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WesternSFA
Clockwork Heart
by Dru Pagliassotti
Edge, $15.95 TPB, 301pp
Release Date: September 15, 2013
A very nice steampunk novel. Taya is an Icarus; which is, as the name implies, a flier. She flies with the assistance of technologically advanced metal wings and a metal that apparently repels gravity. Icarii function within a very stratified society but also outside of it. At the top are the Exalted; people who have been through several rebirths and finally achieved the highest caste possible. The exalted rule but they could also be scientists or artists. At the bottom are the common people, the famulate caste. Each caste is bound by strict and particular customs including dress. Icarii are not bound by any caste strictures, despite their birth origins.

Taya is a messenger with aspirations of ascending to the diplomat corps and traveling the world. Not all societies are as caste-bound as her own and she is curious. Her life changes the day she saves an Exalted Lady and her son from a sabotaged vehicle. She is introduced into the Exalted society and makes the accidental acquaintance of an Exalted who lives with the famulate, Cristof. The two of them happen into a mystery that involves numerous incidents of sabotage or terrorism, a missing clockwork program and the death of Cristof’s Exalted brother.

The worldbuilding was very good but not excellent. I hope that improves as this might be a more interesting world. The characters of Taya and Cristof were well described. I liked the idea of how they wrote programs for their ‘great’ machines. The mystery that held it all together was a bit weak but it was an enjoyable read. The next one is due out in 2014. ~~ Catherine Book

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