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The Doomsday Vault (Clockwork Empire #1)

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  817 ratings  ·  113 reviews
In a clockwork Brittania, Alice's prospects are slim. At 21, her age and her unladylike interest in automatons have sealed her fate as an undesirable marriage prospect. But a devastating plague sends Alice off in a direction beyond the pale-towards a clandestine organization, mad inventors, life-altering secrets, and into the arms of an intrepid fiddle-playing airship pilo ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 382 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Roc
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Soulless by Gail CarrigerLeviathan by Scott WesterfeldBoneshaker by Cherie PriestPerdido Street Station by China MiévilleThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,852)
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Jabberwocky
From the cover and what I skimmed of the description, I was expecting a trashy steampunk romance novel, where the dashing but stranded airman sweeps the poor but brilliant society lady off her feet and they have adventures.

In retrospect, I kind of wish it HAD been that trashy. It would have been more interesting.

I feel like this book really wanted to be a clever adventure in the vein of "Soulless" and the other books in the Parasol Protectorate, but it never quite got there. For one, although "T
...more
Tori [Bottles of Summer]
Sep 28, 2012 Tori [Bottles of Summer] marked it as did-not-finish
Every now and then I stumble upon a book with a concept that makes me prematurely fall in love with it... and every now and then, something about said book makes me fall out-of-love with it. I want to enjoy the novel--because who actually enjoys rating someone's pride and joy poorly?--but I simply cannot.

In THE DOOMSDAY VAULT (TDV), the voice was what ultimately made me give up. While it has an interesting concept, and while I enjoy both steampunk and zombies, I could not become immersed within
...more
Echo
Confession 1: I might have picked this book up because I liked the dress the girl wore on the cover (even if, historically speaking, it is a monstrosity).
Confession 2: I might also have bought it because there was a mention of someone named Gavin on the back, and I love the name Gavin.
Confession 3: I did not buy it because of the zombies. More like in spite of the zombies. Zombies bore me. There. I said it.

That's not a crime, right? In any case, I actually did like it. (And I might have crushed
...more
edifanob
It is the first book in a series and it is definitely steampunk.

A lot of gadgets, interesting twists and turns.

There are two reasons why I did not give five stars:

- From my point of view some of the solutions have been a way too easy
- Alice Michaels, one of the main characters, has been a pain in my neck too often.

Anyway I own a copy of The Impossible Cube which is the secon book in the series and I will definitely read it.
Simcha Lazarus
All across the world, zombies roam the streets at night, infecting those they touch with the Clockwork Plague. Most of the infected die horrible, drawn-out, deaths, but some people are affected differently and instead of destroying their brains the plague enhances them. These people are called Clockworkers and they are responsible for creating the greatest inventions of the time. Unfortunately the disease eventually causes them to go mad.

In Victorian England, Alice Michaels lives with the horrib
...more
Steve Walker
I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. I am not generally a fan of alternative history or zombies, but this story has both and I enjoyed it. Set in the late 1800s it is a mishmash of 19th century and more modern technology as the backdrop for Steven Harper's enjoyable tale of a young American "sailor" who finds himself abandon in London after his "ship" was taken by pirates. Some of his shipmates were killed, while others were ransomed to the shipping company. Being just a cabin boy, he does ...more
Jeff Raymond
My limited experience with steampunk has been of the more gritty variety. Most of the steampunk I've read has been more the Cherie Priest variety, where the setting is more dark and things are Very Wrong and not so much fun. Thus, when I read a book like All Men of Genius or this, it feels different and fresh for me.

This was a fun one. On one hand, you have Alice, she of high society in London and great with a wrench. On the other, Gavin, a cabin boy flying over to Europe in a dirigible from Bos
...more
Kelly
Reviewed for Vampire Book Club.

There are a couple of things you need to know right off the bat: I'm a big fan of steampunk and I can't resist a good cover. I guess I'm trying to say that this book was practically custom made for my palate. And that was before I even opened it. Then it had to go and be all super awesome what with the plague zombies and the clockwork bits and the fighting. Oh, and the vaguely frowned upon romance between an upper crust lady and a lowly airman who's *gasp* younger
...more
Kathryn
I hope this wonderful book becomes widely known in the steampunk community. It has all the elements we love in the genre--airships, gadgetry, mad geniuses, automatons--plus an unexpected and delightful aspect revolving around the power and possibilities of music. Moreover, not only the protagonists but the secondary characters as well are beautifully drawn--human, believable, and complex. Particularly notable is the assortment of strong and interesting female characters, who play a variety of ro ...more
Julie
If you are a fan of steampunk, suspense, plot twists, romance, and a slight historical romance feel, I'd recommend giving this book a shot. Also, did I mention zombies? This book has many elements that oddly works well together with this particular story and writing style. I really enjoyed this book as a fan of all the subgenres I listed. Very much looking forward to the sequel. You can read my full review on my blog Nov. 1, the release date.

