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Clockwork Angels (Clockwork Angels #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,896 Ratings  ·  417 Reviews
A remarkable collaboration that is unprecedented in its scope and realization, this exquisitely wrought novel represents an artistic project between the bestselling science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson and the multiplatinum rock band Rush.

The newest album by Rush, Clockwork Angels, sets forth a story in Neil Peart’s lyrics that has been expanded by him and Anderson in
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by ECW Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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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
Best Steampunk Books
260th out of 809 books — 3,785 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Theophania Elliott
Sep 22, 2012 Theophania Elliott rated it really liked it
Clockwork Angels is the companion book to the new Rush album of the same name. It's a steampunk fantasy describing a young man's dissatisfaction with his safe, ordered life in the Watchmaker's precisely ordered realm (even the rain arrives on time) and his embarkation on an impulsive adventure that rapidly spirals out of control. Through the book, the hero - Owen Hardy - changes from a naive boy to a young man.

However, if you are expecting complex plotting and multi-layered characters, you will
David Spencer
Sep 18, 2012 David Spencer rated it it was ok
Disappointed in this one. "It was okay" about sums it up -- it's a fairly bland coming-of-age story with some inspired elements, but it's dragged down by the attempts to shoe-horn Rush references everywhere he could.

A novella that fleshed out the story of Clockwork Angels, the album, would have been fine. By making it a full-length novel we end up with the author spoon-feeding us way more than we need of the protagonist's mental state, along with clumsy Rush lyrics thrown into just about every c
Jeff LaSala
Jul 09, 2012 Jeff LaSala rated it really liked it
This is a short review of only the first few chapters of Clockwork Angels. As a longtime Rush fan, a sci-fi/fantasy novelist, and editor-in-training, I was honored to have receive a teaser copy from KJA to scope out.

To be clear, there is absolutely a certain level of bias feeding my opinions. From the moment I heard Fly by Night as a kid, I'd been won over by the musicianship, lyrics, and imagination of Rush. I've thrilled at the darkly wondrous "2112" and "Cygnus X-1," the epic fantasies of "Xa
Dillon Hills
Sep 10, 2012 Dillon Hills rated it it was amazing
This book was one hell of a fascinating journey. I started it before leaving on a trip to Seattle and could not put it down. I planned on it lasting me til I got back home but I still have two days before I head back!

From the first sentence I was hooked. It's a classic coming of age adventure filled with all the excitement and terror one would expect from the minds of Kevin J Anderson and Neil Peart.

I love the latest Rush album, Clockwork Angels. So was more than pleased when I heard they were
Jim Razinha
Sep 28, 2012 Jim Razinha rated it it was ok
Disappointing, but not wholly without value.

A novelization of the band Rush's latest album (with the same title), it expands on the songs of that album, but is a flatly rendered and weak story with little depth to the characters or the world they inhabit.

Disclosure #1: I've been a fan of Rush since the late 1970s.
Disclosure #2: I've listened to Clockwork Angels four times now and it still hasn't grabbed me, though the latest time was at the halfway point in this book, and the context provided b
Sep 11, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was ok
2 1/2 stars

When I first heard Neil Peart would collaborate with author Kevin J. Anderson on a fiction project connected to the latest Rush album, I was intrigued. For about two years, since the release of the band's single "Caravan," we waited for something - anything - resembling a larger project that might necessitate a tour for support. The hardcore fan base saw that wish realized with the release of Clockwork Angels the album (which I do enjoy) and the corresponding novel of the same time, w
David Matta
Dec 14, 2012 David Matta rated it it was amazing
Clockwork Angels: The Novel
Kevin J. Anderson, Neil Peart Review

