I can’t stop thinking big....
International best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson teams up with Rush lyricist and drummer Neil Peart to expand the story set out in Clockwork Angels, the 20th studio album by the legendary rock band.
All the journeys of this great adventure -
It didn’t always feel that way
For more than two centuries, the land of Albion has been ruled by the supposedly benevolent Watchmaker, who imposes precision on every aspect of life. Young Owen Hardy from the village of Barrel Arbor dreams of seeing the big city and the breathtaking Clockwork Angels that dispense wisdom to the people, maybe even catching a glimpse of the Watchmaker himself.
I was brought up to believe....
He watches the steamliners drift by, powered by alchemical energy, as they head toward Crown City - never dreaming that he is already caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos, between the Watchmaker and his nemesis, the Anarchist. Owen’s journeys begin at a fabulous carnival with clockwork wonders beyond his imagination, and take him aboard airships, far into the Redrock Desert to seek lost cities, through storms at sea to encounters with pirates...and give him a chance at love.
Clockwork Angels: The Novel is a remarkable, innovative story unlike any other.
The basis for this novel, Clockwork Angels: The Album by Rush, is available now at rush.com.
©2012 Kevin J. Anderson (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I need to start by saying that I've been a Rush fan since the late 70's. I love their music, and the Clockwork Angels album is one of their best ever. It's the reason I bought this book, but I'm reviewing it as a stand-alone work rather than as part of the larger production.
Clockwork Angels is a traditional coming-of-age story set in a fantasy universe that incorporates elements of steampunk and alchemy. As the authors note in the afterword, many influences were drawn from classical stories and pulled together to create an adventure that will seem very familiar to anybody who has completed an English Lit class or two. In short: boy is raised in humble beginnings but craves adventure, runs away to the big city, has life-affirming adventures and finds that he can never return to the pedestrian life where he started.
As a 40-something adult, I was ultimately left wanting more sophistication from this story. The characters generally lacked the depth I wanted and played to fairly well-established archetypes. Many of the plot turns went unresolved in favor of moving on to the next stage of the book, and I felt they could have been explored further to add a bit more weight to the world building. There were some pretty significant events portrayed in this story that would have had a huge influence on the way the world worked, but we never heard more about them. Too bad.
As a Rush fan, I noticed lots of references to song titles and lyrics throughout the book. I agree that people unfamiliar with their music probably won't notice anything's up, and it's kind of fun to discover the easter eggs. But some of the references felt a bit forced or contrived. It was obvious in several cases that the phrase used was not really the best choice, but was tweaked to include a hidden bit of lyric.
Neil Peart's narration was pretty good, and it was easy to be pulled in to the story - always a plus for an audiobook, and not a guaranteed experience. Definitely very solid.
Ultimately, I would recommend this book to a younger audience. I think 10-15 is probably about the best age for a book like this, and would have enjoyed it a lot more as my 12-year-old self. As an adult, I liked it but was ultimately left feeling like I had listened to an abridged version with much of the detail omitted.
Yes Absolutely Great story, and Great Reading
The story is in the same archetype as Name of the Wind.
All are excellent, this one is the equal of any other
As Rushfan this just made happy...and dreamy
1. As a Rushfan(tm)
2. As a Standalone book
Either way is one of the best books I have read in years.
1. As a Rushfan(tm) this book is an incredible expansion of the "Clockwork Angels" album and of the band's entire body of work. The book's Primary focus is of course on bringing an expanded version of the albums concept to life. However it goes further, it brings out an expansion of all of the Rush's work. It brings in concepts from the entire history of the Band's albums and songs. These are not just cheesy planted references, but ones that enhance the naritive and even the understanding of such.
2. As a standalone book the story itself is vibrant and clear. There isn't a wasted word in the book. The story could have easily ran on as 500-1000 pages dragging out the concepts of the narative. However Anderson (and Peart its made clear this was a very tight colaboration) keeps the story running on the same steel wheels of the Steamliner's that figure centrally to the narative.
The story is so complex with so many references to songs and other great works of art that I would love to read again to catch all of them.
The main characters decision to hide an achievement to keep other people's dreams alive.
The clockmaker, although all the characters had unique voices that fit how you think that character should sound. The distinctness of the individual voices made the story very easy to follow.
Yes, unfortunately it was broken up into three sittings for me and when I was not reading the book it was all I could think about.
I felt the same way after reading this book as the first time I read Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.
Yes. But only because I prefer that format.
Not aware of any other Neil Peart narratives.
As a 47yo long time Rush fan, I felt compelled to read this. I had listened to the album, & wanted more insight into the storyline & characters of the first concept album from Rush in decades. The book answered all of my questions &, although it helped me appreciate the album more, it made me appreciate the book less.
