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The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper REVIEW

The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper (Clockwork Empire #1)

won from LovLivLife Reviews

Synopsis from Goodreads
In a clockwork Brittania, Alice's prospects are slim. At 21, her age and her unladylike interest in automatons have sealed her fate as an undesirable marriage prospect. But a devastating plague sends Alice off in a direction beyond the pale-towards a clandestine organization, mad inventors, life-altering secrets, and into the arms of an intrepid fiddle-playing airship pilot.

US release: 01/11/2011
UK release: 19/01/2012

Amazon | Amazon kindle | Amazon UK | Amazon UK kindle |   The Book Depository | The Book Depository UK

* * *
Oh, I'm so glad I've read it on Christmas day and had myself quite a Clockwork Christmas :) Great book, albeit a bit manic, I had to race along with the plot to catch up plenty of times.

There are two main protagonists.

Alice, a daughter of an impoverished baron in Victorian London, secretly works with assembling and repairing automatons while struggling to keep up the appearances and find a rich husband to pay her ill father's debts.

Gavin is an 18 year-old American cabin boy on a merchant airship from Boston, captured by pirates and hauled to London for a ransom from his shipping company. The company refuses to pay for a lowly cabin boy and pirates plan to sell him into a brothel when Gavin escapes.

Apart from an unusual pairing where she is older than him, both characters are perky, brilliant and utterly charming. It's the world-building however that totally won me over.

The world in this setting has an epidemic called a clockwork plague. The majority of people who contract it die, some percentage becomes zombie and very very small percentage has their minds altered and become incredible mad inventors, whose genius can build amazing automatons, defy gravity, physical laws, space and dimensions. These clockworkers don't live longer than 2-3 years but in that span they create things that truly change the world.

Only 2 nations in the world utilise clockworkers - Brittania and China, and it's a neck to neck race between them in the war of inventions.

How Alice and Gavin fit into that? you would ask. The thing is, Alice's mind is rare enough to understand how clockworkers automatons work and Gavin with his genius for understanding and playing the most perfect musical notes makes him a sort of a clockworker pied piper :)

Oh dear, I hope I didn't give away too much! ;) Maybe just enough for you to pick up the book?

There are moments, especially Alice's indecision which are grating, however as someone who loves HR I accepted them as a part of Victorian heroine package and just let go. If you are willing to do the same, the whole book is a delightful mad adventure, and I'm really looking forward to the next instalment in the series.

* * *
Ох, как вкусно! :)

Эта книга - одно безумное стимпанковское приключение с великолепным построением мира и очаровательными главными героями.

Алис - 21-летняя старая дева, дочь бедного барона, изобретатель, тайно разбирающий и чинящий автоматоны, которая вынуждена искать богатого мужа, чтобы помочь больному отцу с его долгами.

Гэвин - 18-летний американский юнга, чей воздушный корабль с Бостона захватили пираты. Компания, которой принадлежит корабль отказывается платить за ничтожного юнгу,  и пираты решают продать его в бордель в Лондоне, где он быстренько от них  сбегает.

Помимо необычного сочетания, где ГГ-й младше чем ГГ-ня, сам мир. в котором они живут необычайно занимателен.

Мир в этой книге заражён часовой чумой. Большая часть заболевших умирает, какая-то часть превращается в зомби, но маленький процент становится так называемыми часовщиками - их мозг оказывается настолько изменён, что они превращаются в гениев, изобретения которых не подчиняются законом физики, притяжения, пространства и времени. Часовщики в их изменённой реальности не живут больше 2-3 лет, но пока они лихорадочно изобретают, две страны, которые признают и используют их талант, Бриттания и Китай, ведут гонку вооружений против друг друга.

Как в этот мир вписываются Алис и Гэвин? Алис обладает уникальным талантом, который позволяет ей понимать как работают автоматоны, сооружёные часовщиками, а Гэвин - необычайно талантливый флейтист и певец, чьи чистые ноты помогают контролировать часовщиков сродни Крысолову из сказки.

Оба чрезвычайно очаровательны, безумно отважны и бойки. Несмотря на типичную неуверенность и нежелание Алис пойти против канонов светского общества, что временами раздражало, но не выходило за рамки ожидаемого от исторического романа,  книга остаётся свежей, дерзкой и немного безумной, и читать её - одно удовольствие!



Lalaine said...

that girl in the cover kicks ass. Loving it. and great review Karina! x I will have to add this on my tbr thank you.


N.L. Mars said...

Oh this book looks awesome as! I'm gonna have to get it for sure. I love steampunk so much.
Great review. :)

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