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The Brass Giant

(Chroniker City #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  199 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Sometimes, even the most unlikely person can change the world

Seventeen-year-old Petra Wade, self-taught clockwork engineer, wants nothing more than to become a certified member of the Guild, an impossible dream for a lowly shop girl. Still, she refuses to give up, tinkering with any machine she can get her hands on, in between working and babysitting her foster siblings.

ebook, 352 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Harper Voyager Impulse (first published December 11th 2011)
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Showing 1-30
3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  199 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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Daniel Swensen
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indies, urban-fantasy
Liked it, didn't love it. I think it's competently written. The plot is solid and the characters fairly well-realized -- but it felt to me like a romance novel with some steampunk elements shoehorned in.

Granted, those steampunk elements are finely detailed and fun, but they were few and far between compared to the protagonist mooning over the boy she loves, but does she love her? And oh, he's from a wealthy family and they could never be together because she's a mere shopgirl, and his family ar
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Juvenile writing and plotting. You'd think a book about a woman engineer trying to infiltrate an all-male engineering Guild would appeal to me, but while the premise was good, the dialog read like fan fiction and the plot was both predictable and unbelievable. For how smart Petra is supposed to be, she makes a bunch of stupid decisions.
Eoghann Irving
Dec 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
Okay so this is a slightly unusual situation. I'm reviewing a book that won't be published until 2015, but it was published when I bought it. That's because the author self-published and then subsequently sold the book and a sequel to a major publisher.

That explanation out of the way let's talk about The Clockwork Giant by Brooke Johnson. It's a Young Adult novel with a steampunk setting and a heavy emphasis on romance. So this isn't going to be to everyone's tastes. But I think you should judge
Fred Hughes
Mar 01, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not much steampunk in this steampunk story.

Lots of girl power and romance, sort of.

It didn't hold my attention so I gave up.
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review. I rated this 4 out of 5 Stars.

A steampunk novel set in the early 1860’s, The Brass Giant by Brooke Johnson is an enjoyable mid length story with colorful characters, sharp dialogue, a bit of mystery and a touch of romance. While a book dealing with mechanics and machinery, Ms. Johnson creates a world that is fairly easy to understand, even for those of us not mechanically inclined. In addition Ms.
Darby Karchut
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid debut novel - this author knows how to write, let me tell you. Full review coming soon!
C.J. Milbrandt
Petra wants nothing more than to join the Guild and become a full-fledged engineer. But girls aren't welcome. Even so, she's learned from a kindly shopkeeper. And there's no doubt she has a knack for machinery, especially the delicacy of clockwork. Then she meets a Guild student who's willing to work with her. But will Emmerich simply take her designs and claim them as his own?

Beautiful world-building. I found Petra's work with timepieces and music boxes fascinating, and the steam and grime of
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk, series
Brooke Johnson lives where I do and I met her when she was doing a signing at our local Barnes and Nobel. That lead to a invitation to our Science Fiction book club. We had a great visit. It was such fun hearing about how she got the publishing contract (It was an open invitation with over 4000 submissions and she was one of 12 selected). It was also great having our question answered. Since this story features teens we wondered why it was not marketed as YA. Publishers choice was the answer. We ...more
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

The story outline is a familiar one, but the steampunk setting changes up some of the elements in some very interesting ways.

The plot is simple – underprivileged girl with big dreams meets highly privileged guy who will help her realize her dreams, but only if she helps him with super-secret project. This is a society where no one believes that women have intelligence or capability, so no one important will suspect she is really helping him. And of course t
Meagan Myhren-bennett
The Brass Giant
A Chroniker City Story
By Brooke Johnson

Petra Wade wants to be a engineer with the Guild. But she is a girl and as such is not allowed to enter the Guild. But Petra knows that she belongs in the Guild, she feels it in her very being. If only she could convince the members of the Guild that she has the skills needed to earn her a place within its walls.

But Petra doesn't know who she is, she's one of the victims of the Guild fire, she lost her family and her heritage. Her days are sp
Beverly McClure
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Are you fascinated with machinery? Do gears intrigue you? Or are you like me, and your eyes glaze over when anyone talks about mechanics because you don’t understand how they work?

