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Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti
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    The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (wisemetis)
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    Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara (reconditereader)
    reconditereader: High-flying, strong female protagonists uncovering mysteries in a city full of very complex relations among castes and types of people.
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This was a great fantasy story set in a steampunky sort of world. Taya is an icarus who flies on metal wings and is made more buoyant by carrying blocks of ondinium. She works as a messenger in this society which is rigidly sorted into castes. She is part of a caste that than mingle with all castes. She has dreams of being a diplomat who travels to other lands.

One day she rescues two members of the Exalted caste who are in a wireferry accident and is attacked coming back from her sister's wedding by spies from Alzana who would like her wings. She is saved by a mysterious clockwright who is an exile from the Exalted class. Pretty soon she is up to the tips of her wings in the danger and intrigue that is growing in her city.

There are two men involved with her. Alister Forlore sits on the governing council and is one of the foremost programmers of the Great Engine that runs the city. His brother Cristof is the clockwright who rescues her. Alister is the more attractive being a man filled with charm and smooth words. Cristof lacks his brother's charm but has the benefit of being honest.

When it appears that terrorists have killed Alister and his brother-in-law - the husband and father of the people Taya rescued from the wireferry accident, Taya and Cristof band together to investigate the murders.

I loved the relationship between Taya and Cristoff. I loved the world. Who - besides Cristof who is afraid of heights - hasn't had dreams of flying? Taya has a great job! I liked Cristof's determination to go his own way and his love for his brother.

Luckily, this is the first book of a trilogy and I have the other two on my Kindle. I can't wait to see what happens next for these characters. ( )
1 vote kmartin802 | Apr 4, 2015 |
This is the first book in the Clockwork Heart trilogy by Pagliassotti. I have had this book in my to read pile for a very long time and was excited to finally get around to reading it. It was a very enjoyable steampunk fantasy with a lot of mystery and some romance.

I listened to this on audiobook and it was well done. The narrator did an excellent job of conveying emotion and I enjoyed her voice. There were a few spots where it was hard to tell who was talking (the voices just weren’t different enough between characters) but aside from that I enjoyed listening to this.

Taya is an Icarus, she wears giant metal wings and flies messages around the great city of Ondinium. Her life changes when she spots a failing in the wire ferry lines and ends up rescuing a woman and child from the Exalted caste of citizens. In an effort to thank her the Exalted draws Taya into her life and Taya gains a celebrity-like status. Suddenly Taya finds herself not only embroiled in high level politics but also trying to solve a mystery involving murder and theft.

I really enjoyed this steampunk mystery. There are some wonderful steampunk elements in the story, the characters are engaging and interesting, and the world-building is well done. There is a complex caste system that was well described. I also really loved the city of Ondinium and how is has multiple layers and runs off of analytical engines.

The book is mostly a mystery. Taya is following a series of accidents and coincidences to try and figure out what is going on. There is a bit of a romance as well, but I didn't really feel like this book was a romance per-say (not sure why it is advertised as such).

Taya is an awesome character. She is curious and determined but never gets too serious. She doesn’t know when to stop and constantly runs herself into the ground trying to solve problems.

I also really enjoyed the character of Cristoff. He is an Exalted that left the caste to become a clockmaker among the lower caste. He is such a noble, honest, and geeky type that I just loved him.

This was an engaging read that I enjoyed. My only complaint would be that the story went a bit long, I think it would have worked better if it had ended earlier. There is some humor in here as well, which was fun.

I also have a very specific complaint as a chemist. At one point the character smells an ammonia-like smell and identifies it as methanol...totally not accurate. Methanol smells a lot like rubbing alcohol and absolutely nothing like ammonia. I know...I know a small quibble but it bugged me.

Overall this was a great book and I really enjoyed it. This book had some fantastic world-building, lots of fun steampunk elements, and very engaging characters. It is mostly a mystery with a bit of romance. I would recommend to fans of steampunk novels that involve a lot of political intrigue. I definitely plan on reading the last two books in this series. ( )
1 vote krau0098 | Dec 21, 2014 |
This fantasy/romance tale takes place in a very stratified society.

Taya is an icarus, a courier (with metal wings) who can move freely between the social classes in the city of Ondinium. A person's class is tattooed on their forehead; only through reincarnation can a person rise in class.

