Steampunk/Fantasy

Clockwork Detective

by R.A. McCandless
Published on May 7, 2019
3 stars

In the Clockwork Detective, we see Constable Aubrey temporarily assigned to the town of Aqualinne to help investigate the murder of a young druid that has recently occurred. While there she meets Constable Sterben and the two work together to help solve the case, which takes them into the nearby village of Sankt Andra and later into Fae territory.

Of this novel, I have two minds. During the first 45%, I didn’t feel any connection to the story or to the characters. With each new character I held out hope for turning the book around for me. However, it wasn’t just the story or the characters that was bothering me. There were specific parts of the story that were incongruous to other parts and felt so out of place that I had no idea where the emotions the characters held were coming from. In one specific example, Constable Aubrey is invited to have dinner with Constable Sterber and his wife. The dinner is going well until a visitor arrives, which Constable Sterber clearly is unhappy about. After dinner, Constable Aubrey thanks her hosts and leaves for her boarding house. However, the next day while riding together she contemplates reaching for her weapon on Sterber. Say what? Where did these emotions come from? I spent a good deal of time reading and re-reading the part to see where my understanding went wrong. Did I skip a sentence? Or paragraph? They had dinner and the next day one small comment about the previous nights visitor and weapons are thought of? Perhaps in some way it makes sense, but there was nothing to indicate within the story that this was even coming. After finishing the book and before writing this review I went again to the sections where the emotions in play didn’t match up to the previous section to see if my thoughts had changed, but they had not.

About 45% through I knew I needed a break. So I intentionally took several days off from reading the book so that when I came back to it I wasn’t so frustrated. And it helped. Once I picked the book up again I found the remaining portion of the story very nice and easy to read. Starting from when Constables Aubrey and Sterber begin looking for the fae the pace of the story really picks up and became difficult for me to put down. During portions of the latter half of the book there were parts I truly did not see coming.

Throughout the story you also get a sense that there is a bigger world that it is fleshed out, but just not told or explored yet in this particular book, which is a good thing. With each new book in the series, I can see the world expanding more and more – for there are a lot of good things that the author can draw upon.

All in all, I found this book to be a mixed bag for review purposes. The first 45% I would give 2 stars, but the latter half I would give 4. If some of the first portion of the book could be redone a little, I think it would be a solid 4 stars from me.

My recommendation is that if you are interested in steampunk, with a little fantasy mixed in then you may want to consider picking up this novel, but just realize that it may need fleshing out in some sections.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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