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Clockwork Boys by T Kingfisher
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Clockwork Boys

by T Kingfisher

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1037171,693 (4.09)22
  1. 20
    Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Traveling with demons; a study in contrasts.
  2. 00
    Scribe in Shadows (The Scribe Series Book 1) by Moira J. Moore (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Heck yes, pen-wielding heroines who will kill and/or defeat you with paperwork.
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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
'“Would you like to go on a suicide mission?” she asked instead.
He smiled. It was the first genuine smile she’d seen all day.
“I would be honored,” he said.'


This fantasy tale really hit the spot for me - an angst-ridden paladin, a forger, an assassin and a misogynistic cleric are sent on a suicide mission (not entirely by choice for the most part) to discover a way to defeat the strange and apparently unstoppable army of creatures known as the Clockwork Boys who are attacking their land. There's a lot more joy and humour in the story than the plot makes it sound and a dash of romance but this is definitely only part one of the story (apparently the author split this into two novels due to the length). The second and concluding part, [The Wonder Engine] is already downloaded and on my kindle.

In terms of similar authors this reminded me of Bujold's books, especially the Penric stories and [The Curse of Chalion] (in fact one of the reasons I bought this was because Bujold gave it a positive review) and also Adrian Tchaikovsky's [Spiderlight] in the way the book riffs on typical fantasy tropes. ( )
  souloftherose | Jan 8, 2019 |
I guess a 600 page standalone SFF book is a lot to ask a reader to take on, but having finished this "Book One" of two, it really does not feel I've finished any such thing. This is NOT to say that the book is bad. On the contrary, I've rarely had a better time. The story, from page one, pulled me in. The characters are ridiculously easy to root for. Their quest is gripping, their world fascinating. But this is definitely only one part of a larger narrative, and at a mere 230 pages, it felt like a money grab to publish it individually instead of as a larger, whole-r book with its necessary second part. ( )
  epaulettes | Jan 3, 2019 |
I wasn’t sure if I’d like this -- a group of criminals sent on a suicidal mission doesn’t sound quite like my sort of thing -- but I finished it and the sequel within 24 hours.

A convicted forger with allergies, an assassin who is her ex, a disgraced paladin whose mistakes killed a lot of people and a young scholar are sent to stop the army of clockwork boys marching out of Anuket City.

None of them expect to succeed, let alone survive (except for the scholar, who is nineteen and volunteered, not realising that a woman would be in charge).

I loved this. It isn’t as grim and cynical as it could be. There’s banter and teamwork -- and amusing commentary on the uncomfortable realities of travelling on horseback, camping and working with people who don’t always along. Fantasy tends to focus more on the difficulties posed by the group’s dynamics, and there’s something very satisfying about the way Kingfisher also acknowledges the physical discomforts of fantasy quests. I think this is one of her strengths: taking something typically fantasy and blending it with something prosaic.

(I don’t have the sort of severe allergies Slate has, but I found her frequent need for handkerchiefs nevertheless very relatable.)

Another one of Kingfisher’s strengths is writing non-human characters who are quirky and appealing without being sentimentally cute. As for her human characters, I found I cared about them and their survival more than I expected to.

“I will never understand,” said Learned Edmund, apparently to Caliban, “why I was not placed in charge of this expedition.”
“Because you look about twelve,” said Slate, too tired to be diplomatic. “Do you even have to shave yet.”
The dedicate flushed scarlet. “I am nineteen!”
“I am thirty-seven,” said Caliban, “and if I can accept Mistress Slate’s leadership, so can you.”
“She hasn’t been leading!” said Learned Edmund. “She’s been drinking poppy and falling off her horse! You’re the one finding the inns and choosing the route.”
Caliban locked eyes with Slate. “She has delegated,” he said, his voice a low rumble, in sharp contrast to Learned Edmund’s. “Mistress Slate’s talents lie elsewhere, I assure you, they are considerable.”
“Damn straight they are,” said Brenner, snickering.
“Shut up, Brenner.”
( )
1 vote Herenya | Aug 5, 2018 |
A forger takes a disgraced knight with a dead demon inside him, an assassin, and a misogynist cleric on a suicide mission to figure out the source of the Clockwork Boys who have been devastating their city. Enjoyable steampunkish fantasy world where the characters banter pretty much exactly as Buffy would have done, except without the pop culture references. (I heard it said recently how that’s unrealistic—people would be making pop culture references all the time, and religion/saint’s names can’t be complete substitutes. That strikes me as true, and is probably part of what made the banter feel a little off, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it anyway.)
  rivkat | Jul 5, 2018 |
This was book one of a duology that was basically cut in half for length, and although the author did pick a natural breaking point, it felt like it had been written to be part of a longer work. It took me a really long time to get into it, and although I'm now thinking about picking up the sequel, I really could have dropped it for most of this book.

A group of condemned prisoners set out on a mission to learn more about an enemy's new weapon because their own city is losing the war. It's a cool concept, since the new weapon is an army of almost unstoppable artificial men called "clockwork boys" and there's a lot of really good banter. But it dragged a lot in places and I just couldn't get into the characters' mission. It was as if the mission was too...artificial? and over-explained? for me to really buy into it. ( )
  natcontrary | Jun 21, 2018 |
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Weasel Invicti!
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There are a number of smells one expects to encounter in a dungeon. Fresh rosemary generally isn't one of them.
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“Would you like to go on a suicide mission?” she asked instead.
He smiled. It was the first genuine smile she’d seen all day.
“I would be honored,” he said.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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