Clockwork Boys

Clocktaur War, Book 1
Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
Series: Clocktaur War, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (170 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A paladin, an assassin, a forger, and a scholar ride out of town. It's not the start of a joke, but rather an espionage mission with deadly serious stakes. T. Kingfisher's new novel begins the tale of a murderous band of criminals (and a scholar), thrown together in an attempt to unravel the secret of the Clockwork Boys, mechanical soldiers from a neighboring kingdom that promise ruin to the Dowager's city.

If they succeed, rewards and pardons await, but that requires a long journey through enemy territory, directly into the capital. It also requires them to refrain from killing each other along the way! At turns darkly comic and touching, Clockwork Boys puts together a broken group of people trying to make the most of the rest of their lives as they drive forward on their suicide mission.

©2017 Ursula Vernon (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable, entertaining adventure

Slate is a forger and thief, Brenner an assassin, Sir Caliban a former knight-champion of the Dreaming God. In that capacity, he killed or exorcised, depending on circumstances, demons who had possessed people or animals. Then he got careless and a demon possessed him,and it was exorcised, but not until after he'd killed eight temple nuns.

They're all condemned criminals, but they've been offered pardons and rewards if they can successfully complete a mission to Anuket City, to find a wayto defeat the Clockwork Boys, giant centaur-like creatures apparently made out of machine parts, who are ravaging the countryside and threatening the kingdom that, however questionable their characters, our three criminals are subjects of.

Slate, possibly because she's the most stable and educated of the three (Brenner may be stable, but not all that educated, and Caliban may be far more educated, but it's not at all clear he's stable), is in charge of this little group. But they're not going to Anuket City alone. They'll have a scholar with them. Learned Edmund is outraged to learn that he's not going to command the mission. He's the one that has the most information about the Clockwork Boys, after all, and the ability read the journal of a scholar who's going missing, if they ever find it and him. Sadly, he's also a nineteen-year-old boy, a dedicat of a the ragingly misogynistic cult of the Many-Armed God, and has no idea how to conduct such an expedition. Learned Edmund is compelled, eventually, to accept this unwelcome piece of reality.

This is in many ways your basic "misfit comrades on a mission." What's different is Kingfisher's skill at drawing interesting, compelling characters. They are all, including Learned Edmund, weirdly likable characters, and for all the varying backgrounds and levels of education, there's a lot of wit, here. In many ways, the most fascinating part of this book are the characters and their interrelationships, and their responses to what they encounter along the way.

This is the first half of the story, but the second half, The Wonder Engine, is also available. I'm looking forward to that.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

fun book

I always give a book five stars if I like enjoyed it. I dont have any deep insights. The reader did a good job and the story was enjoyable but it is just the first book. I wouldn't say this is a cliff hanger by any means but the story is unfinished and I look forward to reading the rest of it.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Too slow

If T. Kingfisher wrote The Lord of the Rings, Frodo wouldn't have left the Shire before the end of the 3rd book. Clockwork Boys consists of so many detail with so little importance. Like a long segment of how they couldn't get of their horses. It was so slow that started day-dreaming about other stuff while listening. And I really liked the books premise. The undertaking and the mysterious clockwork boys are great. The writing sentence by sentence is also good. But it's just so many details which should have been left out. The result is a really slow paced book. I lasted 2,5 hours before I had to stop.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

a joy to find

First if you're expecting steampunk, you might find this book disappointing. It is a first-rate fantasy. There are villainous creatures made of something like a clockwork mechanism but the book does not revolve around making up steam powered mechanical alternatives to household items, or hot air balloons, or ether powered guns.

This part of the story is a travelogue that ends at the destination. Our heros travel by horse and mule, and fight with knife and sword. This book is the bonding part of of an unlikely troop on an unlikely mission . While the trope is familiar, the story is original The next book I expect will get into the fulfillment of their mission.

In this time of cookie cutter bloodletting fantasy, sure is nice to find a fantasy with a story; a story that's actually intriguing with interesting characters and fantastical happenings that don't blow readers out of the book, too disbelieving to enjoy the story. Not to say there isn't a fair share of bloodletting.

Looking forward to the sequel.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Rich weird world building, slightly cheesy characters

This is a visually rich fantasy world, if sometimes a little arbitrary. The characters though, and their canned one-liners grate after a while

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable

A bit strange, but mostly fun and light hearted. The characters are likable, the plot is fun. The world and style are a bit simplistic, it feels kinda like a YA book.
Either way, I gulped it up. And moving on to the next installment.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

narrator made getting through this annoying

don't get me wrong, the narrator is clearly skilled and has a fun voice - but wow, she sounded angry and irritated the entire time. this would be great for character dialogue, but even when when it's just pure exposition it sounds like she's delivering the most obnoxious of tirades. I might continue the series of I knew she wasn't like this in future books.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Definitely Different and fun

A treasonous forger, a disgraced Paladin with a demon rotting in his soul, an assassin, and a scholar take a danger wrought trip through a magical land to discover the secrets of the Colckwork Boys. This is a fantastic adventure with a suicide squad and I want more!

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  • -g
  • 01-05-20

very entertaining,

a good listen to on a rainy day. No awkward sex scenes. the voice actor gives each character their own voice.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I hated for it to end!

This book grabbed me from the very first minute. The characters are engaging and the world building is awesome. The narrator is perfect. I'm delighted to see that there is a second book in the series and have only stopped long enough to leave this review before diving into it.

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  • daniel
  • 07-28-19

Great first part, but short.

Was surprised at the length of book 1 but enjoyed enough that I've already bought book 2

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  • Xiao-Jia Ng
  • 07-26-19

Does not shame the author's ancestors

A great story, touching and funny. the performance adds a great touch with the demonic gibbering.