Steampunk Novella Review: Clockwork Menagerie by Karen Kincy

Clockwork Menagerie by Karen Kincy (Shadows of Asphodel #2.5)

Egalley thanks to Curiousity Quills Press

Synopsis from Goodreads
1914. Konstantin would love to hide in his laboratory and dissect the clockwork dragon captured from Russia, but the Archmages of Vienna have other plans. He finds himself shipped off to St. Petersburg as the scientific attaché to an ambassador. His orders? Look, but don't touch. Of course, he considers this an impossible request with so much enemy technomancy to explore.

To make matters worse, Konstantin has to work with the dashing zeppelin commander Himmel, a man who should also be untouchable. They can't act on the smoldering attraction between them without risking it all. Faced with an illegal relationship and a devious rival technomancer, Konstantin might not return from this mission in Russia without conquering the forbidden.

A companion novella to the Shadows of Asphodel series, from Konstantin's point of view.

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* * *
This was a nice read, a bit underdeveloped on a personal level, but nice.  What I enjoyed most is the portrayal of Russia. I know it's steampunk and I know it doesn't have to be culturally or historically accurate, and I know that inconsistencies always piss me off no matter the excuse. And yet, Clockwork Menagerie was above reproach. I was reading about Konstantin having a cup of tea on the train and it struck me, that Karen Kincy made it familiar for me, - I knew and loved this Russia, and it made me very happy.

Overall, the strength of this novella is in its world-building. The technomancy is bright and wonderful without going into too much detail, the travel is exciting, the masque ball is dangerous and beautiful.

It's the characters I wasn't happy with, they were all over the place without taking over the main plotline. Both Konstantin and Theodore lacked substance in their relationship with each other, and I found that slightly annoying.

Still, this was an enjoyable read, and the ending gave me a nice jolt. What will this couple do next?! Recommended.

* * *
Очень милая повесть, дамы и господа. С ленивой характеризацией, но милая. Больше всего мне понравилось описании России. Я знаю, что это стимпанк и что не следует ожидать культурной и исторической аккуратности, и я знаю, что отсутствие такой аккуратности всегда меня раздражает, однако в этом плане придраться мне было не к чему. В какой-то момент я прочла как Константин едет в поезде, и ему подают чай, и просто заулыбалась. Прятно всё-таки.

В общем, сила этой повести в построении мира. Техномагия описана просто и увлекательно, путешествия по России и Австрии - интересно, а балы маскарады в Санкт-Петербурге опасны и красивы.  Слабенькими оказались сами характеры - Теодор и Константин. Несмотря на то, что их любовная история и флирт разбросаны по всей повести, к сюжету они ничего не добавляют и оказываются совсем не нужными, что раздражало.

Итак, нормальная повесть, мне понравилась. Концовка очень интригующая для сюжета серии в общем. Рекомендую.