The only reason I ever had any profound interest in this book was because I am a loyal Rush fan, and following the release of the album, Clockwork Angels, the main thing I was drawn to was the story, and the lyrics that illustrated it. It told of the story of a young boy, his yearning for adventure, how he met his true love, and other generalities. But the story was incomplete and many questions arose, such as what was the story beh
Adam Light
Full disclosure: I'm a big fan of Rush, especially the pro-rock albums they gave us in the 70's. I discovered them when I was in my early teens, and I still listen to them today. Their latest release, Clockwork Angels is their first "concept" album in a very long time. I thought it was very good, and got better with every listen. When I heard Neil Peart had coauthored a novel which expanded on the album's themes and fleshed out the story, I went into paroxysms of giddy delight at the very though ...more
Sep 12, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be an absolutely amazing, emotional, beautiful piece of literature! I am familiar with co-writer Kevin J. Anderson's work and I think this is a very strong effort from him. That being said, as an avid fan of Rush and an equally avid fan of Rush drummer Neil Peart's books ("Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa," "Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road," "Traveling Music: the Soundtrack to My Life and Times," "Roadshow: Landscape With Drums -- A Concert Tour By Motorcycle," ...more
Sep 16, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it
I’m a Rush fan and an avid reader. That is the main reason I wanted to read this book. After listening to the latest Rush album, Clockwork Angels, it was obvious that the song lyrics told a story. Although typical to many albums of this nature, it did not tell the complete story, only what would fit lyrically along with the music in order to make a coherent musical recording. So when I heard that Kevin J. Anderson was writing a book based on the story told by the songs on the album, I naturally ...more
Aug 22, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Don’t know how much of this is known, but I am a big fan of RUSH, the Canadian rock band recently celebrating over 35 years of activity. As I type, I have a signed album copy of their album Hold Your Fire over my desk. (It’s not their most exciting cover, but I like it, even more so the album, and the signatures stand out all the more because of its simplicity.)

There’s been quite a bit of excitement in the fact that their latest album, their twentieth, is a full-blown concept album. Their most f
Tim Hicks
Apr 09, 2013 Tim Hicks rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
2.6 stars, rounded up. Peart says in the Afterword that Anderson sometimes dictated book chapters while mountain climbing. I'm not surprised. I've read other books by him that left the impression he wasn't giving it all his attention.

The book is a collection of Young Adult adventure tropes, stitched together over Peart's frame. I remembered Mieville's Railsea, and a whole bunch of other "young man talks his way onto a ship" books.

I've started thinking of Anderson as more of a carpenter than a
Tobin Elliott
Sep 02, 2014 Tobin Elliott rated it did not like it
Shelves: hard-copy, fiction
I should like this book. I love Rush, and I love the album that serves as the inspiration to this novel. So really, I should like this book. But I truly don't. It's horrible.

I've read (more than) enough Kevin J. Anderson to know he's a prolific, and terrifically lazy writer. He gets the job done, like a Big Mac will quench hunger, but it's all empty calories.

In this story, the protagonist, Owen Hardy, essentially gets led by the nose through all of the areas that were conveniently laid out at th
Aug 17, 2013 Peter rated it liked it
Well, it was a pretty quick and entertaining enough read, anyway. I liked the world building. I've never read Anderson before, but it's really impossible for me to see this book except through the lens of being a Rush fan. I love Clockwork Angels (The Album). Best Rush album in, well, a long time. A concept album, to which this book is the written companion. As a Rush fan it was distracting to see so many Rush lyrics woven into the text, and I'm not talking merely or particularly of the lyrics f ...more
Jun 11, 2013 Kevin rated it it was amazing
"The Watchmaker says we can't make time stand still. Don't look back, but take the time to look around you now." (31)

"Sprawling on the fringes of the city" (45)

"'Justice against the Hanged Man,' she said, then ... 'Knight of Wands against the Hour' ... 'Hermit against the Lovers'" (61)

" ... mystic rhythms of ... " (69)

"Wheels within wheels in a spiral array ... " (76)

" ... decided that he had to stick it out. The universe had a plan ... " (82)

"'Roll the bones' ... " (85)

"' ... why are you here .
Ian Thomas
Sep 27, 2012 Ian Thomas rated it it was ok
This book is a far cry from the quality of the album.