www.ataleofmanyreviews.com
April
I really enjoyed this one. The characters were interesting and the story was lots of fun. There were a few odd bits I could have done without, the plot was a twisty thing that never stopped winding and the main character surprised and saddened me at the same time.

Overall, a fun, invention-mad, genius' fever dream of an adventure.
Laksamee
Interesting steampunk world created from a plague which either creates zombies or mad scientists. Enjoyed the action, however the storyline has a very Lemony Snicket feel in that the protagonists are always held back by a series of unfortunate events. I didn't enjoy that at all, and really hoped the heroine would move out of her lady like role. While she did, many of her 'proper' behaviors remained and felt more like an annoyance. Also, the love story turns out to be very sappy and doe-eyed. I w ...more
Brandon
I love the world and most of the characters. But I had to take stars off for one of the protagonists, Alice whom I can't stand. Through the entire book she keeps making bad decisions. She never learns from her mistakes, and is just generally annoying. The forced romance also makes me rate the book lower, as she goes from afraid to be in a room alone with a man to embracing him and noticing his hardness within the space of days. If she continues to annoy me, this series will not be nearly as enjo ...more
Lexie
To be perfectly frank it took me a long time to get through this book. The concept had me highly motivated to read it as soon as it arrived in my hands, but the beginning slowly ate away at that excitement till I put it down after about four chapters and moved onto a new book. The writing is okay--I haven't read Harper before, but I have read quite a bit of steampunk over the last few years. Harper definitely combines the two worlds in a believable way, but spends so much time trying to immerse ...more
Michelle
The Doomsday Vault is the first book in the Clockwork Empire series by Steven Harper and a ROC Fantasy.

Book Blurb:

In a Britannia of clockwork automatons and airships, Alice Michaels’s prospects are looking grim.

The Honorable Alice B. Michaels is in a life-or-death struggle for survival - socially speaking, that is. At age twenty-one, her unladylike interest in automation, and the unfortunate deaths of most of her family from the clockwork plague, have sealed her fate as a less than desirable mar
...more
Paranormal Haven
3.5 stars


Alice is the daughter of an impoverished Baron. Almost all of her other relatives have died from the clock work plague, all but her father, and her mysterious aunt Edwina. Her aunt sends her clockwork inventions to put together every year for her birthday. One day she attends a ball, hoping to make a name for her family in society, and maybe even meet a man. She happens meet someone, but on her way home she is overran by plague zombies, only to be rescued by the mysterious group of peop
...more
Stéphanie
Is it just me or is the steampunk genre becoming more popular these days? I’m not very familiar with the genre since I’ve only read a few books, but I think I’m becoming a true fan. So far, I’ve enjoyed all of the steampunk novels that I’ve read, and The Doomsday Vault is no exception.

Obviously set in a Victorian London, this novel takes us on an adventure through balls, pirate attacks, zombie attacks and crazy clockworker meltdowns. When I first started reading this book, I thought it was going
...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: An action packed and imaginative take on zombies and the creation of a steampunk world.

Opening Sentence: The zombie lurched out of the yellow fog and reached for the door on Alice’s hansom cab.

The Review:

Alice B. Michaels was born into nobility. As the daughter of a Baron, she is expected to act like a proper lady. The Clockwork Plague has devastated her family and now they are in deep debt. Alice uses one last opportunity to seek a suitor,
...more
CD
High school only, not for middle school.

Author Steven Harper has done a bang-up job creating a very interesting steampunk world with a clockworker virus being the cause of the Victorian technological accomplishments. It is a fascinating conceit. The only quibble I have is that for the first 1/3 of the book it really feels like it is two separate stories. It is hard to see the link up and the change between them is distinct. When they finally come together it is great!

What I especially liked abou
...more
Joseph Teller
The world of the Clockwork Empire series is a steampunk one (though often more clockpunk at times) where a plague has been slowly altering history, making social and technological changes in a Victorian society.

