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"Rush"ed right through this one...

Clockwork Angels: The NovelI finally had a chance to sit down and dig into Clockwork Angels, which I got for Christmas and which I'd been eagerly anticipating. I'm a huge fan of Rush and have been since high school; largely thanks to Neil Peart, who's incredibly widely-read, many of their songs and albums are strongly story-oriented (think Fountain of Lamneth, or Red Barchetta, or all of 2112), so a collaborative book/album project sounded intriguing. In the end I enjoyed this book very much as far as it went, but was left wanting a lot more.

The steampunk-y world-building had many lovely little details: the Clockwork Angels of the title, the invented names of alchemical stones and minerals, the news office of Barrel Arbor and its announcement of the daily predictions, the personal letters the Watchmaker sends to every citizen on important occasions, the brief glimpses of other people and continents beyond the kingdom of the Watchmaker, and lots more. Taken as a whole, though, the story reads like a parable because in the end that's all we're given: little details and glimpses. The characters -- except for Owen Hardy -- are ultimately one-dimensional, and even the Watchmaker and the Anarchist are in the end nothing but symbols of the two extremes between which Owen Hardy is pulled, the Watchmaker's total predictability and the Anarchist's total unpredictability.

I was happy for Owen that he eventually found a happy medium, but I wish he'd spent a lot longer exploring. I had a nagging sense that I was missing out on lots of exciting things just out of sight; I felt like I was constantly craning my neck out the back window or trying to sneak off down alleyways to see things for myself and getting brought up short.

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ennyousai
Feb. 24th, 2013 03:51 am (UTC)
Oooooh. This looks like it is relevant to my interests.

And if you haven't already, you need to start reading Andrew Miller.
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