First of all, I am a tremendous Rush fan, and I believe the album Clockwork Angels represents their finest effort. If it were to be their last, they would leave on the highest note possible.

Unfortunately, they set the bar so high, that a writer as poor as Kevin Anderson couldn't possibly hope to even approach it, much less reach it. His writing style grates, with his immature voice and formulaic structures. Every character, for example, is int
Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount)
I loved this book. It presents a really cool world, one I wish had more books about it. The concept of intersecting worlds introduced in this story is lovely, and I really love the aesthetics of the clockwork angels. It's also satisfying that while we see in this novel how the seeming utopia of Albion is not perfect, we also see how it does provide a happy, safe, fulfilling lifestyle for most of its people. This is a much more nuanced concept than just criticizing the clockwork society for its r ...more
T.L. Shreffler
Oct 21, 2015 T.L. Shreffler rated it liked it
The good: I liked the setup of this imaginative dystopia, especially the idea of the Clockwork Angels. I found The Watchmaker and the Anarchist to be interesting characters, but the main character, Owen Hardy, is your cliche, typical sheltered hero who goes out adventuring, yet by the end of the book, still seems pretty sheltered. I personally enjoyed the Watchmaker's chapters the most, and I felt like the writing became sharper during these chapters as well. I wish there was more of him in the ...more
Jc Callan
Jun 11, 2014 Jc Callan rated it liked it
Anderson did a really good job of setting up an interesting fantasy/sci-fi world, I actually enjoyed following the main character throughout the various settings. Overall the premise and build up was pretty good though some things hindered this book from achieving a real 'Wow' from me. By the end I felt it wasn't bad but it wasn't great either, I read the book entirely on a round trip plane flight so it was fairly short. I think the dialogue is what pissed me off the most about this book, it was ...more
Overall, the book really didn't do much for me. It wasn't awful, but it just wasn't my thing - I've never understood the whole steampunk thing, and this book didn't help me with that all. lol I found it really slow at points, and I really just slogged through it out of Rush Fan Honour :-P I actually found the constant Rush references to be REALLY cheesy; the references to the CA album were to be expected, but there are parts, mostly near the start of the book, where every. other. paragraph. has ...more
Alex Scott
Feb 20, 2014 Alex Scott rated it did not like it
I happened across this book randomly at the library recently. I'd heard about it a while back, and I enjoy sci-fi/fantasy books and I'm a fan of Rush, so it seemed like a no brainer to check it out.

I regret that decision.

Clockwork Angels is your basic sci-fi/fantasy story about a "utopia" where everyone does what they're told and never deviates from their path or questions their lot in life, and everything runs smoothly and perfectly, while being watched over by a seemingly benevolent leader. An
3.5 stars. This book is a fascinating collaboration between author Kevin J. Anderson, Rush lyricist Neil Peart, and featuring art by Huge Syme. It's physically quite beautiful, kudos to the publisher who decided that heavy, slick pages with slight sepia color were a good idea, as well as having the first page of each chapter printed on what looks like the yellowish pulp paper that the daily news is printed on in the town that Owen grew up in. But the real draw is the collaboration between the no ...more
Jul 31, 2013 Caroline rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
In a world where order is precisely controlled by the Watchmaker, Owen Hardy, an apple farmer, yearns for adventure and to visit Crown City and to cast his eyes upon the famed Clockwork Angels. But nobody leaves their village. It's not allowed. He takes a chance in sneaking out of his house just before midnight to meet his girlfriend, who doesn't show up and unwittingly embarks on an adventurous journey beyond his wildest dreams when he impetuously leaps aboard a Steamliner.

