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Clockwork Boys

(Clocktaur War #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  4,034 ratings  ·  579 reviews
A paladin, an assassin, a forger, and a scholar ride out of town. It’s not the start of a joke, but rather an espionage mission with deadly serious stakes. T. Kingfisher’s new novel begins the tale of a murderous band of criminals (and a scholar), thrown together in an attempt to unravel the secret of the Clockwork Boys, mechanical soldiers from a neighboring kingdom that ...more
Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published November 21st 2017 by Red Wombat Studio
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Elizabeth McCoy Read the second one first. There's some clothes-off-close-contact scenes. I didn't find them anything that I'd forbid, as they're pretty healthy cuddl…moreRead the second one first. There's some clothes-off-close-contact scenes. I didn't find them anything that I'd forbid, as they're pretty healthy cuddlesome sex scenes, but it's something a parent needs to decide for themselves, based on the maturity of the kid.(less)

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  4,034 ratings  ·  579 reviews

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Start your review of Clockwork Boys (Clocktaur War, #1)
"Would you like to go on a suicide mission?" she asked.
He smiled. It was the first genuine smile she'd seen all day.
"I would be honored," he said.


So, I don't know if you guys remember but I let my boyfriend pick my next read and he chose this one because
-it looks cool.
-but have you read the blurb?
-no, but I trust the cover.
-yeah, wrong move.
-you're weird. and I rest my case.

And you know what? I should let his instinct pick my books more often.

Clockwork Boys really caught me by surpr
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
Clockwork Orange boy. Different and yet somehow alike.

Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

The plot of T. Kingfisher’s Clockwork Boys is of the “misfit company of strangers on a dangerous mission” type. Their country has been invaded by the so-called Clockwork Boys, nearly unstoppable, 10-foot-tall centaur-like creatures who are laying waste to the countryside. (I like the allusion to the out-of-control gang of boys in A Clockwork Orange.) The Dowager Queen has previously sent soldie
Lois Bujold
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy readers
Recommended to Lois by: review on
Well, that suited my reading mood.

Be it noted, this and its second half, The Wonder Engine, is one story, cut in half for length -- well, more like one-third/two-thirds -- not two. I read both together, so this review covers both. Don't think of it as the author charging you twice for one tale, but rather, as giving you a low-cost-low-risk chance to test-drive it before you fully commit.

It is very D&D-ish, which are its attested roots -- the writer having it out with an array of genre tropes tha
K.J. Charles
God I love T Kingfisher. I think I've read everything of hers this year. Superb, understated writing, glorious humour, wild imagination, and the kind of deep kindness and humanity that comes with an uncompromising view of right and wrong. One of those writers who just makes the world a better place, if only for the duration of a book, but sometimes that's all we have.

This is really the first half of a book, rather than book 1 of 2, so thank goodness the second half will be along soon. It's a cla
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
4.5 stars. This was very good. There are some very funny scenes in this book, especially when two of the characters are trying to ride horses! A disparate group set out to complete an impossible mission. We meet some strange creatures, gnoles and runes (green deer things), zombie vermin, demons, mandrakes, wonder engines, clocktaurs and a giant stone fish. I’m really looking forward to the second half of this story. Recommended.
Jack +Books & Bourbon+
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
So, stop me if you’ve heard this one; a demonically possessed paladin, a misogynistic teenage scholar, a criminal forger with a magic nose, and a portly assassin walk into a tavern...

I don’t even remember when or how I first heard about Clockwork Boys, but I’m thinking it was a recommend through my local bookclub. Regardless of the how, I am thankful that it was put on my radar, as I had never heard of T. Kingfisher before, and likely would never have stumbled across this book on my own.

And what
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. It's T. Kingfisher writing a heist novel! What more could I want?? Alex alerted me to the presence of this book two weeks ago, and it was honestly a mistake to wait so long to start it. I am really not sure what I was thinking.

This is really the first of a two-part book, not a standalone novel. For now, I'll say that this is an interesting and unique fantasy world, which is why T. Kingfisher is an auto-buy every time, and the writing is charming and funny without lowering
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r2018, favourites, fantasy
This - first half of a story in two parts - turned out to be so much fun!