One day, Taya saves an Exalted (members of the elite class) and her son from what could have been a mid-air disaster. There is a growing terrorism problem in Ondinium; was this their handiwork? Her heroism attracts the attention of Exalted Alister Forlore, a member of the ruling council (he is also very handsome). He also writes computer programs for the Great Engine, the analytical engine that helps to run the city. He has written a program that is supposed to predict a person's most compatible mate. Taya also meets Alister's brother, Christof. He is a sarcastic you-know-what who has renounced his Exalted status and lives in the Ondinium equivalent of the inner city.

Tempting as it is, Taya knows that having any sort of intimate relationship with an Exalted is a really bad idea. A few days later, an aircar in which Alister was supposed to be riding explodes in midair. There is no chance for a definite identification of the dead, but everyone assumes that Alister is dead. It becomes known that someone has been trying to run unauthorized programs in the Great Engine, which is a huge offense, even for an Exalted. Taya and Christof learn, to their shock, that Alister staged his own death, and that his personal-compatibility program is only the beginning of his plans for the people of Ondinium.

I totally enjoyed this book. It's got steampunk, and it's got really good writing that is easy to read. It also has a bit of romance. I am very interested in reading the other parts of this trilogy (whenever they are available). ( )
  plappen | Jun 30, 2014 |
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

The city of Ondinium clings to the side of a mountain where the rare and precious metal that the city is named for is mined. This substance is lighter than air and is used to create the marvels that the city is known for, including the huge clockwork engine that lives in the heart of the mountain. The castes of Ondinium live on separate tiers of the mountain with the lower castes occupying the sooty smog-filled expanse at the bottom. But Taya, whose family comes from the lowest caste, is an Icarus, a courier who straps on ondinium wings and freely flies up and down the mountain, without caste constraints. When Taya saves the lives of an Exalted??s family, she becomes embroiled in political intrigues that involve theft, terrorism, murder, computer hacking, and romance. And she doesnƒ??t know whom she can trust.

Dru Pagliassottiƒ??s steampunk setting is fascinating and Taya, who flies with metal wings, makes a unique and likeable heroine. Sheƒ??s strong and independently minded, yet she cares what people think about her and treats others with respect. She is not the usual tattooed sarcastic kickass urban fantasy heroine. Tayaƒ??s love interests are a pair of brothers; Alister is a gregarious computer programmer who fully embraces his role as an Exalted on the city council while Cristof, the introverted brother, shuns his class and prefers to make clocks and gadgetry in the lower tier of the city. Both are appealing characters, as is the harmless political dissident whom Taya used to date.

I loved the first half of Clockwork Heart as we were introduced to the city, its citizens, and its political and social issues. Thereƒ??s some excellent world-building here, a nice set of characters, and plenty of action. I was fascinated by the Great Engine in the mountain and the way it was programmed with old-fashioned tin punch cards.

Clockwork Heart falls a little short when it comes to plot and pacing, especially in the second half of the novel. After the big climax, the story continues on too long, gradually losing steam (pun intended!) and occasionally flip-flopping between the realms of the predictable and the unlikely. I anticipated some of the plot twists and didnƒ??t believe in some of the others. A new subplot involving a group of computer programmers was suddenly brought in, but it should have been left out. It felt like Pagliassotti couldnƒ??t decide between two different endings for the novel so she decided to include both, to poor effect. Even with that complaint, though, I enjoyed Clockwork Heart and its characters enough that Iƒ??d like to read more in this world.

I listened to Kate Rudd narrate Brilliance Audioƒ??s version of Clockwork Heart. I always like Kate Rudd when she reads a book with a young female protagonist, though she tends to overdo the angst. This is noticeable in the more intense parts of Clockwork Heart, but itƒ??s not enough to keep me from recommending this version.

Originally posted at FanLit. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
TBR
  Ebeth.Naylor | Sep 30, 2013 |
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To my family and friends, and in memory of my mother, Skydancer.
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Taya cupped her wings and fanned them, slowing as the iron struts of a wireferry tower loomed before her.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809572567, Paperback)

A steampunkish romantic fantasy set in Ondinium, a city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart. Taya, a metal-winged courier, can travel freely across the city's sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. A daring mid-air rescue leads to involvement with two scions of an upperclass family and entanglement in a web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and secrets.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:51 -0400)

Priveleged courier Taya is able to associate with people of all levels of the caste system and travel across Ondinium's city sectors. Taya's life changes when she attempts a mid-air rescue, entagling her with the Forlore brothers who each have dangerous secrets about the city which they need to hide.… (more)

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