Publisher: Carina Press
Publish Date: 12/13/10
How I got this book: NetGalley
I was super excited to get this book from NetGalley, as most Steampunk Romance I’ve read as of late has been super awesome, but this one just fell short for me. The story itself was only novella length, and those who do not like short stories should probably steer clear of this one.
For me, the story line itself was really interesting: robots or “automatons” have been developed to work for humans in high-risk settings (i.e. factories) but have become mainstream and started taking over jobs all across the city. Bartenders, nannies, butlers, etc have all been kicked to the curb for the new cheap labor of automatons. To me the concept of artificial intelligence and robots is so exciting, but the controversy that could arise is also something to think about.
From that aspect, I really enjoyed this story. The steampunk elements of advanced technology in the Victorian era is spot on, and I loved the way Dee hit some of the ways that social class structures can create chaos in that kind of situation. It was great seeing a female heroine struggle with the constraints of the time frame, but also be independent enough to have a profession.
However, the romance fan in me found the story somewhat lacking. I didn’t really find the romance between Dash and Victoria to be believable. While Victoria seemed to be completely devoted to a potential relationship, it seemed as if Dash was only half heartedly committed to her. It could have just been the way that Dee portrayed Dash’s feelings regarding their differences in social class, but I just had a hard time connecting to the two as a couple.
Although I didn’t relate to the two as a couple, I did enjoy both Victoria and Dash’s characters separately. I loved that Victoria was this amazingly strong and smart woman who found a way to make a name for herself in the field that she loved. I was also partial to the fact that although Victoria had some emotional struggles in her past, she was not hard emotionally. From a totally different end of the spectrum, I did like the way that Dash’s character was still somewhat honorable regardless of his upbringing. For a street kid, it was nice to see that he made a way for himself, and still wanted to fight for the lower class, even after the automatons took all of their jobs.
The mystery element surrounding the Southwark Slasher was great, and I was actually surprised with how it ended up playing out. I was glad to see it resolved the way it was. It gave the plot a “real” element to me, and proved that nothing as is it seems, even in this crazy alternate past.
All in all, I give Like Clockwork 2.5 out of 5 mysterious automatons.