First, the narration grabs you early on - how is it that some authors can do this with only a handful of sentences while others take pages and pages? Then, you have a group of disparate but likeable anti-heroes thrown into a suicide mission in a fantasy setting. So far, so good. What made this above average is that the author put a lot in the characters, especially the ninja accountant (!) and the paladin, their backstory
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first half of a two-part novel which features a desperate (and probably suicidal) fact-finding mission to a country that's deploying monstrous centaur-like clockwork monstrosities in battle with its neighbors. It's at times very funny, and very serious, and always brilliant.

The group on the mission include a fallen paladin, a guerilla accountant, an assassin and a not-very-worldy priest of knowledge. If "guerilla accountant" doesn't grab you, I'm not sure I know what attracts people to fanta
Skye Kilaen
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-genre-fantasy
The role playing adventure (in novel form) of my dreams, if I'd ever dreamt about a reluctant heroine woman of color forger and a guilt-ridden demon-possessed white guy paladin on a quest to discover the origin of giant unstoppable war machines that are ravaging the world. Sadly, my dreams are never that interesting. Kingfisher is amazing at updating the classic adventure and fantasy feeling with deep character development, huge worldbuilding, and feminism. She is so funny and so imaginative, an ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Five stars because this made me laugh all the way through, while also being quite serious. Love love the characters.
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
High fantasy adventure written by Ursula Vernon (under her T. Kingfisher name) means that it's wry and humane and witty as well as fabulously imaginative. I am always a huge fan of disparate people (all of whom are on their last rope) being forced together and becoming a family! And I enjoyed this hugely.

It's the first book in a duology, and the ending is really NOT a true ending at all (or intended to be) - so I'm very glad the second book is already out, because I went straight on the second I
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-ebooks
“You two,” said the paladin slowly, “have a very odd relationship.”

“Oh, come on, if your friends aren’t willing to strangle you, what kind of friends are they?”
Wiebke (1book1review)
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh this was so much fun.
This carries you on banter alone through the pages, but it sprinkles in an interesting fantasy world and some loveable characters with secrets and an overall quest to follow.
Victoria Rose
It's rare that a book makes me laugh out loud, and it's even rarer that a book makes me laugh so hard my lungs hurt from lack of air as tears run down my cheeks. Admittedly, what made me laugh so intensely in this story was really quite a brief, silly moment where our woefully-bad-at-horseriding characters cannot deal with horses, but I was in absolute pieces for about 10 minutes and that earns this book a star all by itself.

This novel is short and sweet (but more short than sweet), following a
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: favorites
This one is a solid three. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. If someone asked me "what have you read that's good lately", this one wouldn't get a mention. The characters seem pretty standard... the ultra good knight, the seedy assassin, the nerdy scholar, etc. I will continue on to the second book - which is really just the 2nd half of this one. Maybe my overall opinion will change.

So to sum up. Good book, but it shouldn't be at the top of your reading list.
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
3.5 stars. Cute and funny. Reminded me of The Republic of Thieves in its humor and Paladin of Souls with the paladin character’s inner dilemma. A cliff hanger in some ways although not so much at a nail-biting part. Looking forward to book 2
Jamie Dacyczyn
I REALLY wanted to like this one after my delight with "Bryony and Roses" by the same author. Unfortunately it just didn't charm me in the same way. I think this one might be better for fans of D&D, as it had that kind of *feel* to it.

You've got your band of mismatched travelers: a token-female thief/forger leading the gang (Slate), a snarky brooding assassin (Brenner), a noble but formerly-possessed paladin knight (Sir Caliban), and a brilliant but sheltered scholar priest (Learned Edmund). Yo
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first part of T. Kingfisher's/Ursula Vernon's high fantasy Clocktaur War duology, which is more like one book split into two parts. The second book in the duology is called The Wonder Engine, and you can consider this to be my review for the both of them.

