Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson #bookreview #sci-fi

An ingenious new thriller that weaves a path through history, following a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries, written by the New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse.

Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past…

Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar’s loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.

The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning. As June plunges deeper into their world, her choices will ultimately determine their survival or extermination. Richly-imagined and heart-pounding, Daniel H. Wilson’s novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisitely drawn characters with visionary technology–and riveting action. – Goodreads.com

Do I really need to say how ravishing this cover is?  I’ve read several other books by this author and he has yet to disappoint me.

The chapters alternate between past, present, and various settings in history and reveal how Peter and June are connected.  The history of the avtomats and how they each live by their ‘word’ is intriguing and I would have liked more details, but it looks like there’s a sequel, so I’m assuming the author plans to expand on that in a future book.  With intricate avtomat design descriptions and vivid imagery, the action scenes play out like a movie (especially when June experiences claustrophobia) – and I can easily picture this as a movie.

There’s no doubt I enjoyed Clockwork Dynasty, but I admit the pacing was a bit slow in a few places and I skimmed through some pages.  While Peter’s character was well-developed (I kept forgetting he wasn’t human), June felt a little flat and other than her engineering talents, I knew next to nothing about her.

If you’re familiar with Wilson’s books, you know they tend to revolve around artificial intelligence and robotics, so if that’s your thing, this is your book.  If, however, you’re looking for more of a steampunk feel, the cover is slightly misleading.  In my opinion, this book leans more toward sci-fi.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital ARC.

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