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I Belong

Review: A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz

A Clockwork HeartTitle: A Clockwork Heart

AuthorLiesel Schwarz

Genre: Steampunk

Series: The Chronicles of Light and Shadow (Book 2)

Publication Date: August 13, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0345545087 (Del Rey)

ISBN-13: 978-0345545084 (Del Rey)

Reviewed by: Candy


FOR BETTER OR CURSE. That might as well have been the wedding vow of Elle Chance and her new husband, the ex-Warlock Hugh Marsh in the second book of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, historical adventure, and paranormal romance into storytelling magic.

As Elle devotes herself to her duties as the Oracle—who alone has the power to keep the dark designs of Shadow at bay—Marsh finds himself missing the excitement of his former life as a Warlock. So when Commissioner Willoughby of the London Metropolitan police seeks his help in solving a magical mystery, Marsh is only too happy to oblige. But in doing so, Marsh loses his heart . . . literally.

In place of the flesh-and-blood organ is a clockwork device—a device that makes Marsh a kind of zombie. Nor is he the only one. A plague of clockwork zombies is afflicting London, sowing panic and whispers of revolution. Now Elle must join forces with her husband’s old friend, the Nightwalker Loisa Beladodia, to track down Marsh’s heart and restore it to his chest before time runs out.

Quick & Dirty: While investigating some disappearances Marsh runs into some bad people who turn him over to an insane woman who removes his heart and replaces it with a clockwork heart. Now it is up to Elle and her friends and family to rescue Marsh and restore his heart to him before it is too late.

Opening Sentence: Not all fairy tales end with Happy Ever After.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Elle and Marsh are newly married and there are many new changes in their lives. Elle wants things to be like they were before she was married and Marsh wants her to stay home and tend him like a dutiful wife. This leads to them butting heads and Elle leaving on her airship without him. While she is gone Marsh gets bored and decided to take on a case involving people just disappearing. Unfortunately, Marsh is captured by those who are responsible and is in turn turned into a zombie like creature. They remove his heart and add a clockwork heart. When Elle returns she stops at nothing to find her husband and when she does she turns to those closest to her to return her husband into the man he was rather than the zombie she finds.

I did not enjoy this story in the beginning. This could partially be because this is the second book in the series and I didn’t read the first book, because of this I missed some important information and so I couldn’t relate to the characters at first. I also thought it was too slow and boring. Also, as a modern woman I couldn’t help but feel for Elle when her husband wanted her to give up her whole life, including her love of flying and stay at home and just make him happy. One of the hardest parts of this book for me was some of the vocabulary. I have not read many steampunk novels and the ones I have only touch on the actual terminology, such as blunderbuss which is actually a really old style of gun. This is only one example of something I needed to look up. That is not the case in this book. In this story they use many words that I had to look up to understand them. But I admit the story finally picked up and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen. Now I am hooked and I have to find out what happens with Elle and Marsh.

I did enjoy Elle. She is not like most women in her time period. While most women stay at home and keep house, Elle has her own airship company and flies her own ships. Also, you could tell that she was a good person. She is the Oracle, which is the keeper of the shadow lands. Many would use this power to their own advantage but Elle does not abuse her powers. Also, when her husband goes missing she will stop at nothing to get him back and whole again. She is kind and generous, even to complete strangers she has just met.  On the other hand I had a hard time liking Marsh. During the part when he is human I get the sense that he does love Elle deeply but that at the same time he wants to control her and wants to take her from her passions because they sometimes leave him out. I do have to say that in the end I liked the sacrifice he makes for her.

I recommend reading the first book before reading this one. I honestly think it would have helped me enjoy this book more if I had read the first one. That being said this book is good for those who truly enjoy a good steampunk story.

Notable Scene:

His body went limp; all that made this man was extinguished.

Gently she rolled him onto his back. His handsome face was pale but relaxed, as if he were asleep. The only detectable sign of life was the gentle rise and fall of his chest.

“Hush now, my dearest. It will all soon be over,” she murmured against his cheek.

“Emilian!” She called.

He was in the room within moments, as if he had been waiting just outside the door.

“Help me get him onto the table,” she said.

The Chronicles of Light and Shadow:

1. A Conspiracy of Alchemists

2. A Clockwork Heart

3. Sky Pirates


FTC Advisory: Del Rey/Random House provided me with a copy of A Clockwork Heart. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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