This tells about a group of criminals who are sent on a suicide mission to a nearby kingdom to try to find out the secret behind their unstoppable soldiers, these mechanical creations called Clockwork Boys. The criminals - a forger, a disgr
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A surprisingly good read. I went in with very little expectation and really did enjoy the read. The characters are very well written, especially the 'love to hate' bad guy. I jumped straight into book two, but be warned. The publishers did not pony up for book three, so even though book 2 is a very good read as well, it is hugely disappointing to find that the series cannot be finished.
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
This is a book that marries Pratchett with bits of Dragon Age and Dishonored in an extremely readable way. It's funny, it's captivating, it can be profound, it can be very cute. Onward to volume 2!
Allison Hurd
May 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fem-author
I think I like her retellings better so far. This was cute and all, but it didn't feel as alive as Bryony and Roses and the humor was more stilted.

CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list of topics) (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The story impetus. So many of these types of stories where bad guys have to go do a good guy thing don't make sense. I think this book handles it well and makes an old trope interesting.

Tasha Robinson
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's almost embarrassing how perfectly this book fits my tastes. It pulls together some of my favorite tropes into a thing that feels perfectly designed for my DNA: a perfectly satisfying read that I wanted to savor while reading, but also did not want to put down. There's a paladin with a terrible past and a huge boatload of guilt. There's a competent, driven, drab woman with a weird specialty as a ninja accountant. (A more serious and thought-through profession than what it sounds like, especi ...more
This was unbelievably delightful. A fairy tale for grownups filled with wonder, cannibalistic tattoos, demons, deer people, a gnole. T. Kingfisher’s world is enchanting to me. Slate, a forger charged with treason is joined by a demon-ridden paladin named Caliban; an assassin and former lover named Brenner; and a young scholar named Learned Edmund. They are on a suicide mission to Anuket City to find a way to save their people from the Clockwork Boys on their murderous rampage through the country ...more
The first part of a two part story of a quest to find out what the terrifying large, clockwork constructions are in a town. I love the ninja accountant Slate, and Vernon's take on a paladin. And I definitely want more Grimehug!
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
My brief, elevator pitch description of Clockwork Boys is “Dungeons and Dragons meets Suicide Squad, but written by the illustrious and talented Ursula Vernon.” Seriously, I had no idea what Clockwork Boys was about when I picked it up… all I knew was that it was by Ursula Vernon, and she’s literally never written a story that I haven’t loved.

Turns out, Clockwork Boys follows a group of criminals (and one teenage scholar/monk) who were selected by the Duchess of their country to sneak into a nei
Maja Ingrid
Rating 3,5 stars

This book was way too short. I think the plot and world-building could definitely have benefited by the book being longer (had it been it would be 4 solid stars). Now I know this one and next book is "one story" that the author shopped into two books. Maybe that was a bad move and they should just have released it as one book, I don't know. But I definitely would have liked it to be longer. It felt like we had barely scraped on the surface when the ending came. You can't really f
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
What will happen if you put three misfits and one learned man on a suicide mission? Well, anything might, but it definitely won't be boring.

Clockwork Boys is a first installment in duology by T. Kingfisher - and I think that I found another author that goes on my list of favourites.

This novel is a great adventure with those kind of characters that make everything around them funny. There were a few times I laughed out loud because of something someone said (definitely every time when knaahaalaa
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
If Nelly posts a link leading to a Kindle edition of a fantasy book on sale, you buy it. At least you will read a story with a palladin one can like.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
I really enjoyed this one. If 2am hadn't snuck up on me, I think I'd have listened to the entire thing in one sitting.

On to book 2!
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Play Book Tag: Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher - 3 stars 1 14 Jul 17, 2018 09:58PM  
Goodreads Librari...: cover on Amazon 2 13 Mar 04, 2018 07:03PM  
Goodreads Librari...: cover on Amazon 2 12 Mar 04, 2018 06:58PM  

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T. Kingfisher is the vaguely absurd pen-name of Ursula Vernon. In another life, she writes children's books and weird comics, and has won the Hugo, Sequoyah, and Ursa Major awards, as well as a half-dozen Junior Library Guild selections.

This is the name she uses when writing things for grown-ups.

When she is not writing, she is probably out in the garden, trying to make eye contact with butterflies

Other books in the series

Clocktaur War (2 books)
  • The Wonder Engine (Clocktaur War #2)

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