Automatons are used in many cases to replace animals or humans in certain functions, great airships traverse back and forth across the seas as well as sailing ships, and raving hordes of plague driven mad persons (mostly lower class) wander the streets at night attacking in desperate need
...more
Beth Dawkins
3.5
Alice is the daughter of an impoverished Baron. Almost all of her other relatives have died from the clock work plague, all but her father, and her mysterious aunt Edwina. Her aunt sends her clockwork inventions to put together every year for her birthday. One day she attends a ball, hoping to make a name for her family in society, and maybe even meet a man. She happens meet someone, but on her way home she is overran by plague zombies, only to be rescued by the mysterious group of people cal
...more
April Steenburgh
The clockwork plague hits rich and poor alike, turning some into zombies covered in sores that hide from the sun and others into geniuses called Clockworkers before burning them out in fits of destructive madness. The balance of power between nations rests in the Clockworkers and the improbable and often deadly inventions they create before the plague finally takes them. Alice lost her mother and brother to the clockwork plague. Her father survived, but is an invalid. The daughter of a Baron, he ...more
Patrick Hayes
I wanted Steampunk, and it's there, but the main character is so dreadful that it destroyed just about any entertainment value the book could achieve. Alice Michaels, the protagonist, is constantly flip-flopping between joining a secret agency that captures, uses, protects "clockwork" devices, the worst of which, those that could destroy the world, are kept in the Doomsday Vault, and staying engaged to a man she doesn't love, so that she may secure her position in society and ensure that her fat ...more
Jaclyn
I really enjoyed this book. I liked how a historical atmosphere was combined with futuristic devices in this world. I think the world of the book was created well and I liked how Harper dealt with the introduction of zombies into this novel as I first thought that there might be too much going on.

The plot dealt with two characters, Gavin and Alice. Gavin was an American airshipman who found himself stranded in London after an attack by air pirates. He is then captured by a mysterious woman and
...more
D.
The Doomsday Vault is a rollicking good adventure that takes place in Harper's very own Steampunk universe, the first novel of The Clockwork Empire trilogy. I've felt for some time that Steampunk has enormous untapped potential, and this is the first novel I've come across that I feel truly makes this emerging genre shine.

This adventure story has it all--airship battles, Victorian political intrigue, secret police, conspiracy, clockwork automatons of all sorts, mad scientists, amazing Steampunk
...more
Kt
Alice's life has been slowly deteriorating since the Plague struck her family hard. She lost her mother and brother to the clockwork plague, and then several years later, her fiance as well. So now everyone treats her like a pariah. At 21 she is already long past the prime age for a desirable marriage, and her love of automatons has even further outcast her. In a last ditch effort to save her family's honor she goes to one last ball to try and snag a fiance. This sets in a chain of events that w ...more
Nepeta Leijon
The Doomsday Vault is everything I've ever wanted in a Steampunk novel. A little bit raunchy, a little bit kick ass, and a little bit romance.

I'm completely surprised that people don't like this book, but it's their opinion, and this book might not be their cup of tea. Of course, there are errors in this book. There are a few grammatical errors, as well.

But the book is still good. I am actually very interested in seeing how this book ends. I love the characters, the plot, and the world building,
...more
pax
I was so looking forward to the book, because Steven Harper's Silent Empire series is among my favourite books ever. Well ... I was disappointed. The story is a wild mixture of things which don't really fit together, full of deus ex machina moments and plot holes which are more like plot canyons than actual holes and of little inconsistencies which make you constantly stumble (like: p.42 tells you, that perhaps on in a one hundred thousand of plague victims become a clockworker and clockworkers ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2011/11/...

Alice Michaels’ prospects are not good. In 1850’s London,it’s all about appearances. Well,appearances and money,and Alice and her father simply don’t have any. She’s to be a Baroness,but since Alice’s mother,brother,and fiancé were killed by the clockwork plague,it left her father a cripple,and Alice a social pariah. Hoping to get back into society’s good graces,Alice decides to attend a ball,and see if she can meet someon
...more
Dee
Mediocre at best. Which is sad, because there are some zinging ideas in there. The Clockwork Plague that may kill you or may turn you into a zombie or might (just might) make you a genius (briefly)? Superb. I mean, sure, it's a little "how does the science go on that one again?" but it's multi-layered plot-enabled worldbuilding in one fell swoop, and I can handwave like a champion if you pay me well. But the writing's quite workaday and the characters are pretty ordinary and there's a plothole I ...more
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