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..Show More ». 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.
While technically a sequel, I'd guess you say this was more of a companion piece to Clockwork Angels. In some ways it surpasses the original. Either w..Show More »ay enjoyable. Kudos to the production team on the variety and quality of voice talent that brings the sub-stories to life. A well used credit!