Would you think that science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, and historical fiction could all mesh together well in a book? Well, Daniel H. Wilson does a great job weaving these genres together to make THE CLOCKWORK DYNASTY (out now- August 1st!)
Big thanks to Doubleday Books for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!
This is also another #CJSReads2017 August selection – so check back later this week to see Chandra and Sam’s thoughts!
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars!
More science fiction than thriller, THE CLOCKWORK DYNASTY by Daniel H. Wilson is an intricately woven story that intertwines past and present with artificial intelligence and robotics. I went into this with an open mind – I’ve never been the biggest fan of robots, but I think it all depends on the writing and execution of it all. I really enjoyed this one and the author’s knowledge on the topic shines through.
We jump between the past and present.
Moscow in 1709: Tsar Pyotr Alexeyevich goes on journey through Europe and he returned with treasures and craftsmen: an artifact called an avtomaton and craftsmen known as mechanicians. A decade later, Giacomo Giuseppe Favorini, known as Favo, is the last remaining mechanician to the Tsar – after protests from his wife, Catherine, most of the mechanicians were exiled, but Favo stayed. He is kept because he has successfully created an avtomaton in the likeness of the Tsar, and named him Peter. Favo also created an avtomaton that looks like a young girl and named her Elena. Peter sees Elena as his sister and with how they were programmed, they are destined to serve great empires. When Pyotr the Great dies on February 8, 1725, Peter and Elena must flee. Catherine sees them as abominations, and has sentenced them to death. Eventually they make it to London where they learn there are other avtomats in the world, but not all of them get along and there is a war waging on.
In Oregon, present day: June, an anthropologist with a specialty in primitive technologies, has been hired by the Kunlun Foundation to seek out and study antique automatons. The latest one has been found in an Old Believer community of the Pacific Northwest. After inspecting the inner workings of the automaton, she replaces a part and that’s when all hell breaks loose. Knowing that her work, and possibly her life, is at risk, she finds an ally in a traveler named Peter. He has come to her about an artifact she possesses, and he must now keep her safe as the war between the avtomats continues.
This was an incredibly unique read. I didn’t think that historical fiction could accurately be blended with the robotics and science fiction elements. Man, was I wrong. Wilson does an phenomenal job keeping the historical elements factual and in tact (Peter the Great, the Russian Empire, Victorian England, etc). Wilson’s background and education in robotics shines through in this novel. You would think that with the constant back and forth from past and present that you would get lost, it actually keeps the pace up and had me turning pages.
I loved the modern technology mixing with the 1700’s Russian Empire and how they progressed through time blending in with society. The ending was actually very fitting for the book. It wrapped up everything in the core of the novel and story, but it left some wiggle room for more (hopefully there is!) If you’re a fan of science fiction, steampunk, historical fiction, and robotics, then you need to stop what you’re doing and get this book!
Let’s keep August rolling! So far it’s off to a great start!