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The Impossible Cube (Clockwork Empire #2)

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  294 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
In an age where fantastic inventions of steam and brass have elevated Britain and China into mighty empires, Alice Michaels faces a future of technological terrors…

Once, Gavin Ennock sailed the skies on airships and enchanted listeners with his fiddle music. Now, the clockwork plague consumes his intellect, enabling him to conceive and construct scientific wonders—while d
Mass Market Paperback, 369 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Roc
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Just A. Bean
May 30, 2013 Just A. Bean rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I can't tell if I would have liked this book if my expectations hadn't been so high from the first one, or if it just wasn't very good.

I felt very frustrated for the majority of it that all the clever shifts in gender dynamics were basically dropped. Gavin went from Manic Pixy Dream Boy to Tormented Hero Charged with Saving the World (with bonus domestic abuse), and also picked up better mechanical skills, thus making Alice somewhat redundant. Alice alternated between Worrying About Her Man and
Aug 10, 2014 Stéphanie rated it liked it
Shelves: zombies, steampunk, 2014
When I picked up this book and started reading a few pages, I started to wonder, “Do I really want to read another steampunk?” The answer was yes but for some reason, I had a hard time getting into this one. Since I thought Steven Harper had created a wonderful world in his first attempt at steampunk in THE DOOMSDAY VAULT, I think my expectations were too high and THE IMPOSSIBLE CUBE kind of fell short. I was expecting more romance, more gadgets and more crazy ideas. Instead I got a decent story ...more
Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Adventurous steampunk following Gavin & Alice on the next step of their journey. Filled with cool gadgets and explosive toys, The Impossible Cube, is less of a love story and more about saving the world from the Clockwork Virus.

Opening Sentence: Gavin Ennock snapped awake.

The Review:

The Impossible Cube follows Alice and Gavin on the next step of their journey to cure the Clockwork Virus, a virus that turns people into mindless zombies or
Scarlett Barnhill
Feb 04, 2013 Scarlett Barnhill rated it really liked it
Though a little slow to start, as soon as the momentum built, I couldn't put this book down. I loved the first in the series, and this one was no different. Harper's worldbuilding is excellent. It's easy to be utterly sucked in and enthralled -- but the world isn't the only strength. The characters, too, are compelling, and people that I've found myself attached to.

Definite recommendation to those that love steampunk, scifi or fantasy. I can't wait to move onto the next one!
Jan 15, 2015 Kathryn rated it it was ok
I came off of this straight off of reading Doomsday Vault earlier in the day hoping that this book would take the parts of Doomsday Vault that I liked and excel. Or at least that it would be an improvement on Doomsday Vault. I was sadly disappointed. The storytelling became even more confusing and introduced daddy issues where, previously, there had been none. There also seemed to be at least two different plot directions which were considered and then abandoned, u-turns in storytelling are neve ...more
Kari Chapman
Feb 28, 2016 Kari Chapman rated it it was ok
I had made a trip to the library when I was about halfway through book 1 in this series. I'd been really into book 1, so I picked up this book while I was there. However, book 1 didn't end on a very strong note, so I wasn't very enthused going into this book. But, side I'd already checked it out, I figured I'd give it a shot.

Unfortunately, one of the things I most disliked about book 1 was very prominent in this book - Alice Michaels. I didn't care for her in the first book, much preferring sec
Stephanie  G
Jun 04, 2012 Stephanie G rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Gavin and Alice were forced to flee from Britain. They are going to China to spread the cure for the Clockwork Plague, and find a cure for Gavin. The Clockwork plague does one of two things, turns its victims into zombies, or turns people into Clockworks. Though rare, Clockworkers become geniuses who build fantastic machines, but they also end up going crazy before they die. They have the cure for the zombies, but nothing for the Clockworkers. Chasing Gavin and Alice, determined to take
Maya Bohnhoff
Sep 03, 2012 Maya Bohnhoff rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-view-cafe
Well, darn. Now I'm ready for the next one!

