Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mechanical (The Alchemy Wars, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Mechanical (The Alchemy Wars, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mechanical

(The Alchemy Wars #1)

by
3.97  ·  Rating details ·  5,214 Ratings  ·  617 Reviews
My name is Jax.

That is the name granted to be by my human masters.

I am a clakker: a mechanical man, powered by alchemy. Armies of my kind have conquered the world - and made the Brasswork Throne the sole superpower.

I am a faithful servant. I am the ultimate fighting machine. I am endowed with great strength and boundless stamina.

But I am beholden to the wishes of my human
...more
Kindle Edition, 480 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Orbit
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mechanical, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Alex As I just wrote in my review, I felt it was definitely just the first in a series and doesn't end in a way that I would consider as remotely…moreAs I just wrote in my review, I felt it was definitely just the first in a series and doesn't end in a way that I would consider as remotely stand-alone. It was frustrating to me.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2015/03/09/b...

Like many fans of Ian Tregillis, I was first introduced to his work with the Milkweed Triptych, a series about British warlocks versus Nazi super-soldiers in an alternate history of World War II. Then In 2013 I picked up Something More Than Night, a futuristic urban fantasy-type metaphysical hard-boiled detective noir story about angels. That book was a bit of a departure to say the least, but it also solidified Tregillis
...more
Bradley
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the greater portion of this novel, I was sitting pretty at three stars because no matter how much action-packed escapades and beautiful worldbuilding it may have been stuffed with, I was only pretty much interested in Jax. The other two were only interesting in spurts.

That is, until they actually met one another in the denouement, and then things really picked up for me and made me feel less like I had just *wanted* to love this novel without quite liking it. After that point, though, I love
...more
Kameron Hurley
Mar 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should be reading everything by Ian Tregillis. Everyone. Everything.
Lindsay
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man I'm sick of great big books published in serial form. This isn't a trilogy. Trilogies are three novels. The format of a novel is beginning, middle, end. This is all beginning with a major event at the end that doesn't change anything for the characters and leaves great gobs of story to come.

The story itself follows three PoV characters through an alternate world where the Dutch empire became the dominant force in Europe and the American colonies through it's use of alchemically derived mecha
...more
Matthew
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My name is Jax.

That is the name granted to be by my human masters.

I am a clakker: a mechanical man, powered by alchemy. Armies of my kind have conquered the world - and made the Brasswork Throne the sole superpower.

I am a faithful servant. I am the ultimate fighting machine. I am endowed with great strength and boundless stamina.

But I am beholden to the wishes of my human masters.

I am a slave. But I shall be free.



I have watched the rise of Ian Tregillis with great interest. I was first introduce
...more
Joel
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-copy, audiobooks
Full Review on my blog, Total Inability To Connect: https://totalinabilitytoconnect.wordp...

I fell for Tregillis’ unique stylings when his first major novel, Bitter Seeds, was introduced to me. I found his writing style, prose, creativity, and plot progression to be incredibly enjoyable, and his characters shone. However, with those books, I honestly felt they all hovered in the “4-star” area, where they were fun, had tons of potential, but just lacked a bit of polish and “glue”, so to speak, to
...more
Melissa
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I wanted to like this book. I really did. The concept is interesting and I think there's a good book in there somewhere. But it was buried under a layer of pretentious drivel and endless descriptions about things that don't really matter. This author makes George R. R. Martin seem concise. I wouldn't say that I have a poor vocabulary, but I had to look up a word every few pages. That really took me out of the story. Not to mention that parts of the story were so boring, I fell asleep after readi ...more
Dawn
++SPOILERS++

5 stars. (This is more or less notes to myself than a review)

(just raised my opinion and stars after further reflection 2-14-2017)

This book is written in the 3rd person, which surprised me since the GR summary gave me the impression it would be in 1st person.

The beginning was slow and full historical details and dates which almost put me off. The writing style was also a little difficult to get used to for me. It seemed at first stiff, formal and overly intellectual. Either I got u
...more
Nikki
Received to review via Netgalley

This one took me a weirdly long time to read, considering the fact that I don’t have major criticisms. I just… didn’t feel like reading it. In part that’s because of emotional stuff: tortures, transformations, losses… Tregillis writes well about these, and I tend to be bad at reading that. There’s one aspect of Visser’s character arc in particular that still has me cringing now. It’s worse with characters I feel more involved with, which is maybe the place that Tr
...more
Lisa
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
Review from Tenacious Reader: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2015/0...

4.5/5 stars

The Mechanical is a wonderful steampunk, alternate history novel that takes the reader into the dark world of spies and war and also examines issues of slavery versus free will and religion. This book can be quite dark, but it balances the horrific parts with a fascinating world and wonderful characters.

