The Clockwork Dynasty – Review

Hey everyone! I’m back today with a review of an amazing book that I flew through and cannot get enough of. I feel like this is also a perfect book for fall and that not a lot of people may know about it. The Clockwork Dynasty isn’t a genre that I typically read, so it was a nice little break from my usual reading selections.

Like always, here is a link to the Goodreads synopsis. And now, here’s my version.

An old story set in Russia where an ancient beings of power comes to life 300 years ago. Peter and Elena must run for their lives and to save their kind from dying. In the present day, June is an anthropologist who has uncovered a secret that should never have been spoken by a human. She is thrust into a world of mechanical beings who are older than most countries, older than history. The history of past and present share a secret so destructive that all must fight to save the world. This story winds through past and present beautifully.


The overview.

I am going to give The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson 4.5/5 stars. It was a work of art and even though I haven’t read any other books by him, but now I know that I’ll be making a stop by the bookstore to get his other works. I really enjoyed his style and how the characters seemed so lifelike (ha, that was kind of a joke) and developed throughout the book. Also, going back and forth in a timeline is hard, I understand that, but this book is the perfect example of that skill being perfectly constructed. This is a fast-paced book and with all of the time jumps, you do have to think a little bit, but that is just part of the enjoyment and how to story unfolds.


The characters. 

My favorite part of The Clockwork Dynasty was, like usual, the character development. I want to say that there were three main characters (Elena, Peter, and June), but two of them (June and Peter) were the main focus through out the story. I also loved the back stories and how Elena and Peter had to slowly move through time, hiding, waiting. June is connected to the sister-brother duo purely by fate, dumb luck, or maybe just coincidence, but that had to be one of my favorite plot twist thing that I’ve read in a while.


The fun. 

This book felt like a puzzle the whole time and, if you didn’t already know, I am a huge fan of puzzles. I always have been because I love figuring out solutions, and this book was perfect just for that reason! You have to piece everything together, make predictions, figure out the characters. Oh, I just loved it. It was also so much like a rollercoaster that with every turn of the page, I was hanging on for dear life just waiting for the next plot twist. The story idea is so unique and original, which is refreshing. I feel like I can almost always predict the ending of a book, but in this one, I honestly could not, and even the last sentence had me questioning and wanting more. The parallel time/story line was also very enjoyable because there would be a chapter set in present day, then the next chapter would be in the past, but they were always connected, even if by just a small detail.


The relationships. 

This. Is. Not. A. Lovey. Dovey. Story. There was no need for that romance stuff and I was in no mood for romance when I read The Clockwork Dynasty. I can not be more happy that love/lust was not pushed into the book because I could not have dealt with it. It was so much more appropriate just to not add it.

The character relationships included siblings, old friends, old enemies, betrayal, ironic friends, and love/hate. All of these were beautifully conducted and written. At parts, I felt like I was watching all of this play out instead of reading about it.

The brother-sister relationship displayed between Peter and Elena is just perfect. You see them being happy and dear to each other then you also see them having a rough patch and fighting. It makes their relationship seem much more realistic, and even though they cannot be biologically related, it shows how you can become someones sibling, even if it’s through fate.


The history.

I am a huge historical fiction fan. If you don’t know that, well, now you know. I love history for some reason, and this book, and soon as I saw that is was set in Russia during the 1700s I grabbed it and knew that I would most likely love it. The history had to be a huge chunk of research, and as a fellow writer, I know how much time and work that you have to put into it to make the story correct and plausible. Since I do not know much about Russian history or the history of London during the 1700s, this was fascinating and it was never bland. Some historical fiction books can be too fluffy (all story, no history) or too dry (all history, no story), but The Clockwork Dynasty was just the right mixture with a little bit of mystery mixed into it as well. Very enjoyable in this aspect.


The world.

I believe that the right term is magical realism because it’s technology that’s not of this world, but is in this world. I have to applaud Wilson because he had to create a whole history of Avtomats (basically robots with souls that can live for millennia). They have to blend in with humans without being noticed, but at the same time, they have their own secret little world, their own ancient language and loyalties. The world building was also another part of the book that had to be my favorite, and creating a whole world like that in just one book is a daunting task, and that many writers struggle with. The world was perfect and fit in with the characters seamlessly. I was a little nervous to see how that would turn out by the end. Answer: it was really freaking cool!


The main character.

The very last topic that I want to include in this review is about the main character June, the anthropologist who gets sucked into the crazy world of Avtomats. She is a human, real, and relatable. She experiences fear, confusion, wonder, family, and friends. She is a human at it’s most basic essence, which is what makes her stand out in the world of mechanical beings. June being so human, is what truly put the icing on top because it gave The Clockwork Dynasty much more depth and meaning. All of our humanistic qualities are represented perfectly.


The verdict.

4.5/5 stars to this magnificently constructed book that I cannot get enough of. Now I want to go read all of Wilson’s other books which I have really high hopes for. His writing style was elegant and sophisticated and I couldn’t have enjoyed reading this story anymore than I did. I highly recommend The Clockwork Dynasty to anyone who is in a reading slump, looking for something new, just wanting to get out of their reading comfort zone, and also if you’re a fan historical fiction or science fiction. Please, please, please go read this amazing book and come back so that we can talk all about it.


So that’s my review, I hope that you all enjoyed reading it and that maybe it inspired you to go red The Clockwork Dynasty if you haven’t already read it.

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I’ll see you all soon! Keep on reading!

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I'm an avid reader who can't get her nose out of a book. I am an English undergraduate student in the Midwest who dreams of being an author one day.

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