This book is the continuation of Clockwork Heart which was published on 2008. Despite having a six year gap between the prequel and this sequel, I didn’t notice any timeline discrepancies between the books and Clockwork Lies is enjoyable as a stand alone Steampunk Fantasy novel. Since I didn’t exactly wait six years for this book to happen as I only found the series from a book sale recently, I do think this book was worth the wait.
Much like the last book, Taya Icarus was again involved in a political conspiracy that threatened her country and the lives of her loved ones. This time, she was happily married with Cristof Forlore, a clockmaker slash secret spy slash an exalted who was formerly outcaste but resume his role as the head of his family after the events that lead to his brother’s betrayal and exile. Despite his heroic act to his country, Cristof was still being viewed suspiciously by the Council but was allowed to assume the role as an Ambassador which suited with his wife’s added role as a diplomat which a role she had pursuit before she met him. At the beginning of this novel, a trip on an airship with the neighbouring queen of Mareaux was disrupted when Taya found a box filled with incendiary fluid which and Lieutenant Amcathra who disguised as Cristof threw off the ship. Turns out might have been one of the assassination attempt toward Cristof who was sick prior to the event. When the Marceaux trip had become more dangerous after Taya was poisoned and a bookseller was murdered which might have something to do with Cristof’s exiled brother who secretly provide Cristof with information from the outside world. Amcathra decided for them to return home but along the way, it became more apparent that someone didn’t want anyone of them to survive.
Unlike the first book, it was a fast paced novel since the characters was constantly on the move and the story didn’t set around the heavily cultured and socially-oppressive Ondinium which allowed a degree of expansion around the world inside the book. We get to know more about Mareaux, the political climates and differences in complex diversity and culture between the neighbouring countries. The story is also layered in political strife and war, deception and betrayal and love. The book added more depth to the relationship between Cristof and Taya. Previously, we found out how they met and how they fall in love but this time we see another comfortable side of their love story and how their love strengthened their bond overtime. Of course, their relationship in this book wasn’t to a degree that many would mislabel the story as a Romance Fantasy like many did in the last book.
One can always wonder what made a book a legit steampunk but for me this series fits the bill. It was easy to lose yourself with difficult and boring tech writings but the details in this book was linear and pretty layman for general readers. It depend on your level of enjoyment really but I love the Ondinium technology especially Taya’s ability to fly as an Icarus and the airships, transportation and communication system and the weaponry. It was fantasy with some touch of tech in it. Then the story became more layered when added with the technologies from the surrounding countries and more when several political elements began to launch a war upon the isolationist Ondinium. I don’t know about you, I always adored airships/dirigibles and fight scenes with airships.
Luckily, the next book Clockwork Secrets: Heavy Fire will be published within the end of this year and I can’t wait for the epic conclusion of this wonderful steampunk series (which are obscure for some reason… then again, I love the covers)