Kim 's Reviews > The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder
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's review
Aug 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011booksread, steampunk
Read in August, 2011

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I also enjoyed this one. But not as much as the first. This one was still a page-turning steampunk adventure, but the plot and ideas felt more all-over-the-place and messy. In addition to mechanical and genetic advances to science, this volume adds supernatural factors that differentiate this version of 19th century Britain from the historical version. This story dealt with Spiritualism, mediums, astral projection and other such topics. But everything was so jumbled together that it never really felt like a coherent plot to me.

But I still enjoyed it for what it was. My second complaint deals with the continued TOTAL ABSENCE of any significant female characters. There are three total female characters in this book otherwise crowded with distinct characters: the housekeeper, one of the villians who only appears in one scene, and a really neat female scientist/animal caretaker who may get a total of two actual lines.

The latter character perfectly illustrates my annoyance. At the beginning of the book the two heros visit this lady's animal organization to borrow some swans to travel to the country (the Swans are huge and propel flying machines.) They meet the lady who trains them and then they take her new assistant, a formerly homeless man, to take care of the swans. This man goes on to become an important part of the rest of the book and I suspect a future permanent part of the team. Why couldn't the female swan-trainer be the one drawn into the plot? There's a perfectly good reason for her to go along to look after the swans and then they would have had someone I suspect would be a kick-ass female character. But no, it's the random homeless guy instead. (I'm not complaining about his character, which I like, but it's an example of how easy it would have been to have a central female character, if only the author made it a priority.)

Anyway, despite all this, I've still given it 4 stars. Maybe I shouldn't, but it was a compulsive read, and the world is fascinating enough to make it a must-read for steampunks. And I wouldn't be bothered so much by its faults if I didn't otherwise enjoy it.
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Martin ''This one was still a page-turning steampunk adventure, but the plot and ideas felt more all-over-the-place and messy.''
This here sums up how I feel perfectly!

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