to eliminate the rot that has taken hold in the kingdom.

I really loved this series and thought this book tied it up beautifully. There are many steampunk elements in here as well as a lot of magic and I enjoyed how the two were blended together. For steampunk elements you have things like airships, gremlins that are a blend of organic and mechanical components, artificial limbs, and crazy devices. For magic you have Octavia’s crazy healing and medician powers, which have gotten incredibly strong and out of control in this book.

The majority of the story is about Octavia’s quest for knowledge about her condition. She has gotten so powerful that she mentally hears every single person’s health and ailments in her head. As things progress she also finds that parts of her skin are turning to bark just like the Lady’s Tree. Her struggle for knowledge turns into a desperate race to save not only herself but the kingdom that is rotting around her. I really enjoyed her as a character. It’s not often that you see a healer-type of character as the main hero in an epic struggle like this and I enjoyed it.

I also enjoyed the contrast of Octavia’s almost religious-like healing magic with the mechanical heavy world around her. In this book she travels to regions that flat-out forbid magic; even when that magic could save the lives of people who are injured there.

The relationship between Octavia and Alonzo isn’t a hot and steamy one, but it is a relationship based on mutual respect and trust. Their relationship builds at more of a slow simmer than a lot of couples you typically see in books. However because of that I thought it was more realistic and really enjoyed reading about it.

The story is beautifully written, flows well, has a ton of action, and some humor too. It all balances very nicely to makes a story that is fast-paced and hard to put down.

Overall I thought this was a wonderful steampunk read with magic. I loved the world, the characters, the steampunk elements and how that was balanced with Octavia’s healing magic. I wasn’t sure where this second book was going to take us, but I ended up really enjoying how it focused on Octavia and her quest to understand The Lady’s Tree. This duology is highly recommended to fans of fantasy and steampunk books. ( )
  krau0098 | May 15, 2015 |
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Healer Octavia Leander and Clockwork Dagger Alonzo Garrett must band together to reach the territory known as the Waste and survive the civil war brewing there if they are to learn the reasons behind Octavia's growing powers and inexplicable transformation.… (more)

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