Whichever category describes you, you’ll learn a lot about machinery from Author Brooke Johnson’s debut novel The Clockwork Giant. Ms. Johnson explains in simple language that even I can understand the details of the project that our heroine, Petra Wade, and the university student and boy she comes to like, Emmerich G
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first time going into reading anything steampunk and i really loved the details in this story. The book is set in 1881 but with amazing clockwork and very advanced technology but still a sense of being in the past. I love the mix of technology and old timey aspects to this book. Brooke takes you into the world of Chroniker City and as you read you can visualize everything and have it be such an amazing notion in your mind you wish it was real.

In The Clockwork Giant you get brought i
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first time going into reading anything steampunk and i really loved the details in this story. The book is set in 1881 but with amazing clockwork and very advanced technology but still a sense of being in the past. I love the mix of technology and old timey aspects to this book. Brooke takes you into the world of Chroniker City and as you read you can visualize everything and have it be such an amazing notion in your mind you wish it was real.

In The Clockwork Giant you get brought i
Carrie Mansfield
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Provided by publisher in exchange for fair review. Review will be crossposted to my blog on May 4

The Brass Giant, first published in 2011 under the title The Clockwork Giant, is a short and sweet novel about a girl named Petra who wants to be an engineer, a desire thwarted by the fact that she was born female. Trying to sneak into university, she catches the eye of Emmerich Goss who realizes her inborn talent and comes to her for help with his secret project. There's a lot to like in this book:
Katy Sauer
May 03, 2015 rated it liked it
All of my reviews can be seen @

We started out learning about Petra and how much she wants to become an engineer. The society she lives in is sexist and operates under a heavy caste system. The poor don’t get ahead, especially if they happen to be women. The way women are treated isn’t glossed over in the least. Because it’s all coming from the perspective of someone in the position – I think it’s easier to relate to her. I instantly felt for her because of thi
JD Estrada
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. For the longest time I'd been looking to dabble into a steampunk book. I followed Brooke Johnson on social media, enjoyed her shares, and after an interview I read I definitely wanted to give her a shot.

As I'd understood it, this was a steampunk book with some elements of romance.

As I found out, this was a romance book with some elements of steampunk.

Again, I really wanted to like this book and every time Johnson dove deep into mechanics, engineering, and el
Jessica Hansen
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Metal & Mystery!

Will you look at that! My 2nd steam punk style book in a week....and I am addicted, for sure.

Jumping straight into this book was a challenge, not only was I coming directly off another steam punk book, but this book also had a determined leading female. Petra wants so much out of life that it hurts. She knows she's got the talent to hang with these upper class inventors, but within the settings of The Brass Giant she can't exactly do that.
After plenty of trying she finally
May 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Petra Wade, a young woman working in a pawn shop fixing 'tickers'. Her sole dream in life was to go to University, become an engineer and join the Guild. She even goes so far as to dress in her brothers clothes and try to register at University however her ruse is detected and she's turned away. On her slow walk that day back to the pawn shop to work she sees something that changes her life. A group of young engineers walking along and one has an automaton that is following him and doing his com ...more
Kay Solo
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would have finished this book sooner if I had the time; already I was reading it in class and on the bus when I probably should have been reading things for school. Whoops.

This was a solid steampunk book. It's clear the author did her research, and it wasn't just a few elements here and there -- it was the whole thing. It was just what I wanted and needed.

