Nicola Mansfield's Reviews > The Clockwork Three

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby
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Mar 02, 12

Read in March, 2012

Reason for Reading: This book came unsolicited but I enjoy steampunk as well as stories set in Victorian-like eras, especially from the lower class point of view.

This is a tough book to categorize. It centres around clockmakers, clockworks and an automaton within a Victorian (or Victorian-like) society and is obviously steampunk but from there it defies generalization. There is a mystery; this is mostly realistic fiction but there is just that tiny hint of fantasy; the author's note let's us know that some of the events are a compilation from actual events in history, though no dates or name places are given to let us know whether this is happening on our Earth or an alternate Earth. None of this really matters. What the story is, is adventure at top-speed, unique plotline and a page turner.

I was hooked at the first chapter and was held in this book's grip until the wonderful satisfying end. The three child characters are each fantastic as we get to know them and beautifully written. They are all similar in age and yet they go gradually from eldest to youngest. Each has a wounded soul and a problem in their lower class life that seems insurmountable. As pairs of the three meet each other and start helping each other it isn't until the three finally all meet together they realize that each one holds the key to another's problem and as such sets forth the tale that will change each of their lives forever.

The book has a Dickensian feel to it. Of course, starting with the Oliver Twist-like story of orphan Giuseppe and the buskers under the abusive thumb of Stephano. Then with the motley cast of characters with names such as Mrs. Treeless, Mr. Grumholdt and Mr. Stroop. A fantastic story that both readers of Victorian historical fiction and those of steampunk or sure to enjoy. A brilliant first novel, full of characterization and a plot that doesn't let up until the end. Very satisfying and recommended. I'll be reading this author again!
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