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The Doomsday Vault (Clockwork Empire #1)

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3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  1,129 Ratings  ·  139 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
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published (first published November 1st 2011)
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Cecilia Rodriguez The intended audience seems to be Young Adult. It has one or two mild curse words. No nudity or sex.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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
Echo
Nov 08, 2011 Echo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Torzilla
Oct 28, 2011 Torzilla marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
edifanob
Aug 16, 2011 edifanob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2012-reads
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
Dec 01, 2011 Simcha Lazarus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Steve Walker
Sep 07, 2012 Steve Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kathryn
Apr 14, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
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
Karen
Nov 14, 2011 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, steampunk
The book almost lost me a few chapters in. I think it was due to the fact that I initially wasn't buying the main character's situation. Someone with a mind which worked like that should be able to shake off the social conventions or at least work around them especially with the examples provided elsewhere in the postulated society. I think I would have believed the set up more if there had been some sort of legal/outside impediment to breaking the social mold rather than just a cartload of psyc ...more
Kathryn
I really loved the premise of this novel. I loved the idea of the clockwork plague, loved both Gavin and Alice, loved the evolution of the characters through the story.

But I disliked a lot more than I loved. I take exception to the word 'zombie' being tossed around in any alternative history novel that doesn't have clear ties to the word's history. The storytelling was confused, there seemed to be a sudden shift at the end where either the author realized he wanted to take this (or the next) bo
...more
Tasula
Feb 16, 2013 Tasula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A steampunk romance; a 22 yr old spinster whose family was killed/crippled by clockwork plague, (a plague that either kills you or turns you into a superbrilliant inventor) tries to reenter society, becomes engaged to Norbert Williamson, who runs an automaton bordello secretly; then meets a handsome young airman who escaped pirates and falls in love. Her aunt Edwina, a clockworker, engineered their meeting and coerces them to free her from prison and spread the CURE for the clockwork plague; lig ...more
Julie
Oct 21, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 05, 2011 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
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.
Trace
I found it difficult to get into this book. The ideas of science in the 1900's version on this book, was interesting. But the characters weren't very well developed for me, and hence I found the story had less impact.
Veronica
Jun 27, 2013 Veronica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
started out okay but got progressively sillier. The romance angle lacked any heat or chemistry so that didn't help.
Daron
Feb 21, 2017 Daron rated it it was ok
Shelves: steampunk
Well this book took me a laughably long time to finish. I would look for every excuse NOT to get back to this book. I reread several book instead of finishing this. It was... rough.

Don't get me wrong, Harper had some really neat ideas. The clockwork plague as a concept was neat, as was the government putting clockworkers to work for them.

The problem is that Harper was not a very good storyteller. He seemed to have a lot more interest in explaining fantastic inventions instead of developing chara
...more
Karissa
Oct 31, 2016 Karissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this steampunk novel. This is the first book in the Clockwork Empire series; there are four books in this series.

I liked the main characters a lot and enjoyed all the crazy clockwork inventions. The book is engaging and fast-paced and I was surprised at how quickly I read through it.

The book switches between Alice’s viewpoint and Gavin’s. Alice is the daughter of a Baron with poor prospects after the Clockwork plague took some of her family and resulted in her family being shunn
...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
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
Stephanie  G
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
Barbara Wilson
Dec 26, 2016 Barbara Wilson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
I feel like I should have liked this book more than I did. The ingredients were all there for a great steampunk story and there were a few elements that could have gone in the direction of romance. It seemed to me that the author couldn't quite decide how much to commit in either direction.

I generally like the concept of the clockwork plague, but it was never given any context in terms of when it appeared or what it was attributed to. That made it difficult to make sense of the difference betwe
...more
Beth Dawkins
Oct 29, 2011 Beth Dawkins rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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
Kt
Aug 08, 2011 Kt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Candace
Oct 12, 2011 Candace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review was first posted on my blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com

Wow! This book got me all sorts of excited! It was absolutely fantabulous! {Yes, I know that's not a word.} It had amazing gadgets and a super strong steampunk aspect. And while I love steampunk {seriously, I do, I seek it out} I'm always a bit worried about how detailed it will be because I have a short attention span. This book though, this book had the very strong steampunk aspect without lengthy descriptions, at all! A
...more
Kim
Dec 09, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review written for steamingenious.blogspot.com where I have many steampunk book reviews.

I don't know why I begin most steampunk books with low expectations. When I haven't heard of the book or the author before, well, I always at least halfway expect it to suck. Which means that I'm almost always pleasantly surprised.

In the case of The Doomsday Vault, I was extremely pleasantly surprised. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys steampunk.

The world depicted by
...more
April Steenburgh
Jan 07, 2012 April Steenburgh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk, fantasy
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
Keith Beasley-Topliffe
OK, I was a little skeptical when I started this. Main character a 20ish woman in Victorian London (tweaked with automata and zombies) in financial difficulties and personal tragedy in her past trying to find a way to survive. Been there. Finished several series like that. Then I got drawn in. Partly by the introduction of a love interest (cabin boy on a dirigible) with his own issues. Partly by a mystery about the zombies and a strange figure who seems able to control them. Partly by wondering ...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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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 16, 2015 08:24AM  
  • The Falling Machine (The Society of Steam, #1)
  • The Horns of Ruin
  • Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles, #1)
  • The Buntline Special (Weird West Tales, #1)
  • Clockwork Heart (Clockwork Heart, #1)
  • The Janus Affair (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, #2)
  • Gossamer Wing (Steam and Seduction, #1)
  • Like Clockwork
  • Dead Iron (Age of Steam, #1)
  • Camera Obscura (The Bookman Histories, #2)
  • Steampunk'd
  • Heart of Brass (Clockwork Agents, #1)
  • The Mysterious Lady Law
  • Her Sky Cowboy (The Glorious Victorious Darcys, #1)
  • Agatha H and the Airship City (Girl Genius Novels, #1)
  • Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (Burton & Swinburne, #3)
  • The Hunter (The Legend Chronicles, #1)
  • The Osiris Ritual (Newbury and Hobbes, #2)

Other Books in the Series

Clockwork Empire (4 books)
  • The Impossible Cube (Clockwork Empire, #2)
  • The Dragon Men (Clockwork Empire, #3)
  • The Havoc Machine (Clockwork Empire, #4)

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