The Clockwork Dynasty

The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson
Rating: 4 stars

Note: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review

This book was one of the most interesting and unique stories I’ve read this year.  I decided to branch out and read some more sci-fi / fantasy, and this is a great work for those looking for a creative world with clockwork human-like robots.  The robots have been alive for longer than recorded human history, and I feel like we just scratched the surface of their mythology in The Clockwork Dynasty.

Pros:

  • Incredible story and mythology around the clockwork avtomats.
  • Very detailed descriptions, and it leaves you wanting to knew more about their world: what other historical figures were avtomats?  What other historical events did they influence?
Cons:
  • The story was too jumpy, especially since almost every jump involved a change in the timeline and POV.
  • Didn’t let any suspense build up
    • For example, about halfway through Peter refers to a serious argument with another character that makes you curious to find out what exactly happened between them.  Instead of building up to the actual incident, it was described almost immediately in the next section
  • June was not well developed, and I found her arrogance to the avtomats off-putting
    • I never felt like we got to know or understand June.  The only things we knew about her made her a one-dimensional character who centered her whole life around a relic her grandfather left her.  That, and that she was arrogant around all of the avtomats.  She had no problem being rude or short with them and proclaiming herself and expert in their design and engineering (even though she didn’t know they existed a couple of hours before).
One on my first thoughts after I finished this book was that it would make a great action movie.  The visuals on the avtomats could be impressive, along with the period costumes and fight scenes.
While I did have a lot of issues with this book, the richly detailed and inventive world of the avtomats was so good I had to give this a 4.
I recommend this to any science fiction and or robot fans.  Even though the story is somewhat jumpy, you will be too drawn into Wilson’s world to care.  However, if you are looking for a more literary take on mechanical beings, I would look elsewhere.

 

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