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Clockwork Menagerie

(Shadows of Asphodel #2.5)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  42 reviews
1914. Konstantin would love to hide in his laboratory and dissect the clockwork dragon captured from Russia, but the Archmages of Vienna have other plans. He finds himself shipped off to St. Petersburg as the scientific attaché to an ambassador. His orders? Look, but don't touch. Of course, he considers this an impossible request with so much enemy technomancy to explore.

Published September 1st 2015 by Curiosity Quills Press
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  74 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
I'm not always up with this genre in terms of what's expected. I don't read a lot of steampunk, I think this may have been called dieselpunk, or technomancy. However, the setting was really well drawn, I felt a sense of time and a sense of machinery and inventions and wonder and worry at what these things could do. How they could be brought to life - and how dark that aspect was. The action was good, as was the suspense that was built.

I felt the romance between Konstantin and Himmel was lacking
Nay Denise
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC copy to review.

Beautifully written. I loved both Shadows of Asphodel and Storms of Lazarus, so I knew I would enjoy this novella. Karen Kincy has a a way with words and how she creates her characters into these amazing people. The world of technomancy is just all too interesting.

Konstantin was an archmage battling to save his home and with who he was. I loved him because he found a way to balance both out. He was nerdy, quirky and downright smart. He knew things were going wron
Sep 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-ebooks
I've read and liked the two books of the series so I read this novella, too; all the better that it focused on Konstantin, an interesting character who could have more adventures on his own.
I knew there was going to be romance and it was fine, the series had a nice balance, but the story here is just a backdrop for the romance, and a dull one at that.

Both the protagonists behave either stiffly or as giddy teenagers and there is neither tension nor intensity. The story has too many gaps and contr
I love it when an author takes a break from the main characters to give a compelling minor character his story. Konstantin has been a pivotal secondary character through both the first two books in the series and he started up a bit of romance in the second book so it was fun to get his quirky, distracted, and sometimes impulsive thoughts and actions and see him bumble his way toward his chance at love.

In the second novel, Konstantin makes a chilling discovery about one of the clockwork machines
When I initially started this series with the first book, Shadows of Asphodel, I was very unsure of Konstantin -- a scientist with the Archmages, specializing in technomancy. He initially wasn't very personable, he was quite gruff at times, certainly not the kind of man to let loose and have some fun. With the second book, Kincy changed all of that, giving dear old Konstantin such personality and loading him up with such endearing characteristics. Not only is he so incredibly personable now as t ...more
Serena Yates
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a world that is much like one to be found in a Steampunk universe, it may be 1914 and some of the politics and the fact that there is a world war are familiar, but it is a very different version of reality than the one we know from our past. Clockwork machinery rules the day, but steam does not drive it, rather it is powered by magic (technomancy), diesel (hence the author has dubbed this Dieselpunk), or the highly illegal energy of souls (necromancy). The Austro-Hungarian and the German empi ...more
I am not new to fantasy or historical or romance part of the genres. But, still I found Clockwork Menagerie to be something new. Konstantin (I do not know before now that I love this name - I think it's the spelling part that does it ;) ) is an Archmage and has struggled a lot to have achieved what he is now. He is working hard to save his homeland and be with the man he loves. Himmel, the love interest of Konstantin, is the polar opposite of Konstantin. While Konstantin is shy, nerdy and smart, ...more
Talk Supe
Sep 04, 2015 added it
Shelves: 2015
My first taste of Kincy's steampunk world and it won't be the last.

THE ADVENTURE: I loved that it took us to Russia with an underdog for a hero. The technology is very steampunk with a touch of paranormalcy which puts the series right up y alley.

THE ROMANCE: This novella is MM romance.
It didn't consume the story although it's there.
It's not too raunchy too, but it wasn't fade to black either. Kincy just didn't linger on the acts.

CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE is paced well with a plot that's ambitious yet
Sep 14, 2015 rated it liked it
This review originally appeared on my blog,


CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE is a novella set in the dieselpunk world of the Shadows of Asphodel series. While the series mainly follows Ardis and Wendel, this novella focuses on Archmage Konstantin and zeppelin captain Himmel. The two are part of a diplomatic mission to Russia, Austria-Hungary’s enemy. Konstantin is just supposed to observe Russia’s technomancy, but he’s distracted by two things: his attraction to Himmel and the illegal use of
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Plot: Konstantin is an Archmage, sent to St. Petersburg with an ambassador to view some of the technomancy Russia has to offer, with strict instructions to not cause any trouble. Of course, trouble finds him when he realises who they are up against, and he will do all he can to stop them causing more harm to the world. Along for the ride is Himmel, an airship ca
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
*Free copy from the publisher for an honest review*

I actually read this book as a standalone. I hadn't read any of the previous books in the series, Shadows of Asphodel and I think it did pretty well just on its own. I wish I had known it was a part of a series. As much as I liked reading it, I would have preferred to have gone in with more knowledge about the world and the characters.

That being said, let me start with the story line. It was flawlessly done as far as I am concerned. I am a newbi
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-kobo
For my full review visit Books and Ladders

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This one was such a good interlude and refresher on the Shadows of Asphodel story line. I loved Konstantin since the first time we met him and he grew into such a great character that I was super excited to see that he got his own novella. I love him and Himmel together and I was really excited to see that this story focused more so on the two of them than a
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was delighted to come back to the steampunk world of the Archmages of Vienna and their technomancy, a Europe on the brink of war, and zeppelin adventures.

Even for as short a time as this 90-page novella allows, it was so worth it. I had the chance to reacquaint myself with a couple of interesting characters such as archmage Konstantin Falkenrath and captain Himmel.

Sucked into a diplomatic venture into imposing Russia, they have to uncover the deadly secrets behind illegal use of soul magic in
Alysha DeShaé
See my full review here:

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review.

You know those books that you want to like, but don’t and can’t figure out why? What about those books that are so poorly written you can barely get past the words to read the story? Or maybe you’re aware of those books that start out with such potential and then just fall short of the mark and you’re more disappointed than
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
Review: CLOCKWORK MENAGERIE by Karen Kincy 

By far my favorite of this exciting series [SHADOWS OF ASPHODEL], this companion novella is "Dieselpunk Romance" for the gentlemen. Technomancer Archmage Konstantin and Airship Captain Theodore Himmel pair off. What a glorious spark, matching a world-wise Navy captain, with that pilot mystique--bold and daring; and a true research scientist: dedicated, diligent, nerdy, and sometimes potentially dreary. Put these two on a diplomatic mission from 1914 Pru
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up on Amazon not realising that it was a sequel. That meant that some of the progression felt rushed due to it leaning on character building from previous books that I haven't read. Still, it was easy enough to read.

The world is fascinating and well done, and the author has a talent for descriptions. Unfortunately, the pacing felt very rough, it was more like a sequence of essential scenes than a smooth progression. The reason this book got two stars instead of four is the ending.
Ken Cook
Jul 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novella length tale set in wartime with magical mechanicals key to the battles. Archangel an explain pilot portrayed as the good guys. Entertaining, well written plot with excellent descriptions of environment.

.As I am a gatherer of books, I collect books and ebooks from a variety of sources: Goodreads wins, Bookhub, BookFunnel, emails from authors and publishers, and others. I do lose track of their sources. But, as a reader, I feel I should give an honest, unencumbered review for all I read.
Jan 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
3.5 stars

Didn't realise this was a novella in the midst of a series, but it absolutely explained the super steamy kiss that happened on page 1. Phew.

Really enjoyed the steampunk and magic system. Read the excerpt on Wendel, from Shadows of Asphodel, and I think I'm hooked.
Konstantin and Himmel are dramatically adorable yo
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Skinny
All of Europe was a mess of alliances, each country eager to defend its honor.
It is 1914 and Konstantin is busy trying to dissect the clockwork dragon. However, he has orders to act as a scientific attaché in St. Petersburg. The mission must uphold diplomacy fully, but once Konstantin discovers a sinister and unethical technomancy practice in his Russian rival he begins to cross the diplomatic lines. Add into the mix Captain Himmel, who makes Konstantin’s cogs whir even though such a r
Dave Higgins
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Intermingling the fast-paced action of a spy thriller with solid character development against a background of clockwork mysticism, Kincy produces a story that will appeal to a broad range of speculative fiction readers.

