Pinocchio never had to deal with rusty gears. He probably never had to deal with broken hearts, either.In the city of the Young Queens, magic abounds alongside mechanics. Terrin Shore, the Clockmaker of the southern slums, likes to consider himself a master craftsman, but he can’t deny that his dolls are endowed with a certain veracity. He stopped making wind-up toys yearsPinocchio never had to deal with rusty gears. He probably never had to deal with broken hearts, either.In the city of the Young Queens, magic abounds alongside mechanics. Terrin Shore, the Clockmaker of the southern slums, likes to consider himself a master craftsman, but he can’t deny that his dolls are endowed with a certain veracity. He stopped making wind-up toys years ago, yet his dolls still move, speaking and interacting with such grace and humanity that he is tempted to forget they’re false. He makes a living from his skills, selling dolls to aristocrats and nobles with gold to spare.Ian is Terrin’s most lifelike doll. Crafted in such detail that he can pass for human at a casual glance, he was made in the image of Terrin’s closest friend, master thief Christiansen Townsend. Ian, however, is not Christiansen. He has a personality and attitude of his own, along with a rebellious streak. Despite his artificiality, he is head over heels in love with Terrin. Still, he knows how unlikely it is a doll-maker will fall in love with a doll.When Christiansen is injured while fleeing from the city’s peacekeeping officers, Ian has a choice to make. Does he stand back and let Christiansen be submitted to the Young Queens’ justice, where the thief will likely be executed? Or will he sacrifice himself for Terrin’s and Christiansen’s happily ever after? And is that even what Terrin really wants?...
|Number of Pages||:||71 Pages|
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Beyond Clockwork Reviews
4.25 stars. Told in first person from Ian’s, the doll’s, point of view, we’re given a glimpse into the insights of an artificial life form who is in love with his maker, Terrin. Ian is lifelike in almost every sense, fooling onlookers even though he’s made of mostly wood. The problem is, Ian got his face from a notorious thief, Christansen, who Terrin is apparently in love with. Add to this all the madness and intrigue going about in town, and you have a fantastical mess in your hands.The world-building here shines. In fact, for such a short story this is so full of a detailed fantasy world that it would have been better served by a longer narrative. As is, we don’t learn enough, and our wetted appetites are hungrier once finished. In any case, first there’s Terrin who years ago created monstrous mechanical monsters that destroyed most of the town, and as a result Terrin is exiled to the clocktower, never allowed to leave. Second, the rulers of this town are called Young Queens, scary, undead, ice-magical little girls who by the hundreds rule over the town with an icy fist. Third, there’s a simmering rebellion against them, led by Christiansen, and an impending war with another nation whose merchant lords scheme and plot in the shadows. One of them, Dawnbringer, brings Terrin’s doll creations into the mix of all that dystopian craziness—including Ian who sacrifices himself to save his beloved maker and the man he is in love with so at least the living could have their happy ever after.Ian is a wonderful character. He’s smart, mouthy, irreverent, and hopelessly in love. Because of that he’s capable of more than he ever imagined, from sullen tantrums to acts of great bravery and love. When a four-year old girl is threatened by the Queens, to be taken into their undead cold ranks, Ian acts regardless of his own safety. It makes sense to use his first person POV because we get the intricacies of this dark, terrible world from the point of view of a doll, a creation who doesn’t know why his maker even created him. Just a squeeze-toy, or is he more? Then again, how can he be more for Terrin if he doesn’t even have the right… equipment?The negative here, in addition to the overall shortness and the alarming pace with which everything happens, was the dialogue. Specifically cursing. Every time one of the characters cursed, it didn’t sound natural. It took me right out of the story, unfortunately. The cursing just didn’t fit the overall story, not into this world so carefully crafted. Other than that, the writing is sensually evocative, emotionally potent, and strikingly effective.Despite the few shortcomings, this is a wonderful, action-paced and emotionally captivating steampunk story. And the happy ending sure didn’t hurt.
Reviewed for Hearts On Fire ReviewsOh my goodness, how to even classify this book? Terrin is the Clockmaker – a dollmaker so talented that his dolls act “fake” in the presence of humans sometimes so as not to draw attention. His best creation is Ian, who has been Terrin’s assistant for three years and in love with him for nearly that long. The fact that he has the face of Terrin’s best friend, Christansen, does not go unnoticed by Ian and it is a source of heartbreak. Wait, he has no heart, how can it break? Sadly for Ian, it can. When Christian comes to visit, Ian is banished from the tower and not allowed to set foot near the men. Since Ian couldn’t “follow a plan if it was tattooed on his eyelids” of course he ends up breaking Terrin’s banishment and is seen by Christian. Anger and shock ensue on the part of Christian and as a result Terrin refuses to speak to Ian. Since the story is told from the point of view of Ian, what we get is his pain and feelings. Ian had interrupted for something he believed to be important but that doesn’t matter now. Terrin is not the kindly dollmaker ala Ghepetto. Oh no. He was an orphan living in the dump of the slums, where the most dangerous predators are the children. H escaped this by creating monster “dolls” called Destroyers who basically attacked the Queens (very young girls turned to witches – as a result they remain forever very young in body (6, 13, 4) but their malevolence is old. When Christian, a sort of freedom fighter, returns to Terrin very hurt by a bullet, he is treated (in a fashion) by Terrin. Ian witnesses the terror on Terrin’s face when he thinks he is losing his friend and it brings home to Ian how futile it is to love this man but what choice does he have? As Christian recovers, Ian gets to know a little more about his creator. And I loved when Ian puts Christian in his place. There is a plot afoot regarding the Queen and a rich man named Dawnbringer who purchases a doll even more lifelike than Ian (and for Ian to feel creeped out by how real she is, well that’s saying something). They don’t know why and really they don’t care. Until it comes home to them. When Ian sacrifices himself to save Christian so that Terrin will be happy, Terrin is PISSED! What to do about it though? I loved this story and the world it is set in. Ian, he’s a doll and he’s real and he’s what Pinocchio would hope to be when he grows up. Terrin has to own up to things and it’s difficult for him, but he does it. His plan to save Ian shows you should never mess with the dollmaker. Ian’s creator’s last creation for him? Awesome.
Despite the dubious looking cover, I find the writing itself was very good, fast paced and heart wrenching at time.I expected it to be angst-filled story, but it wasn't completely that. Ian's voice was so... honest, self-aware and dry at time. Ian was very likable from the start. Terrin, however, required some time to really get to know.There were quite a lot of back stories that were peppered throughout the book: the Queens, the Southland, the Noria, etc. The information was sparse and almost not enough. (view spoiler)[The era of the setting was interesting. There were flying motorbikes, pistons, and magics. The basic Fire and Ice magic, the kind that Terrin used to give life to his dolls and yet it was not a common occurrences. It seems that there was no actual practice of magic other than Terrin and the rulers or shaman of the South. I think this made Terrin a unique situation in the book. (hide spoiler)]The fight scene was quite epic and no whitewashing.I am not sure I liked the *solution* but I supposed it works within the confine of this world. A recommendable read if nothing else.
The great thing about fantasy stories, is that they let your imagination run wild and believe that there is a bigger world beyond the end of the book. I would love to read a sequel.
Reviewed by: LucyGenre: M/M SteampunkRated: 4 hearts Check out the review at: Hearts On Fire Reviews