“Clockwork Heart” by Dru Pagliassotti – Review

In this post I mentioned a book review I was going to write. Here it is, better late than never!
As I said before, I picked this book up at Chapters. I hadn’t heard of it before. Normally I only buy books that I know of from a friend or have read a review on. I sometimes forget that there is a good reason for that.

Synopsis: Taya soars over Ondinium on metal wings. She is an icarus — a courier privileged to travel freely across the city’s sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. But even she can’t outfly the web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and intrigue that snares her after a daring mid-air rescue. Taya finds herself entangled with the Forlore brothers, scions of an upperclass family: handsome, brilliant Alister, who sits on the governing council and writes programs for the Great Engine; and awkward, sharp-tongued Cristof, who has exiled himself from his caste and repairs clocks in Ondinium’s lowest sector. Both hide dangerous secrets, in this city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart…

What I liked: What first attached me to this book was the cover and then the back cover’s synopsis. I love steampunk and this book seemed to promise a good dose of that.
The story was interesting, it had some cool ideas; like Taya’s clockwork wings and the way the city’s society worked. It was interesting how computers and steampunk were combined.
Pagliassotti does a good job of assuming her audience is not dumb, her tone is not condescending or overly explanatory.

What I Didn’t Like: The first page was a bit overwhelming: there was a lot of information about the society and names given all at once. Once it plunged into the action scene it became interesting.

The book is aimed at a teen and YA audience: I found it in the teen section and the story is very much geared towards what that age group would be interested in; however, the main character is mentioned as being about thirty years old. That doesn’t have to be a big deal, in fact, it can be an opportunity to create a role model for younger readers. However, I took issue with the opportunity Pagliassotti missed; she has Taya and Alister’s intentions toward each other as being completely recreational and not at all serious. Pointless flirting is portrayed as fun and harmless, and Taya considers sleeping with Alister with clear indications of no commitment. It bothers me that Pagliassotti portrays these ideas to teens who are looking around for an indication of what relationships should be like. Her message is: commitment-free, sexual relationships can be fun and don’t really mean anything. That kind of thinking can be damaging.

There is a whole lot of blushing going on in the book. Taya blushes when she wakes up, blushes when she eats, blushes when she walks, blushes when talking to both the love interests, and blushes when anything important happens. Alister also joins in on the blush-fest. I might be exaggerating a little bit, but only a little bit…

At one point the story lulled and seemed to promise the end, only to have a whole other story line appear and the story start up again. In the meantime, I got bored.

The Verdict: One only needs to see the difference between the amount of “What I liked” in comparison to “what I didn’t like” to know the answer to that. I was disappointed. Though the story was okay, the morals sucked and, in the end, I got rid of the book.