J. Hamlet's Reviews > Clementine

Clementine by Cherie Priest
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's review
May 19, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: steampunk

I haven't read too much Steampunk, but Cherie Priest is a good writer and she makes what can be a convoluted and intimidating genre very accessible. Clementine is all about a man and a woman trying to reclaim something they lost, a classic trope that Priest sticks to and creates a lot of resonance with. Even if the man, Croggon Hainey, is an air pirate and former slave trying to reclaim his lost dirigible airship stolen by another air pirate trying to deliver a giant diamond to a Union war laboratory where they can build a giant steampunk-style laser to level whole cities in the Confederacy. And, even if the woman Belle Boyd is a disgraced ex-Confederate spy turned Pinkerton agent trying to figure out how to get back into the good graces of her former masters. Did I mention all the blimp fights and gatling guns? And that the Civil War is still going on decades later? I read this before Boneshaker, which is Volume 1 of the Clockwork Century Series, but I could still pick up the distinct story without having to have read that novel to understand what is going on.

Seriously, though, this is an ideal book for people who want to try out Steampunk. The core story is very good and well-written, the characters all well defined. The Steampunk elements are there just enough to retain their wonder without becoming tedious, keeping the dialogue and plot formly in the foreground despite all the talk of laser cannons, confederates, and the blimp fights (did I mention the blimp fights?) I mean, look at that cover! That guy holding the gatling gun with the armored airship behind him looks HARDCORE, and he is.

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