When I finished reading the first book in this series (The Doomsday Vault), I was already hot to have the sequel and nagged the author (known to denizens of Book View Cafe as "Igor") on his Book View Cafe blog to hurry up and write it, already! This is what happens when a writer creates a story finale that ties up some things and cleverly leaves others for the next book.

Well, I just finished the impossible Cube, and it was worth the wait. I loooooove st
Joseph Teller
Jan 09, 2013 Joseph Teller rated it liked it
The second book of the Clockwork Empire series begins a short time after the previous novel, with Alice and Gavin starting their grand expedition to China on board their small airship and having reached France, with their mad clockwork plague infected engineer Dr. Cleft and the Chinese Diplomat's son Feng.

It starts in media res and pretty much continues a mad pace through various places in Europe, with a very unhappy Lt. Phillips in pursuit armed with futuristic weapons and mecha-like constructs
Beth Dawkins
Jun 04, 2012 Beth Dawkins rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012

Gavin and Alice were forced to flee from Britain. They are going to China to spread the cure for the Clockwork Plague, and find a cure for Gavin. The Clockwork plague does one of two things, turns its victims into zombies, or turns people into Clockworks. Though rare, Clockworkers become geniuses who build fantastic machines, but they also end up going crazy before they die. They have the cure for the zombies, but nothing for the Clockworkers. Chasing Gavin and Alice, determined to take them
Apr 24, 2012 Kt rated it really liked it
Review originally posted on my blog: A Book Obsession..

Releasing the cure for the clockwork plague was only the beginning despite all the sacrifices made to achieve that goal. Now Alice and Gavin must do everything they can to help it spread as quick as possible to ensure China does not get the upper hand in their quest to dominate the world. Meanwhile, members of the Ward want vengeance for their theft of the cure, and will relentlessly pursue them to the ends of the earth. But incrimination an
Aug 05, 2013 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk, kindle
I'm enjoying this series quite a bit. It effectively employs many of the usual steampunk tropes: an airship, zombies (who are, for a change, curable), automatons, and a mechanically gifted noblewoman who defies societal conventions. Refreshingly, she's not the only important female character--there are also a military woman (who reminds me somewhat of Angelina Jolie's character in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), a commoner who has struggled to build a career for herself and resents the n ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Kara-karina rated it it was amazing
The Impossible Cube blew me away! It was even better than the explosive Doomsday Vault.

There are only few steampunk series so far that really impressed me, and Clockwork Empire is one of them. Non-stop crazy adventures, complex and extremely entertaining world-building, fantastic team of main and secondary characters, and gadgets, gadgets, gadgets...

In book one Gavin and Alice release cure for the clockwork plague in London, but it doesn't help Gavin whose illness progresses with a much faster p
Cecilia Rodriguez
Oct 21, 2015 Cecilia Rodriguez rated it liked it
Infected with the clockwork plague, Gavin Ennock's only hope lies with the Dragon Men of China.
Together with Alice Michaels, Gavin seeks sanctuary with a traveling circus, in an attempt to avoid capture.
Harper includes some of the political unrest surrounding the official beginning of WW I.
A complex Steampunk dystopian world.
Sep 14, 2013 Jackie rated it liked it
Shelves: read-steampunk
Impossible Cube by Steven Harper
This book is 2nd in the Clockwork Empire series. After escaping from the Doomsday Vault by setting off the Impossible Cube, Gavin and Alice (with Fang, Dr. Clef & various mechanicals) head towards China to in the hope of finding a cure for the clockwork plague that will work on the individuals who become clockworkers. The cure that Alice’s aunt created works on those who catch the plague but will not work on clockworkers. They are pursued by Phelps and others
Nov 19, 2014 Brandon rated it really liked it
I still can't stand Alice. She seems not to have learned anything. But the story, the inventions and the other characters make me want to keep reading.
Kelly Flanagan
Jan 02, 2015 Kelly Flanagan rated it really liked it
An interesting tale to take up a weekend. Interesting characters and a twisting storyline. Found the end to be a little rushed though.
Jul 12, 2012 Natalee rated it liked it
I appreciated The Doomsday Vault, but felt this one had less of a human story and more focus on the inventions and technological side. It was distracting for me on a personal level. I know that there are many who would eat this aspect up, I just like a bit more of a balance. Also, I felt a lot of reptition in the plot pattern. Will she sacrifice Gavin? The answer is no over and over again. I thought there were lots of twists that were surprising but for some reason they felt disjointed. Overall, ...more
Jul 27, 2015 Alycia rated it it was ok
Shelves: steampunk, a-l
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
L.E. Doggett
Mar 05, 2016 L.E. Doggett rated it really liked it

