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The Wonder Engine

(Clocktaur War #2)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  4,577 ratings  ·  497 reviews
Pull three people out of prison--a disgraced paladin, a convicted forger, and a heartless assassin. Give them weapons, carnivorous tattoos, and each other. Point them at the enemy.

What could possibly go wrong?

In the sequel to CLOCKWORK BOYS, Slate, Brenner, Caliban and Learned Edmund have arrived in Anuket City, the source of the mysterious Clockwork Boys. But the secr
Kindle Edition, 370 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Red Wombat Studio
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

The Wonder Engine, a Locus award-nominated novel, is the second half of a fantasy duology by T. Kingfisher that began with Clockwork Boys, and it’s absolutely necessary to read that book first (a few minor spoilers for that book are in this review). Clockwork Boys relates how a company of condemned criminals ― Slate the forger, Brenner the assassin, and Caliban the paladin ― plus one straitlaced, misogynistic scholar named Learned Edmund, are asse
K.J. Charles
The second half of Clocktaur Wars (it's one book, let's not mess about) is as glorious as the first. Kingfisher says this took her over a decade to write: you would not know it from the flowing ease of the writing, which feels joyously effortless.

Delightful characters, witty narrative, laugh-out-loud gags, big themes dealt with subtly and sensitively, a quietly powerful and complex moral core about decency to others. Basically Kingfisher is filling up the hole in my heart left by Terry Pratchet
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
🤧 It's All about the Handkerchiefs Buddy Read (IAatHBR™) with Fluffy, Karen and Kate over at the MacHalo Asylum and stuff 🤧

A thirty-year-old, NOT beautiful, NOT white heroine (will wonders never cease and stuff?!) + bestiality and sheep (you don't want to know) + crazy slate, big man, dark man and book man and Grimehug, oh my! + cloud of hummingbirds on tiny jeweled leashes + hahahahahahaha + the excessive usage of thumbs + ruthless assassins who look like large, lethal shrubberies + uncontrolla
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Once again, I just really loved spending time with our merry band of misfits! Plus the plot kicked up a notch, things were resolved, and we met even more interesting new characters! If you like banter, this book is for you.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this duology. It had everything, the most important of which was humour. It was original, imaginative and great entertainment. Loved the gnoles. #wantagnoleforxmas
2.25 stars


Okay, so I had expected so much from this book and clearly, there was a lot of disappointment involved. The first book was a mix of funny and witty banter. It was a nice, light, fun read with a slight undertone of romance. It had not been great but I was entertained and well, that's doing much better than so many other books.

However, the second part just failed to do it for me. First of all, I felt that this book could do some serious editing. There were times where Brother Amad
Loveable characters, amusing banter, badger-like beings in abundance, great sendup of the paladin type of character, terrific use of an account/forger/thief/snarky being in Slate.
I enjoyed book one, loved this book, and want more Slate and Grimehug and Paladin. And even Learned Edmund.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Slate the forger has led her small band to Anuket City, the origin of the Clocktaurs. Caliban the paladin, Brenner the assassin, Learned Edmund the scholar and Grimehug the gnole need to use all their abilities to survive what they find their and do something about the nearly unstoppable Clocktaur army.

The first book in this two-parter assembled the party and began to define their characters and relationships. This book is the payoff, which a strong feeling of family in this small band, despite
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
BAD NEWS: this book does not stick the landing. I still enjoyed myself quite a bit, but this book veers away from "heist" as a primary genre to focus more on the romance. It's a decent story, but it does the pacing of the previous book a disservice, and - in my opinion - cheapens the worldbuilding. The beats of the plot are less about the perilous journey and are more about the development of the relationships, which means that the plot feels less important. It takes away from Slate's fatalism, ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r2018, favourites, fantasy
4.5* Second part and end of the story.

Our misfits have reached their destination. Now comes the unsurmountable task of finding out all they can about the Clockwork Boys in order to destruct them, all this in enemy territory!

This narrative has more action than the first instalment but the focus still remains firmly on our disparate characters. What can I say? I love following our forger, paladin, assassin, scholar, and gnole. There is still plenty of banter for our entertainment, but their dynami
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I think this book worked better for me than the first. The characters were fun both times, but I enjoyed the battle and resolution of the love/ lust conflict.

Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-ebooks
I truly enjoyed the second part of this tale, which is mostly set in the city of Anuket.
Its mix of hilarity and seriousness, the real-life themes raised under the guise of fantasy, and “the personal dynamics of four tired, worried humans with a terrible secret” (plus a gnole!) really worked for me.

I look forward to future books in this universe.

It was a trifle awkward, when you were carrying an enormous sword and out for blood, to discover that you’d raided a building which didn’t have that m
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I liked it, didn't love it. If you're in the mood for a light romantic fantasy, maybe consider this one? I am just kind of "meh" about it though. I didn't really love any of the characters, the romance seemed a bit forced to me. ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, women
This is not really a sequel as much as a continuation of the first book. I'm starting with this line so that anyone considering reading "the latest one" drops such idea very fast and picks up Clockwork Boys. You really need to read this story from the start.