Neils narration is OK, although at times a little mono-tonal. The book is excessively littered with unnecessary references to Rushes extensive repertoire of song titles & lyrics (almost every page). The standard of writing is more appropriate for a 10yo. In my opinion, Neil would have done a better job on his own.
It should have a label "Suitable for 10 to 15yo". Maybe it could made into an interesting "Manga" style animation.
This is essentially a story of self-discovery but there really isn't any sense of urgency, purpose or drama. A naive teenager impulsively sets out and story after story occur. None of them interesting. None of them particularly revealing nor suspenseful nor rewarding. It is interesting that the society in the story is very regulated, structured and bland (by intention) and, as a result, so is the "adventure" we experience. In listening, I must admit I was bored by this story; drifted my attention to other thoughts; came back and really didn't miss anything. I am at a point of just hearing through the end just to finish it.
The biggest problem is that there is no suspense aspect at all. I can't tell what is really driving this character besides curiosity and idle choice. There is no drive here, Owen just does things and he doesn't know why and neither do you...and after a while you don't care.
Here I have to bury my fanboy bias for Rush. Neil isn't a good narrator. He reads the story as a father would read a bedtime story to a young child or a baby he's trying to lull to sleep. Very few sentence inflections (and I mean like three or four) and they don't particularly match the story action. He has limited character 'voices' and they all sound fairytale-ish. He voices the main character, who is a naive 17 year old, with such innocence that I equate it with a naive 10 year old.
Also, sad to say, Neil has a slight lateral lisp and his 'ess' sound come across as 'esh.' Now that's no big deal, and many people speak that way...just not professional narrators. There is a reason why people with hangnails aren't professional hand models, if you catch my drift.
All that said, the story doesn't help either.
It's not a matter of scene or scenes to cut. The story just needs more purpose, and either drama or humor or adventure or love or anything really.
It does make for a good, if super-prolonged, drinking game. Take a drink every time you hear a Rush lyric or song title!
Amazing, Fantastic and Diferent.
Owen Hardy, he have an adventure spirit.
A lot of things, in this case, first off all, the "RUSH" conections,! This is my second book reading by Neal Peart and I like his emotion, his way to tell a story.!
"Reveal the World Around You"
I enjoyed listening to the person who actually had the original idea actually perform the final work.
This is the first book I've read in the steampunk genre, so there's not much that I can compare it directly to. But, it is similar to "The Odyssey" - as the main character is traveling and getting into fantastic journeys.
I liked the scenes where Owen is investigating the Seven Cities of Gold - reminiscent of my backpacking travels in the Southwest (America) looking at the Anasazi ruins.
"All the journeys of this great adventure ... it didn't always feel that way"
It makes the album so much more meaningful when you read the book - you get some additional meaning from the songs.
Great story with an ending that I can relate to. I also liked the author's reference to lyrics in older Rush songs.
Very satisfying read and also enjoyed the reading by Neil Peart.
I only recommend this book if you are wanted a deeper look into the story behind the lyrics for the Clockwork Angels project. It is difficult to tell which came first - the lyrics or the story.
NO. I felt like I was being read to by my elementary school teacher. Other reviews of this author have also impacted that decision.
Yep - like his style. Wrong book for him to read, but I bet would be great on an "adult" reading-level performance.
Too shallow of a story to hold water. Visually, it could look great, and has potential if modified. I am a huge fan of RUSH, and would go see it no matter how it came out. However, I would hope that this idea is not pursued to avoid tarnishing the band's name or reputation.
Yes. I have read books from both authors and wouldn't hesitate to do so again.
First, I would like to give credit to the authors and ECW Publishing for offering a complimentary e book to all readers who purchased the hardcover. Not only was it effortless to download but the customer service was excellent.
The whole idea of supporting an album (Rush: Clockwork Angels) with a novel is not only unique but extremely creative. The partnership of Anderson/Peart/Syme makes the entire package a great experience for the reader and fan.
The storyline was reminiscent of Ayn Rand's "Anthem" and Rush's "2112" with the individual facing deciding between individualism and collectivism. The surprise though was that our main protaganist, Owen Hardy, was able to persevere and accept his fate and manage through it without having to change the world or set the world on fire.
I did find that the continuous use of Rush lines/lyrics a tad disruptive and somewhat cheesie for this reader as it distracted from the overall flow of the story. Instead of reading on, the reader stopped to pause and reflect on the many great songs Rush has recorded over the years. With that said, the use of the CA lyrics at the start of each chapter was extremely helpful in setting up each stage(s).
The books' ending was very well thought out and introspective ts to why Owen Hardy did what he did. And, to that end, the authors tended to their readers very well.
The CA package is extremely well done; with a good story line (Peart/Anderson), beautiful drawings (Hugh Syme), lyrics for each track of the album (Peart) and a great afterword from Peart to provide the backdrop for this working concept.
It is a story that young and old will enjoy.
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