It’s been six years, but Taya, Cristof and Alister are back in Clockwork Lies: Iron Wind, a sequel to Dru Pagliassotti’s Clockwork Heart. You’ll really need to read that previous book to get the most out of Clockwork Lies: Iron Wind and this review will have spoilers for that first book, so proceed with caution.
Alister was blinded and exiled after his treasonous deeds in Clockwork Heart. His brother Cristof, who was happy just being a clockmaker, has reluctantly taken Alister’s place as an Exalted. He married Taya, the courageous Icarus who carries messages up and down the mountain city of Ondinium.
The city is named for its mines of ondinium, the precious lighter-than-air metal that Taya’s wings are made of. Many other countries would like to get their hands on some of that metal. The city is most vulnerable to attack by air, so they have peace treaties with neighboring countries which prohibit airships made for military purposes. When the country of Mareaux begins experimenting with airship technology, Cristof and Taya are sent on a diplomatic mission to assess the risk. This is Cristof and Taya’s first diplomatic mission and it goes poorly. There are sabotaged dirigibles, murders, and assassination attempts. Obviously there is some threat to Ondinium, and Cristof and Taya need to figure out what’s going on before their country is attacked.
Similar to Clockwork Heart, Clockwork Lies: Iron Wind is a fun steampunk adventure with plenty of action and political intrigue. Expect frightening airship rides, train wrecks, secret tunnels, coded messages, terrorists, daring rescues, gun smuggling, and computer hackers. Taya has to abandon some of her closely held principles just to stay alive.
Also expect modern sensibilities as Taya considers and questions her beloved country’s moral superiority. Now that she’s married to an Exalted, she begins to think more about Ondinium’s class structure, immigration laws, history of slavery, air quality, prejudice and discrimination. Taya and Cristoff, who has the power to influence policy in Ondinium, must wrestle, just as we do, with the implications of technological advancements in neighboring countries. As one character asks, must science suffer because of politics?
If you enjoyed Clockwork Heart, this is a worthy sequel. I listened to Kate Rudd narrate Brilliance Audio’s version. She gets a bit too angsty at tense moments, but overall I really like her performance.
Clockwork Heart — (2008-2014) Publisher: A steampunkish romantic fantasy set in Ondinium, a city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart. Taya, a metal-winged courier, can travel freely across the city’s sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. A daring mid-air rescue leads to involvement with two scions of an upperclass family and entanglement in a web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and secrets.