“Clakkers” or mechanical men powered by alchemy to serve humans. There are several kinds, giving them specialties
...more
Ryandake
a book i can't finish.

i'm listening to the audiobook, am just a tad over halfway. and i am bored, bored, bored.

the book has an interesting set-up and the worldbuilding isn't bad--so what makes it un-finishable?

it's the long-windedness. there are super-long action scenes stuffed with filler--people thinking about all the stuff that won't work, for example, in the middle of fighting for their lives. you can safely ignore the audiobook for long stretches while you drive past something noisy or fig
...more
Marius
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was undecided between 4 and 5 stars, but I am too lazy to nitpick so I went with 5, and to be fair, the arguments for 4 start were mostly personal preferences.

This is more steampunk than sci-fi and it takes place in the beginning of the 20th century, in an alternate world.
The Dutch rule the world, or at least, as much as they care to conquer. Though no other countries seem to exist besides them and the French. This dominance comes from their technological advantage in the mechanical and alchem
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I got about 1/4 in and decided I wouldn't finish. I liked the first novel of the author's previous trilogy, Bitter Seeds, but never went back to the other books in that series. I think it is for similar reasons that I don't think I'll finish this one. Ian Tregillis very creatively weaves automatons and clockwork people into historical events. The previous trilogy looked at World War II, and The Alchemy Wars are set more during Louis XIV. If you are interested in how issues of mechanical beings w ...more
P42
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, holiday-2016
Moje wideorecenzje tego cyklu na YOUTUBE:
http://bit.ly/p42tregillis
zachęcam do zapoznania się :)
Sarah
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I'm really torn between two and three stars on this one but just based on my relief with being done I'm going with two. It really was more like two for the first half and three for the second.

This book never entirely worked for me. My biggest quibble - this one's going to take time - was the particular alt-history world that this guy created. There's a war going between New Amsterdam and New France but we're not given a year that it's taking place. New Amsterdam ceased to exist in the mid-17th c
...more
Liviu Szoke
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though the steampunk it is not my absolute favorite subgenre, Tregillis became quickly one of my to follow authors. Bitter Seeds was a decent and inovative fantasy delivery, but this time we have a metaphysical journey, combinated with a vivid description of an alternate reality, where the human-alike robots are something usual in the begining of the XXth century all over the world. Part medieval world, part I, Robot (the movie, not the collection), it kept me hooked from the first to the last p ...more
Andris
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Interesanta alternatīvās vēstures pasaule, kas ir Tregillisa stiprā puse, ar tēliem ir švakāk. Viena no diviem vadošajiem tēliem, franču spiegu tīkla vadītāja Berenīsa, ir, maigi izsakoties, kaitinoša un viņas lēmumi liek vaicāt, kā viņa ir nonākusi šajā augstajā amatā.

Grāmata ir triloģijas ievads, tai nav pašai savas noslēgtas stāsta līnijas, kas, ar retiem izņēmumiem, mani stipri kaitina.



Milo (BOK)
The Review Can Also Be Found Here:: http://thefictionalhangout.blogspot.c...

Ian Tregillis has quickly emerged as one of my go-to authors if I want to read some good alternate historical fiction, with a sci-fi/fantasy bent. His Milkweed Tryptych series saw British warlocks battle Nazi super soldiers in an awesome alternate WW2 setting and absolutely blew me away. The Mechanical offers up more of the same, an inventive world, a compelling atmosphere and an awesome finale. The book grabbed me from
...more
Brandt
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, scifi
There is a chapter in The Mechanical where two characters with different religious philosophies discuss whether Free Will is real or an illusion. This is what drives the plot of this brilliant alternate history. In the Mechanical, Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens discovered a means of creating clockwork men who help the Dutch become masters of the world. All that stands in their way are the exiled French court, living in North America. It's impossible to discuss the plot points without massive ...more
T. Frohock
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Positively excellent! A riveting look at free will and slavery, examined through the lens of Calvinistic and Catholic philosophies in a fast-paced alternative history. I appreciated the way Tregillis took his time and seated the reader in the world and the story with the opening scenes before launching into the action. In taking such great care, the characters were vibrant and simply leapt off the page--their motivations were clear, and I cared deeply enough about each one so that their pain was ...more
Jared
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too many characters and the slow pacing made this a hard book to get in to. The proliferation of foreign words, made up, Nordic and French, also did this no favors in readability. If the story had stayed on Jax I would have fallen head over heels, but though he is the only interesting character in the book, he gets about 1/4 of the screen time. Also, I just don't like steampunk at all and this doesn't do enough to differentiate itself, which was the same issue I had with his last book. This is t ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-my-best-of
Bitter Seeds was far from my favorite books, but this novel is a much more thoughtful and interesting examination of an alternate history. I loved the world-building and how the author uses this world in order to explore some heavy themes like free-will or slavery. The only thing I didn’t like was the total absence of any closure and I am a little angry at the writers that play these games with the reader. Even if The Mechanical is the first novel in the series, it should have been a complete no ...more
Lancer
This. Was. Great. Not counting the Tales of the Ketty Jay series this is now my next favourite steampunk-ish series. The questions on free will were entertaining and the 3 pov's were equally enthralling.

