Clocktaur War, book 1
by T. Kingfisher
Three criminals and a respected scholar are sent on a suicide mission to uncover a way to stop the neighboring kingdom’s Clockwork Boys from destroying their own kingdom.
I had a great time reading this, but I am glad that I was told to have the sequel ready, because this definitely reads more like a prequel to The Wonder Engine. It covers the beginnings of the mission, the gathering of our ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and their journey to Anuket City. The classic four person party, each with varied skills, who maybe don’t all like each other, but they have to work together or else.
A forger and assassin with some history together, a knight inhabited by a dead demon, and a sheltered scholar. The banter, the irritation, the sexual tension. It’s lighthearted without being goofy. The romance is essentially a love triangle, but it’s done in a way that even I didn’t have a problem with. I personally love an antihero, and I especially love a whole group of snarky antiheroes banding together for a high stakes adventure. This particular adventure sees them attempting to save their world or die trying.
The story really focuses on the main characters and their relationships and interactions together. Everything else is glossed over or skipped entirely. Slate, the forger, and Caliban, the knight, are at the center of the story with the other two characters taking secondary roles. The amount of magic we get to see present in the world increases the longer they travel. There is a great deal of mystery surrounding the Clockwork Boys, which is the point, but they’re not even described much until halfway through the book.
Overall, I enjoyed this a lot and am already reading the sequel, which I am also enjoying a lot.