Title: Like Clockwork
Author: Bonnie Dee
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy from author
Published: December 2010 by Carina Press
Victoria's work with automatons has gained her renown and changed the face of London. But her concern that the clockworks are taking too many jobs away from humans, creating social unrest, is ignored. Given the ugly mood of the underclass, she fears more outbreaks of violence similar to the murder spree of the notorious Southwark Slasher.
Dash, unemployed thanks to the clockworks, has pledged fealty to The Brotherhood, a group determined to bring about the downfall of the automatons by any means necessary. His plan to kidnap Victoria goes awry when the unorthodox scientist pledges her assistance to their cause.
Despite their opposite social classes, a bond grows between them, and Victoria begins to feel emotions she never expected for the passionate Dash. But when the Slasher strikes close to home, Dash and Victoria realize that the boundaries of polite society are far from the only threat to their happiness...
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Awesome Steampunk with great mystery, wonderful characters and heartfelt romance. I don’t know how I missed this book for so long but I’m so glad I found it! This introduced me to the author who is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.
The Set Up: Victoria is one of the scientists who created automatons which have taken all the underclass jobs from humans. She fears that the British government hasn’t properly thought of the long term social ramifications and the notorious Southwark Slasher confirms it. Dash is one of the unemployed thanks to automatons but he’s working with the Brotherhood to get representation in the British government to reverse automaton usage. Dash’s plan to kidnap Victoria and force her to help them goes awry when she pledges to help Dash and the Brotherhood. Now in spite of their class differences they’re drawn together to fight the automatons, the British government and the Slasher.
Why I Read this Book: I love Steampunk and am always searching for well written books in the genre.
What I Liked: Damn was this a great novella! I loved the automatons and the social implications of using them. This was very well explored without being boring in the least and totally captured my imagination. Victoria’s scientific contributions to the clockwork creatures was integrated beautifully into the story, as was Dash’s social reasons for opposing them. The world building is so good I’m devastated that this may be the only book set in this world.
The plot involving the Southwark Slasher is similar to the infamous Jack the Ripper we know but it’s just different enough to be compelling in a spooky way. Plus, I consider myself a fairly sophisticated reader and I didn’t know who the Slasher was until the big reveal. I’m glad I read this in the daytime because my chicken-s*!t self may have been scared otherwise!
What I Also Liked: The characters of Victoria and Dash are so well drawn. These are two very distinct people and their mature, intelligent decisions will have readers rooting for them both as I did. Their romance is believable and emotional with just enough sex to spice it up.
I also have to mention the lush writing in this story. I was captivated by a scene where Victoria shows Dash how to enjoy life by taking him to ride a carousel. The descriptions are lovely but the best part is how this scene becomes emotionally intimate for the hardened Dash. He thinks, “It was as if they were in a bubble of their own, a magical space that the rest of the world didn’t inhabit, a place where nothing bad or painful could touch them.” The emotional vulnerability was a lynchpin for Victoria and Dash’s romance and I loved how beautifully that was written.
What I Didn’t Like: I couldn’t find fault with a thing in this book. The pacing was spot on, the characters compelling, the romance was strong and the world building outstanding.
IMO: Everyone should read this great story but fans of Steampunk MUST read this today.