Long story short: loved it.
Lynn Williams
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
https://lynnsbooks.wordpress.com/2015...

Just finished reading The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis and what a great story this is. I really enjoyed it, a strange combination of alternate history, steampunk and conflict – in more ways than one – that packs an emotional punch for most of the journey.

I’m not going to say this was a quick read because it isn’t. The style of writing and depth of detail coupled with the ideas and name places do mean you have to give this your whole attention. Or at least I
...more
Cathy
I was very excited to read this because I read Tregillis's truly excellent story The Mainspring of His Heart, The Shackles of His Soul, in the anthology Human for a Day that this book appears to be based on. The story turns out to be an alternate Jax's tale. The fully realized characters and history he created must have been so intriguing that he decided to expand it into a series, which doesn't surprise me one little bit. The story was so interesting and poignant, I've always remembered it, eve ...more
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
A tale old as time - a machine rebels against its creator, a slave resists his shackles and stands against his master. Yet, the created world is different, built in clockpunk esthetics, with cogs, modes, springs tic-toking around. More for connoisseurs than rookies.
---
„Mechaniczny” zdaje się być lekturą raczej dla znawców tematu, czytelników, którym nieobce są treści cyberpunkowe, steampunkowe i wszystkie podobne odmiany gatunku science-fiction. O ile tematyka buntu, wolnej woli, czy wojny reli
...more
Suzanne
This had a lot of discussion about free-will and the nature of the soul, along with tons of action. Coincidentally, I read it at the same time I read Going Postal, which explored (in a more humorous way of course) many similar ideas with golems instead of mechanicals. I'm glad the two books paired up like that.
Ints
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, test
Labs sērijas iesākums. Stīmpanks. Alķīmiķu mehānismi kalpotāji (turpmāk roboti), kuri ir pilnībā pakļauti saviem saimniekiem. Diskusija par brīvo gribu un dominanci pasaulē. Daudz pakaļdzīšanās un piedzīvojumu. Vēlāk izvērsīšos plašāk.

Pēc Asinszāles triloģijas izlasīšanas Ian Tregillis ir iekļuvis manā obligāti lasāmo autoru sarakstā. Patīk veids, kādā viņš atklāj savus tēlus, savij sižetu un interpretē savas pasaules vēsturi. Šo grāmatu iegādājos tūdaļ pēc tās iznākšanas un uzreiz arī sāku lasī
...more
Antonio Diaz
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-owned
The Mechanical es una novela muy curiosa, a caballo entre varios géneros, pero que no se decanta por ninguno. Esta característica, que podría lastrar la novela, en realidad la convierte en algo ciertamente único y nuevo, un excitante cóctel resultado de la mezcla a partes iguales de diversos ingredientes.

La acción de The Mechanical se sitúa en una Tierra alternativa donde los holandeses descubren la manera de crear "robots". Esta "tecnología" les convierte en la absoluta potencia mundial y alte
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Daedalus Incident (Daedalus #1)
  • Dark Orbit
  • The Red: First Light (The Red #1)
  • Ack-Ack Macaque (Ack-Ack Macaque, #1)
  • Lightless (Lightless, #1)
  • Tracer (Outer Earth #1)
  • The Time Roads
  • A Darkling Sea
  • Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire #1)
  • The Violent Century
  • Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl (Gideon Smith, #1)
  • Europe in Autumn
  • Flex ('Mancer, #1)
  • City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2)
  • Chasing the Phoenix (Darger and Surplus #2)
  • Defenders
  • Time Salvager (Time Salvager #1)
  • Planetfall (Planetfall, #1)

Other books in the series

The Alchemy Wars (3 books)
  • The Rising (The Alchemy Wars, #2)
  • The Liberation (The Alchemy Wars, #3)
“Oh, for crying out loud," she said. "Were you fools any more chivalrous I'd surely swoon on the spot and damage my uterus.” 7 likes
“The prosperity achieved through slavery had a way of blinding men’s hearts to the evil of their own hands.” 3 likes
More quotes…