This one picks up right where the last one left off with the group making it to the city of Anuket. The clocktaurs aka Clockwork Boys are everywhere, but they don’t seem to be dangerous here. Despite the fact that they are all over the city, Slate isn’t having horrible rosemary sneezing attacks. Also all over the city are the gnolls and because of that the gnoll race takes a much larger role in the second book. The more different and “alien” a non human species is the more I appreciate it, so long as it makes sense. In this case there’s a class system that affects the pronouns used and other things that make them pretty interesting. The gnolls are more or less the underpinning mechanism of the city, it’s apparent that without them the city would be in trouble. The lowest class of the gnolls, called grave gnolls, are a relatively new cast and their sole purpose is to take the Blight-ridden bodies out of the city. The Blight took a bigger role in this book as well with the city of Anuket suffering badly from outbreaks. Many inn keepers think that the gnolls are bringing in Blight, and it’s not just a mundane disease. If I recall correctly, it’s nearly always lethal and it’s ruthless.
Learned Edmond knows the most about the Ancients, naturally given he’s a scholar, so we get a little more world building through him and learn that there are number of Wonder Engines that have been found throughout the world but not all of them thoroughly understood. They each do something different and no one really knows if they’re working correctly or not. As an example, there’s one Wonder Engine that if you put in gold you get back pears. There’s probably something else that it should be doing but they don’t know what that is just yet. The group’s whole goal this book is to find out what is making the clocktaurs (probably a Wonder Engine), and how to stop it (probably impossible).
Learned Edmond is once again the character that has the most growth and is one of the more dynamic characters. Perhaps his growth was a little quick? Considering I think all of a month covers both the first and second book and he almost does a complete about-face on many of his most staunchly held views of the world. This does make him a much more likeable character, so I’m not complaining too much, lol.
I’ve also learned that although T. Kingfisher is one of my favorites, she writes a very specific type of romance with a very specific male protag/love interest. I have learned that I need to dip my toes once in a while when I want something sweet but not to binge them. I end up feeling like it’s just too saccharine if I read too many in a row. As far as sex scenes this one was a bit more on par with what T. Kingfisher usually puts out, or at least the ones that I’ve read, in that there were many more this time around.
I have to say I agree with some of the reviews that say that these two should have been one book. At 370 pages I feel like there was a lot of filler that could be cut and just put this one together with the first since it picks up right where the last left off, it would be fairly seamless. I wouldn’t say this was a slow book, but 370 seems like an awful lot for what happened. That said, I still sailed right through the audiobook without feeling like it was a chore, so it’s not like it was super slow.
Overall, I liked this story and really enjoy this world. It’s fun. It’s got great characters you can root for with an easy breezy writing style that allows you to sink into this new world and have a great time.
- Plot: 11/15
- Characters: 12/15
- World Building: 13/15
- Writing: 13/15
- Pacing: 12/15
- Originality: 12/15
- Enjoyment: 8/10
Final Score: 81/100 or 4/5 stars on Goodreads