Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Clockwork Boys (Clocktaur War #1), by T. Kingfisher (author), Khristine Hvam (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, July 2019 (original publication November 2017)

Slate is a forger and thief, Brenner an assassin, Sir Caliban a former knight-champion of the Dreaming God. In that capacity, he killed or exorcised, depending on circumstances, demons who had possessed people or animals. Then he got careless and a demon possessed him,and it was exorcised, but not until after he'd killed eight temple nuns.

They're all condemned criminals, but they've been offered pardons and rewards if they can successfully complete a mission to Anuket City, to find a wayto defeat the Clockwork Boys, giant centaur-like creatures apparently made out of machine parts, who are ravaging the countryside and threatening the kingdom that, however questionable their characters, our three criminals are subjects of.

Slate, possibly because she's the most stable and educated of the three (Brenner may be stable, but not all that educated, and Caliban may be far more educated, but it's not at all clear he's stable), is in charge of this little group. But they're not going to Anuket City alone. They'll have a scholar with them. Learned Edmund is outraged to learn that he's not going to command the mission. He's the one that has the most information about the Clockwork Boys, after all, and the ability read the journal of a scholar who's going missing, if they ever find it and him. Sadly, he's also a nineteen-year-old boy, a dedicat of a the ragingly misogynistic cult of the Many-Armed God, and has no idea how to conduct such an expedition. Learned Edmund is compelled, eventually, to accept this unwelcome piece of reality.

This is in many ways your basic "misfit comrades on a mission." What's different is Kingfisher's skill at drawing interesting, compelling characters. They are all, including Learned Edmund, weirdly likable characters, and for all the varying backgrounds and levels of education, there's a lot of wit,  here. In many ways, the most fascinating part of this book are the characters and their interrelationships, and their responses to what they encounter along the way.

This is the first half of the story, but the second half, The  Wonder Engine, is also available. I'm looking forward to that.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

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