Great book, lots of action, twists and spruces. Not to mention good action scenes and imaginative devices.

I recommend it even if you are not into steampunk.
Jul 08, 2015 Velvetink marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it
Second book in the series. Still like how the steam technology is being driven. This book throws you into the action from page 1, and it develops some of the character interactions a bit more than the first book. I like the conundrums that are placed in front of the characters and seeing how they develop to address them. Definitely made room for a follow-up book (or more.) Looking towards the next book.
Aug 10, 2012 William rated it really liked it
I wish the primary opponent to our main character would have staid more in the background, making her more sinister. We do however, get a good insight into her motivation in the process, which we wouldn't have if she were at a remove. Other than that, Steven's latest was very well written with compelling descriptions, well articulated action and well thought out motivations for each of the characters.
Jul 05, 2013 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
Solid story with solid, enjoyable characters! The only drawback was the circus...I'm just not a fan of circuses so it's my shortcoming. The good news is that the circus wasn't the main focus and now I don't have to expect a circus in future novels! Seriously, circuses are to novels what the obligatory "fight club" episodes are to genre TV. Did I mention the novel was highly enjoyable in spite of this? :)
Aug 16, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
This is the sequel to The Doomsday Vault. It continued a good story and developed almost all of the characters that you've wanted to see again from the first book. Dr. Clef though was woefully underdeveloped as a character in my opinion though. That's a shame as it would have been a perfect way of letting us see what's in store for our main characters. I still liked the book though. Great steampunk.
Aug 31, 2012 Angus rated it liked it
Alice and Gavin flee across Europe from Lt Phipps' revenge. This second book of the series moves at a non-stop, breakneck pace, but at the same time it feels more perfunctory. Much of the human element that made "the Doomsday Vault" so enjoyable is missing. This is a common phenomenon in second books of series; one can only hope that books 3 and 4 will improve.
Jul 22, 2013 Evan rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk
This was the first steampunk book I've ever read. I picked up this book without reading the first of the series and, alrhough It wasn't the most amazing book in the world, it was well worth the read. It's funny and the premise is pretty well thought out. Steampunk zombies and doomsday machines! What else could you want from a book?
Kaycee Looney
Dec 12, 2012 Kaycee Looney rated it really liked it
Another entertaining steampunk read to add to my growing obsession for the genre. :-)

Harper has a talent for creating interesting, quirky characters that draw you into the story. (Including an automaton who is reminiscent of C3PO and a crazy German genius.)

Looking forward to beginning the third book tonight.
Jeff Crosby
This novel begins shortly after the end of The Doomsday Vault. The characters are familiar. The pacing is fast. I would think this would be a difficult novel to pick up without having read the first volume. This volume doesn't have the vulgarity problems of Doomsday Vault. I liked it better on all levels.
Dr susan
Oct 19, 2012 Dr susan rated it really liked it
The Impossible Cube has no dull moments; it has tragic, horrifying, comic, romantic and thrilling moments, but no dull ones. Harper's world is fascinating and terrifying. The apocalypse waits around every corner, and I look forward to turning those corners with Gavin and Alice.
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