A Clockwork Army by Quinn Langston

A Clockwork Army by Quinn Langston
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Historical
Length: Short Story (82 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

“An army of automatons controlled by a vampire! ”

Colonel Julian Hawthorne has set in motion a maniacal plan to rule the world with a clockwork army of human automatons. And as a vampire, he has the wealth and all the time in the world to achieve his mad goal.

Lord Sebastian Hawthorne is equally determined to stop his brother in his tracks. Sebastian has never forgiven Julian for making him a vampire. But unlike Julian, Sebastian sees humans as more than cattle to be dominated and bled dry. With the help of Theodosia Ambrose, clockwork expert, he vows to thwart his brother s plans at any cost. Even his own immortal life.

Being a vampire doesn’t mean Sebastian can do anything he wants to do. Unfortunately his brother hasn’t figured that out yet, and unless something happens soon Julian might not get another chance to learn that lesson.

One of my favorite things about vampire literature is figuring out what rules govern them in each universe. Every author chooses a unique set of abilities and limitations for their vampires, and this book’s interpretation of it snagged my attention immediately. It was very helpful to know what to expect from them so early on in the plot as some of the author’s rules are quite different from other vampire stories I’ve read.

I would have liked to see more time spent developing the personalities of the main characters. There were a few times in which certain individuals make choices that seem out of character for them based what I learned about them earlier. With more information I would have had an easier time determining if these decisions were meant to illuminate parts of their personalities that had previously been unexamined or if they were actually inconsistencies. I had some trouble connecting to the characters as they were written due to this confusion.

The horror genre is strongly represented in this book, and some of the most frightening scenes are fairly graphic. They work well within the plot, though, and even manage to tie together some of the most easily recognizable tropes from science fiction, horror, and steampunk. What surprised me the most was where Ms. Langston deviates from what I expected to happen. Her creative approach to all three genres made my first introduction to her work memorable, and I’m looking forward to reading more from her soon.

A Clockwork Army is a good introduction to steampunk. I would especially recommend this novella to anyone who is curious about this sub-genre but has yet to give it a try!

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