Review: The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher

This is a deliciously crafted antidote for your woes. Part 2 of Kingfisher’s (aka Ursula Vernon) Clocktaur Wars finds takes the party to their ultimate destination of Anuket City – home of the centaur-like Clockwork Boys.

The story is structured around solving the mystery of clocktaurs with side trips into the underworld of Anuket City, the culture of the badger-like gnoles and hints at the ancient civilisation that left behind the giant artefacts known as Wonder Engines. However, while that skeleton frames the book, it is the interaction between the characters that really lifts this from being an entertaining fantasy quest and into a story full of human warmth.

Romance, humour, love, a tiny bit of sex, as well as danger and mystery. Thoroughly entertaining. I don’t know if there will be more books featuring Slate and Caliban but I’d love to see more of this world, whether it was the further adventures of Learned Edmund and Grimehug the Gnole  of wholly knew characters.

A satisfying conclusion to this two-parter, probably best read in one go with part 1.

9 thoughts on “Review: The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher

  1. It was so very very good.

    I think the “human warmth” you mention is the key to why it works so well. It’s a story that absolutely celebrates its characters as people, but recognises that doing so requires you to recognize their faults and fears.

    Also, I don’t tend to be too bothered about romance plots (as in, I don’t rate them as superior to any other character interaction plot) but the will-they-won’t-they plot played with both POVs worked really well.

    A big yes to more stories in this world.

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      1. So did a gnole! Only took a couple hours!

        I so rarely read anything where the characters have such well-explored inner lives (even in Srs Litracher), and this does, in between all the fighting and magic and quests. It’s remarkable.

        Oor Wombat did say there might someday be more in this world, and I will read it. I’d read 100K words of Edmund and the gnoles.

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  2. “probably best read in one go with part 1.”
    I reread the last few chapters of part 1 the day before part 2 was released, and I’m glad I did – I think it saved me from a couple of “wait, what’re they talking about”-moments at crucial points.

    But it’s a very good book.

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