Clockwork Boys – T Kingfisher

“There are a number of smells one expects to encounter in a dungeon.

Slate is feeling more than a little fatalistic. What does it matter if she’s killed by a formerly possessed paladin, when she’s heading off on a suicide mission anyway? And if the 10-foot tall, unstoppable, mindless killing machines don’t get her, the magical tattoo on her arm will probably eat her.

Caliban is equally unphased by the thought of a suicide mission. At least it means a reprieve from life in a solitary cell, his punishment for crimes committed while possessed by the demon he was supposed to be exorcising in his role as a Paladin of the Dreaming God.

Joining them in the hopeless journey are Slate’s former partner, Brenner the assassin, and Learned Edmond – a highly intelligent teenager whose order rather unfortunately prohibits contact with women.

First, a warning: this isn’t a standalone book at all, you will want to have the sequel, The Wonder Engine, to hand to continue and finish the story. But that’s okay, but both parts together are absolutely fantasic!

I do absolutely love T Kingfisher’s (aka Ursula Vernon) pragmatic take on the fantasy genre. There are no prophecies or chosen ones – well, just the unfortunate ones chosen to risk their lives. And each character is so well told, and the relationships between them so believable. And there’s all of UrsulaV’s trademark humour throughout.

If anyone’s been keeping track, I’ve had a bit of a blogging break – sadly, not so much through choice. I’ve also been struggling to read at all for most of that time, so I hit the New Year determined to get back to my best-loved hobby. That called for something I knew I’d love, without being too overly complicated. Clockwork Boys hit the spot perfectly: so very well written, very intelligent and yet so easy to read and get caught up in. Absolutely recommended.

Kindle: 230 pages / 17 chapters
First published: 2017
Series: Clocktaur Wars book 1
Read from 1st-5th January 2022

My rating: 9/10

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