Life, as he knew it,
May 18, 2013 Iain rated it it was ok
I'm a lifelong fan of Rush, and a huge admirer of Neil Peart's lyrics, so when I first heard that their latest album (excellent, by the way) was to be novelised, I was excited... though I must be honest and admit that a considerable portion of that excitement vanished when I heard that it was to be done by Kevin J Anderson. I'm not that familiar with Mr Anderson's work, having read only a couple of his collaborations and a short story or two, but I was aware that he didn't have a great critical ...more
Lisa Petrocelly
Sep 05, 2013 Lisa Petrocelly rated it it was amazing
A few things led me to read this book: first, I continue to read more things outside my comfort zone (crime fiction) and this is science fiction/steampunk. Next, I'm married to a big Kevin J. Anderson fan as he cowrote many of the Dune novels with the son of Frank Herbert. Ken is much pickier than i am with fiction so I wanted to give Anderson a try. Finally, I've been a huge Rush fan since high school - Neal Peart is considered among the very best songwriters in rock. Pair him with Kevin J. And ...more
Stephen Ormsby
Dec 05, 2012 Stephen Ormsby rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I have been reading Kevin Anderon for many years now, and will always line up for one of his books. So when I heard he was collaborating with some band called Rush, I found myself interested in the result. Okay, before you all yell at me for the throw-away remark about Rush, let me explain.

The Canadian band Rush have not made much impact out here in Australia. I must admit that I did look them up after Kevin mentioned them to me, and now I must say I am a proud owner of some of their albums with
Aug 03, 2013 Claudia rated it it was ok
I bought this book in anticipation of seeing the 2013 Rush concert of the same name. I think, depending upon ones age this book could range from being a YA steampunk fantasy to an allegory of the confinement of religion to a simple coming of age tale. The characters are not complex, nor is the plot but it does have a lovely poetic feel to it that I found enjoyable. For those who have read Voltaire, it is Candide extra-light.

Because of an emotional investment, I really wanted this book to be asto
Steven Ellis
Sep 09, 2012 Steven Ellis rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this book and what can I say? It's the perfect accompaniment to the album of the same name by the immortal prog-rock band Rush.
The book is set in a steam punk, near future universe presided over by the order-obsessed but benevolent Watchmaker and follows a young man named Owen Hardy on the cusp of becoming an adult as he ventures beyond the village he has lived in all his life.
Though it is more or less a generic coming of age story, the book manages to stay interesting due
Nov 21, 2012 Derek rated it liked it
Shelves: sf, steampunk, topia
I'm really torn about this.

I had an argument in the summer about Kevin Anderson's credentials as an author. I think he's technically a pretty good writer, but I'm still not sure he's any good at ideas - after all, a lot of his best selling stuff is actually Frank Herbert's ideas. So, anyway, I expected this should be pretty good, as the ideas are Neil Peart's.

And Neil Peart is one-third of the last of the great prog-rock bands, "Rush" (are there any prog-rock bands left in their original lineups
Sep 24, 2012 Carl rated it really liked it
A Classic coming of age narrative, using Voltaire's Candide as a starting point. If you are looking for a fun light read, this is a book for you. If you are looking for great depth or a high literary style this is not the book you are looking for. This is a simple tale told simply very well.

Owen Hardy's adventures are fun intriguing and involving enough, even if in parts you can see what will probably occur before it actually does.

Also for me a long-time Rush fan, it was great fun to encounter a
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this is a must read. 4 19 Feb 14, 2015 04:35PM  
The Cat's Tale: January book pick 9 18 Nov 04, 2013 12:30PM  
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Pseudonyms: Gabriel Mesta, K.J. Anderson

He has written spin-off novels for Star Wars, StarCraft, Titan A.E., and The X-Files, and is the co-author of the Dune prequels. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series and the Nebula Award-nominated Assemblers of Infinity. He has also written several comic books including the Dark Horse Star Wars collection Tales of the Jedi written in coll
More about Kevin J. Anderson...

Other Books in the Series

Clockwork Angels (2 books)
  • Clockwork Lives (Clockwork Angels, #2)

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“The best place to start an adventure is with a quiet, perfect life . . . and someone who realizes that it can’t possibly be enough.” 5 likes
“The best place to start an adventure is with a quiet, perfect life... And someone who realizes that it can't possibly be enough.” 5 likes
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