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The Clockwork Dagger
by Beth Cato
HarperCollins, $14.99, 368pp
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Octavia Butler is an orphan, living on the streets. Miss Percival takes her from the streets and teaches her to be a medican - a medical magician. Now grown and sent out on her first mission to a plague-ravaged town she sets out to cross the war-scarred realm via airship. On her journey she meets a variety of interesting people - a dead princess, a baby gremlin named Leaf and a one-legged steward named Alonzo who is a member of the titular Clockwork Daggers, the Queen’s elite squad of spies and assassins. But on her journey there are also strange happenings, including murder and multiple attempts on  Octavia’s life as she finds herself wanted by both rebels and the Crown who want to use her power to stop the war.

This is debut novel by a writer best known for her short stories. There is humor and a bit of romance but the steampunk element is not as apparent as the magic. All together a wonderful read, sure to appeal to both the YA market and adults. This is apparently the beginning of a series with the next book, The Clockwork Crown, due in September 2015. I look forward to continuing my acquaintance with these characters. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

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