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Summary

A paladin, an assassin, a forger, and a scholar ride out of town. It's not the start of a joke, but rather an espionage mission with deadly serious stakes. T. Kingfisher's new novel begins the tale of a murderous band of criminals (and a scholar), thrown together in an attempt to unravel the secret of the Clockwork Boys, mechanical soldiers from a neighboring kingdom that promise ruin to the Dowager's city.

If they succeed, rewards and pardons await, but that requires a long journey through enemy territory, directly into the capital. It also requires them to refrain from killing each other along the way! At turns darkly comic and touching, Clockwork Boys puts together a broken group of people trying to make the most of the rest of their lives as they drive forward on their suicide mission.

©2017 Ursula Vernon (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Clockwork Boys

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great first part, but short.

Was surprised at the length of book 1 but enjoyed enough that I've already bought book 2

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    5 out of 5 stars

Does not shame the author's ancestors

A great story, touching and funny. the performance adds a great touch with the demonic gibbering.

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Profile Image for Elisabeth Carey
  • Elisabeth Carey
  • 06-08-19

Enjoyable, entertaining adventure

Slate is a forger and thief, Brenner an assassin, Sir Caliban a former knight-champion of the Dreaming God. In that capacity, he killed or exorcised, depending on circumstances, demons who had possessed people or animals. Then he got careless and a demon possessed him,and it was exorcised, but not until after he'd killed eight temple nuns.

They're all condemned criminals, but they've been offered pardons and rewards if they can successfully complete a mission to Anuket City, to find a wayto defeat the Clockwork Boys, giant centaur-like creatures apparently made out of machine parts, who are ravaging the countryside and threatening the kingdom that, however questionable their characters, our three criminals are subjects of.

Slate, possibly because she's the most stable and educated of the three (Brenner may be stable, but not all that educated, and Caliban may be far more educated, but it's not at all clear he's stable), is in charge of this little group. But they're not going to Anuket City alone. They'll have a scholar with them. Learned Edmund is outraged to learn that he's not going to command the mission. He's the one that has the most information about the Clockwork Boys, after all, and the ability read the journal of a scholar who's going missing, if they ever find it and him. Sadly, he's also a nineteen-year-old boy, a dedicat of a the ragingly misogynistic cult of the Many-Armed God, and has no idea how to conduct such an expedition. Learned Edmund is compelled, eventually, to accept this unwelcome piece of reality.

This is in many ways your basic "misfit comrades on a mission." What's different is Kingfisher's skill at drawing interesting, compelling characters. They are all, including Learned Edmund, weirdly likable characters, and for all the varying backgrounds and levels of education, there's a lot of wit, here. In many ways, the most fascinating part of this book are the characters and their interrelationships, and their responses to what they encounter along the way.

This is the first half of the story, but the second half, The Wonder Engine, is also available. I'm looking forward to that.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Michael Honan
  • 21-09-19

fun book

I always give a book five stars if I like enjoyed it. I dont have any deep insights. The reader did a good job and the story was enjoyable but it is just the first book. I wouldn't say this is a cliff hanger by any means but the story is unfinished and I look forward to reading the rest of it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Oeyvind
  • 11-12-19

Too slow

If T. Kingfisher wrote The Lord of the Rings, Frodo wouldn't have left the Shire before the end of the 3rd book. Clockwork Boys consists of so many detail with so little importance. Like a long segment of how they couldn't get of their horses. It was so slow that started day-dreaming about other stuff while listening. And I really liked the books premise. The undertaking and the mysterious clockwork boys are great. The writing sentence by sentence is also good. But it's just so many details which should have been left out. The result is a really slow paced book. I lasted 2,5 hours before I had to stop.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Ijw
  • 28-12-19

a joy to find

First if you're expecting steampunk, you might find this book disappointing. It is a first-rate fantasy. There are villainous creatures made of something like a clockwork mechanism but the book does not revolve around making up steam powered mechanical alternatives to household items, or hot air balloons, or ether powered guns.

This part of the story is a travelogue that ends at the destination. Our heros travel by horse and mule, and fight with knife and sword. This book is the bonding part of of an unlikely troop on an unlikely mission . While the trope is familiar, the story is original The next book I expect will get into the fulfillment of their mission.

In this time of cookie cutter bloodletting fantasy, sure is nice to find a fantasy with a story; a story that's actually intriguing with interesting characters and fantastical happenings that don't blow readers out of the book, too disbelieving to enjoy the story. Not to say there isn't a fair share of bloodletting.

Looking forward to the sequel.

3 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Dan Ames
  • Dan Ames
  • 05-12-20

“Oh well!”

I LOVED the idea of this book! Loved the character development. Loved the protagonist. But honest to god, get a thesaurus!! I can’t tell you how many times this author says “Oh well!”. It became unbearable. And when I found myself saying it before the narrator I returned the book. It’s just so repetitive and the author just beats you to death with how clever they are. Every single scene and scenario is laced and sometimes drenched in snarky humor. Not everything has to be funny. You don’t have to follow every thought with “Well, we’re all gonna die anyway so screw it!”. Say. Something. Else. Please!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • CrazyAunt
  • 14-05-20

Great fantasy and different from most!

Looking forward to the rest of the series! Can't help but root for the odd group to accomplish what they set out to do.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth C.
  • 22-03-21

Narration lives up to the story

T Kingfisher is joining Jim Butcher and Ilona Andrews on my automatic buy list. Great characters in an interesting world. The narration is a great performance, not just someone reading a book. The main character voice is perfect: male characters are good. Loved it!

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Profile Image for Kristen R. Daniels
  • Kristen R. Daniels
  • 24-02-21

Kind of dull

For the most part, I enjoyed the writing style. The narration was also good, but not great. This book just never got going; it just lacks any suspense at all. I liked the characters well enough and thought the plot was intriguing, but the book overall was just dull.
I listen to books on my 2hr drive/commute to work and this one threatened to put me asleep at the wheel. I can't take that chance and had to pull the plug after 5.5hrs.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-01-21

Poorly written and ends poorly

This was a barely tolerable book at best. The author spends very little time on world building and far too much time creating a "plucky damsel in distress" that is overly impressed by a proffered handkerchief. The use of idiom is often jarring because it is very 21st century America. it would perhaps make a passable listen if not for the abrupt cliffhanger ending, intended I am sure to get you to buy other books. This book is short enough that the whole series could easily be contained in one. All in all a mild waste of time that ends on a annoying note.

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Profile Image for Mel Woods
  • Mel Woods
  • 21-01-21

Another delightful book by T. Kingfisher.

Another delightful book by T. Kingfisher. I’d already committed to the second book by the midway point of the first (because I wanted the audiobook and ebook downloaded and ready to go once I finished the first).

We have an interesting cast of characters going on a suicide mission (most under duress). It has plenty of humor, fleshed out characters, and a compelling mystery.This book is very character driven and if you are a fan of anti-heros in a fantasy setting you should pick this up.

Although, I think it would have made sense to just have one longer book because this book doesn’t feel complete or maybe I’m just greedy.

The narrator of the audiobook does an excellent job.