That said, I'm happy to say the second part is as much fun as the first, with some added spiritual themes and a whole lot of romance (of both the doki-doki kind, as in the first part, and the more hands-on approach usually found in western st
Robin (Bridge Four)
4.5 Humans Can't Smell Stars

The Clocktaur wars is what happens when an author has some very strong and spiteful feelings about how Paladin’s are portrayed in novels and really wants to shake it up.
I suppose thanks must also go to the writers of fantasy paladins, lo these many years, without whom there would be no tradition to enrage me and force me to tackle the issue myself. Inspiration knocks now and again, but spite bangs on the door all year long.

The Clocktaur wars duology reads like a p
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher is the second and final book in the Clocktaur War duology. It picks up precisely where the first book left off, aside from a faux prologue in the beginning that summarizes the first book in case the reader decided to start with the second. The plot threads from the first book are further explored and tied together in the second, with no mystery left hanging by the end. As far as the overall plot goes, Kingfisher did an excellent job of seeing everything through ...more
Karen  ⚜Mess⚜
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
MacHalo Buddy Read

Bounce approves of this buddy read. Bounce loves this series.

I found a new favorite author. Therefore, I must add all her books!

Fantastic series! I loved it. The characters were so well done. I know they will stick with me. I never re-read books, but if I should ever, this series would definitely be the one.

Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was so much fun to read. Everything from the first novel comes together in a satisfying conclusion. The wonderful characters from the first book are here and there are a couple of new ones that I really liked. It was by turns funny and sad. The best news I saw was that the author has said she is writing more books set on this world. Yay!

I had mentioned that the first novel reminded me of Bujold’s World of the five gods. This one did also, particularly when Caliban encounters the divine in t
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*screams quietly for a while*

Look, if you read the first book and you thought "I could stand to have more of that," and you like the idea of a book that has a) the same characters and some excellent new ones, b) a lot of plot-twisty bits or *potential* plot twists that had me quietly freaking out pretty regularly (though I am not good with foreshadowing so ymmv), c) SO MUCH PINING SERIOUSLY, and d) a healthy appreciation for good indexing, this is the book for you!
Michelle F
The second half of the story begun in Clockwork Boys. The book begins in Anuket City, where the theoretical action is set to start. The Wonder Engine has all of the attractions of Clockwork Boys: the sardonic tone, the questy rpg exposition and unfolding of events, and the misfit charm of the characters.

I still quite like it, but the things that seemed slightly off in the first half came into sharper relief in this second book. The first I can put my finger on, the more subtle frustration, was i
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well, this was just fantastic. As a duology, these two books (Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine) work SO well together - and while I didn't shelve the first book as "romantic fantasy" (because the romance subplot is SO slow-burn that it didn't really flower until this second book), I really, really liked the romantic aspect and how well it built into the larger plot and themes. I adored the fantasy city where this book is set, which was just wildly imaginative and rich and felt really histori ...more
Wiebke (1book1review)
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was just as much fun as the first book. Although there is less banther and more story happening it keeps you captivated and engaged with all the characters. I also liked the gnoles and everything around them and their culture very much.
Barb in Maryland
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f-goodies, romance
Exciting end to the story begun in Clockwork Boys.

Good fun, with a snarky attitude.
So both male protagonists are canonically bi, fascinated by each other, and still fighting over the lady protagonist? Really? That's a narrative opportunity missed. Especially in light of the ending.

I really enjoyed the first book, but the structure of this one made me crazy. The adventure plot wraps up with improbable neatness and the book turns into a mess of feelings that, while true to the characters, totally squanders the narrative momentum of the previous 140K~ words. It's like a locomotiv
Angela Boord
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, indie
Read this at one gulp and had my heart ripped out at the end. Highly recommended series!!!
Bunny McFoo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this story as much as I did the first, the Clockwork Boys! I wish the author had left out the romance, it took away from the plot. ...more
Iona Sharma
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This has a flawed and slightly bizarre structure, which is a weird thing to say about a book that you're about to give four stars to. It's the second half of an alleged duology which is really just the second half a of a single book - so much so it starts with a "previously on" before it continues precisely where it left off. It's picaresque, it wanders, the romance beats are never quite where you think they should be. But it gets its four stars because, wow, it is CHARMING. It's funny, it's eng ...more
May 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was the right amount of entertainment and humor that I needed. What a fun duology to listen to through audio. The ragtag group and small stakes quest make for a enjoyable storytelling. I liked that it focussed on the characters and their journey and along the way we get snippets of the world. It made it more intimate and engrossing for me. I did find the romance a bit cheesy at times but I still rooted for it haha. Learned Edmund as a character grew the most, growing up as a monk away from ...more
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2020
I think some parts of this novel work very, very well (some of the final reveal, Slate's overall characterisation and emotions, growing horror, GNOLES, Edmund), and others are okay but not super great (some parts of the romance, the Horsehead storyline). But all else aside, this was simply such a restful, cozy book. I'm not always looking for cozy, but when I do, in the future I'll know to get another Kingfisher. It was comforting and fun, and it placed value on kindness, and it questioned prota ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher - 3 stars 1 13 Jul 21, 2018 08:10AM  
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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)
  • Clockwork Boys (Clocktaur War, #1)

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“It could,” acknowledged Slate, “but show me a clandestine operation without leaks, and I’ll show you one where everybody involved is dead.” “We’re a clandestine operation,” said Caliban. There was an awkward silence.” 11 likes
“Shame flitted briefly over Brenner’s face, but found itself in unfamiliar surroundings and didn’t settle.” 4 likes
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