Tuesday, December 20, 2011
REVIEW: The Clockwork Giant by Brooke Johnson
Description: It's 1881, the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Chroniker City, the global hub of technological advancement in the modern world. Based off the British coast, the city is home to the most prestigious polytechnic university worldwide, a center of mechanical ingenuity teaching everything from clockwork mechanics and thermodynamics to electromagnetism and electricity. Petra Wade, self-taught clockwork engineer, dreams of one day becoming a member of the Guild, an elite group of inventors and innovators who envision a future fueled by technology, but her ambitions will only come to fruition if she can find a way into the illustrious university—an institution reserved for men only. When she meets Emmerich Goss, an accomplished engineer newly recruited into the Guild, Petra discovers that he needs help building a top-secret, government-sanctioned automaton, and she is just the girl to help him. Together, they craft the clockwork giant, and as the deadline for its completion nears, Petra finds that she can love more than gears and mainsprings.
My Thoughts: This book is delightful! I'm fairly well-read in YA, but I don't read much in the way of steampunk; however, I loved this. The plot zips along, the world-building is rich and detailed without becoming overwhelming, and Johnson does a great job of constructing a heroine that pings with a modern audience without losing sight of the very different social mores that a proper Victorian young lady would be expected to follow. Petra is a fun, proactive protagonist that had me rooting for her the whole way, and Emmerich would have drawn many a swoon from me when I was thirteen. I wanted to take him by the lapels and shake him a bit when it was all said and done, but in a generally benevolent way: he's capable of being better. Can't wait to see where Johnson goes with this series next.