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Monday, September 08, 2014

The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato

A book in the vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger and blurbed by Kevin Hearne? Sold! Those endorsements alone were enough to get me hooked, even before I read the cover copy. And after I read THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER, all I could think of was how long it will be until the sequel gets released! I absolutely loved this novel and I don't want to wait even a day to read the next part of Octavia's journey.

THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER is the first book in a duology set in the most amazing world. Beth Cato is an amazing writer who has clearly thought of everything in terms of world building because I was instantly immersed in Octavia's life and homeland.  There are so many beautiful details in the setting and historical descriptions that the world just came alive for me. And Cato manages to squeeze all these great little moments into the book. One of my favourite moment comes early on, and has to do with a dog. It's not my favourite because of what happens but because it shows you that you're in for a story that will defy your expectations. Plus, there are flying, adorable gremlins so how could I not stay up incredibly late reading this?

Octavia Leander is, as promised, an unusual heroine. She is an incredibly gifted healer. She'd call herself blessed by the Lady; whether the powers come from Octavia or the Lady is in many ways irrelevant since Olivia is capable of so much more than the other medicians in her order, including her school's founder. (Awkward!) Despite these gifts, which have been widely acknowledged, Octavia is very humble and actually very worried about how she will make her way in life. She doesn't doubt herself, which is always a great trait, but she does worry about her ability to make a living as a medician when her natural inclination is to help everyone. It's a very practical worry and one I think we can all relate to on at least some level. Despite this worry, Olivia is a standout character because she is resolute, brave, and honourable, and knows herself very well, which is something we could always use more of in fiction. She's strong without being flashy.

Octavia isn't the only great character in THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER. She meets some very interesting people along her journey and learns some dangerous facts that put her life in serious peril. It seems like everyone on the airship has secrets and Olivia's life depends on her figuring out who she can trust. There are many surprising and harrowing moments in Olivia's trip and it makes THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER a very exciting read!

One of the really noticeable aspects of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER is that Alonzo Garret, the dashingly handsome steward mentioned in the cover copy, has with a physical flaw -- he lost his lower leg and now wears a mechanical prosthetic -- but no one makes a big deal about it, except when it becomes a plot device. No one is revolted by his prosthetic or his need for one; it's treated as commonplace and is not his defining characteristic. I think it's really easy for a writer to take a character with a physical limitation and make that character's identity revolve around the handicap but, in Cato's hands, his prosthetic limb is just a part of his body that's a bit different from the rest. It makes no difference to Olivia, which makes sense since she's a healer who's performed hundreds of amputations, but no one else is really phased by it either. It helps that Alonzo is a damn interesting guy, all issues of legs aside. From the moment Olivia meets him, I wanted to know more about him and so I was over the moon to see him figure heavily into the plot.

If you're looking for a great steampunk story, or just a great story more generally, I wholeheartedly recommend THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER. Beth Cato doesn't disappoint!

Read an excerpt


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

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  2. I'll definitely be adding this to my TBR list. Cool cover and great review. These characters sound amazing.