Archmage Konstantin would like nothing more than to devote his time to studying the clockwork dragon Vienna has captured from Russia. However, his undeniable, and very illegal, mutual attraction to Captain Himmel leaves both his schedule and his notes in a mess. And no sooner has
Nov 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Archmage Konstantin Falkenrath is called to act as a scientific attache for the Austria-Hungary Ambassador to Russia when he is sent on a diplomatic mission to discover what they can about the technomancy weapons the Russians have been deploying in the war. Captain Theodore Himmel is the decorated navy airship captain assigned to the mission, and despite the many laws against it – with punishments up to and including death – both the Archmage and the Captain find themselves desperately drawn to ...more
Janis Hill
I would like to thank Curiosity Quills Press for an ARC of this Novella in exchange for an open and honest review.

This was a good story; my only regret about it is that I wasn’t paying attention when I requested it to see it was a novella and book “2.5” in a series I’d not yet read. Totally my own fault as Curiosity Quills did say it was what it was, but I’m a bit of a diva about coming into a series midway and so couldn’t give this story a higher grade as I wasn’t caught up on it all.

Saying tha
Review written for Love Bytes Reviews.

Ordered to accompany a diplomatic mission to Russia, Konstantin can’t help but feel out of place. With no knowledge of the Russian language, strict orders not to touch anything or speak out of turn, and an experiment awaiting him back home in his lab, Konstantin would rather be ensconced in his own space and left to his own devices. Add one devastatingly handsome zeppelin commander to the list of things he can’t touch and the trip has officially become a wor
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I am not into m/m books. At all. So why did I read this one you ask? I had no idea it was one. When I requested this, it was because it was a Shadows of Asphodel novella and I probably only read the first paragraph of the synopsis. I knew it was from Konstantin's point of view but I figured it would just be a short tie in of his to the main story. Should have read that second paragraph sooner... But I already had it, so I had to read it. And honestly, it took quite a while to finally get good. E ...more
Melissa ♥ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
Clockwork Menagerie was an interesting chance for a little insight into Archmage Konstantin’s work and his budding relationship with Himmel. I enjoyed both of their characters and was happy to realize that this was their story. As usual Kontantin did annoy me a bit, he just seems way too immature for his age but it didn’t hinder my enjoyemnt of the novella too much.

As usual Karen Kincy’s writing is superb, the plot flowed effortlessly and the descriptives are amazing. I love living in a new worl
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Clockwork Menagerie is a very quick read set in the rich world of Karen Kincy's Shadows of Asphodel series. It takes place in an alternate historical world on the cusp of WWII, and is categorized best as steampunk or dieselpunk. We follow archmage Konstantin as he finds himself dragged into perhaps more political intrigue than he'd like -- he wants to stay in his lab and do his experiments, but life has other plans for him. He winds up in Russia where, well, drama seems to find him.

Konstantin is
Sarah-Jayne Briggs
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).

(This review may contain spoilers).

Having read the previous two books in this series, I was really happy to have the opportunity to read this novella set in the same universe.

I liked being able to see Konstantin and Himmel in this story. Although I would have liked to see the events expanded a bit, it was nice to see the hints in the previous book come to fruition.

It was interesting to see Konstantin from his own perspective. Althoug
Lina (From the Verge)
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steampunk, dragons
I am so happy I was able to pay a nice visit to the world portrayed in the Shadows of Asphodel's books. This alternate history with gears, zeppelins, complicated magic, war and engaging characters is a must read! I've contributed to Karen Kincy's Kickstarter campaigns to finance her previous Shadows of Asphodel books, thus I was thrilled I got the opportunity to read & review this story for its Blog Tour launch!

This novella gave me all that I expected regarding previous Karen Kincy's stories. Ev
Terri M.
Mind Blown!

I have been eyeing this series since the first book popped up in the blogosphere. Heck, I even own the first book, but haven’t read it. After finishing this short novella, the first book may be the next book I read.

It doesn’t appear to be necessary to have read the first two novels in the series to understand what is going on in “Clockwork Menagerie.” This isn’t always the case with series novellas. This short peek into Konstantin’s and Himmel’s lives will give you a taste for the die
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Karen Kincy (Sunnyvale, California) writes books when she isn’t writing code. She has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College, and an MS in Computational Linguistics from the University of Washington.

Other books in the series

Shadows of Asphodel (3 books)
  • Shadows of Asphodel (Shadows of Asphodel #1)
  • Storms of Lazarus (Shadows of Asphodel #2)
  • Specters of Nemesis (Shadows of Asphodel, #3)

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