I will say that there is a heavy romantic element to this book I did not expect. It didn't necessarily detract from my experience, but I'm n
Mari Stroud
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is delightful! I'm fairly well-read in YA, but I don't read much in the way of steampunk; however, I loved this. The plot zips along, the world-building is rich and detailed without becoming overwhelming, and Johnson does a great job of constructing a heroine that pings with a modern audience without losing sight of the very different social mores that a proper Victorian young lady would be expected to follow. Petra is a fun, proactive protagonist that had me rooting for her the whole ...more
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bold, confident writing introduces Petra Wade a shop girl, who dreams of being an engineer in a wonderfully complex steampunk Great Britain where only men may enroll in the University. Her natural talent brings her to the attention of Emmerich Goss, a young engineer, who enlists her help in constructing a secret project for the Guild. Petra soon becomes entangled in a web of lies, politics, and espionage. Johnson’s skill in describing machines and how they work is incredible, but she is equally ...more
Angela Brown
Dec 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Clockwork Giant is the first book in the Chroniker City series. After reading the first book, I'm eager and anxious for the next book.
Brooke has me hooked.
She's created a heroine in Petra that readers can't help but admire. She's strong and witty. Her intelligence? Well, let me not get carried away. Don't want to put out any spoilers.
It's definitely a steampunk novel with technology at its core, and the romantic relationship between Petra and Emmerich adds a layer of steam so thick, it's int
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite books are those that combine a bit of mystery, a touch of suspense, a lot of fantasy, and a smidgen of not too over the top romance. The Clockwork Giant has all of that and more. I love the unexpected twists, the sweet, ambitious Petra, and the entire set of Chroniker City. The way Brooke describes her world makes it easy to imagine yourself walking the streets smelling the fuel of the undercity and seeing the fantastical clockworks. I'm a fast reader, but I even surprised myself whe ...more
Kathy Collier
Feb 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book. This is the first time I've ever read Steampunk. Brooke takes you into a world where an orphan struggles in an era where women didn't go to college to be an engineer for clockworks. She had training through with a clock repair man in a pawn shop. There she was discovered by a young man in need of her assistance while he worked on his final design for graduation. The story is magnificently done, and very well-written, lots of unexpeceted twists and turns. A girls real struggle ...more
Eduardo Suastegui
Overall I found this a compelling read penned by the hand of a talented, highly imaginative writer. You will find lots of vibrantly drawn steam punk goodness alongside emotion and romance.

The Brass Giant certainly lives up to the expectations of steampunk fans, thanks to the world and details that Johnson ably portrays in her narrative. But the story also incorporates a strong—and I should say, at times predominant—romance component, along with political intrigue and a message against war and th
Book Giveaway & Review: When Brooke Johnson approached me about reviewing her YA steampunk novel, The Clockwork Giant, I was immediately drawn to the concept. I’m a sucker for steampunk and strong female protagonists, and I couldn’t help asking myself why someone would build a giant. At the time, I was solidly booked with reviews, but Brooke is very patient and I’m glad because this novel was well worth the wait. Not only do I get to share it with you but she’s provided a copy that you can e ...more
Nathan Garrison
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
This delightful tale follows a young girl who wants nothing more than to be an engineer in a world that tells her she can't. You can't help be cheer her on as she puts her genius to work in secret, building things no one else alive can. Although the emphasis on the romance was a little strong for my tastes, the story was still engaging, full of twists and surprises and marvelous feats of engineering. This is sure to appeal to those who like their steampunk steamy (but still clean!).
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
A very fun read in an awesome world. Gripping and exciting, I am very excited for the next book to come out to find out what happens to Petra. As a female engineer myself, I identified with Petra and loved reading about her struggles in a male dominated profession. A very good and satisfying read, plus steampunk is Awesome!
David Riehl
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-books
All I've got to say is I loved this book! The storyline and the characters were really enjoyable. And the story was described in vivid detail that you can almost picture it in your head. I highly recommend that you give this book a read. The next book after this is The Mechanical Theater, which I will buy and start reading sometime soon.
Rosie Reast
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book, I love the world of Chroniker City and can't wait to find out more about the city and the world it inhabits. There was one part where we got a glimpse of life below the city very cool.
Brooke Johnson has a gift of explaining complicated engineering in a way anyone can understand.
Very enjoyable book and I look forward to reading the next book. :)
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Brooke Johnson is a stay-at-home mom and tea-loving writer. As the jack-of-all-trades bard of the family, she journeys through life with her husband, daughter, and dog. She currently resides in Northwest Arkansas but hopes to one day live somewhere more mountainous.

Other books in the series

Chroniker City (2 books)
  • The Guild Conspiracy