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Clockwork Angels (Clockwork Angels #1)

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,689 ratings  ·  394 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
237th out of 743 books — 3,555 voters
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StoryBundle #14 - Truly Epic Fantasy Bundle
7th out of 9 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David Spencer
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
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
Theophania Elliott
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
Dillon Hills
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
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
David Matta
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
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
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
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
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
Tobin Elliott
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
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
"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
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
Tim Hicks
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
Jc Callan
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime)
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
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
If this wasn't the brain child of the greatest drummer in rock history I can't imagine I would have read it. Even with its consistent lack of subtlety (anything even hinting at symbolism is within a paragraph or two thrown into your face as such--and all potential ambiguity [or reader contribution] is nullified) and with its YA reading level, the story really grew on me. Essentially the story is an extended allegory or maybe just a fairy tale--how to live as an individual amidst the extremes of ...more
Perry Watson
This book takes a bit of time to get into, but I'm glad I did. I finished two days after I bought it, so it must be good.

The slow start comes from a pretty bland opening, with a naive, good-hearted dreamer named Owen Hardy as our protagonist. Having grown up in the sleepy rural village of Barrel Arbor, under the absurdly rigid rule of the Watchmaker, he longs for a bit of adventure and excitement before he gets married and his life becomes entirely predictable from there on out.

Aside from the in
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this is a must read. 4 19 Feb 14, 2015 04:35PM  
The Cat's Tale: January book pick 9 17 Nov 04, 2013 12:30PM  
  • Spirit Walker (Serpent Catch, #1
  • The Festival of Bones (Mythworld, #1)
  • The Camelot Papers
  • The Immortals
  • The Monarch of the Glen
  • The Sacrifice (The Fey, #1)
  • Roadshow: Landscape With Drums
  • Morlock Night
  • Arcanum 101
  • A Latent Dark
  • The Duchess of the Shallows (The Grey City, #1)
  • Disciple (Part I)
  • The Second Coming (Words of the Prophecy, #1)
  • John Gone (The Diaspora Trilogy, #1)
  • The Machine God (The Drifting Isle Chronicles #3)
  • Homunculus
  • The Sword & Sorcery Anthology
  • The Drought
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)
Jedi Search (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, #1) Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, #2) Champions of the Force (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, #3) Blood Lite (Hellchaser, #0.5) Darksaber (Star Wars)

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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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