The Co-Walkers Awakening by Hermine G Steinberg

The Co-Walkers Awakening by Hermine G Steinberg
Publisher: Prizm Books
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (233 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Could life get any worse for Ashley, Brian, and Matthew? Their father abandoned them, they’ve been shipped off to live with a total stranger, and now they’ve discovered that everything they’ve ever learned about the world is a lie! But to find the truth, they will have to battle evil faeries, risk their lives to claim magical talismans, and earn the respect of Elves who have vowed to kill them. Will they be able to prove that they are the legendary Co-Walkers who are able to travel between the Earthly and Faery Realms? Or are they merely pawns caught in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy that could lead to the destruction of both their worlds? It’s up to Ashley, Brian, and Matthew to discover their unique abilities and restore what magick alone cannot repair.

Deserted by their father at an early age Ashley, Brian and Matthew watch their mother fades away to nothing. When she dies they are devastated, but their father’s sister offers them a home in the country town of Watkin’s Glen . None of them want to go. Where has this aunt been all their lives? They don’t want to leave the comfort of the only place they’ve ever known.

Aunt Elvira is not sure how much of the past she should tell them, but eventually they discover their father is one of the Fey of the Otherworlds and Elvira introduces them to their heritage. They are the result of human and fey and as the Children of the Prophecy they must take the great Journey of Achtain to Tara on the eve of Samhain.

This is a pleasant story if a little confusing at times. There are so many characters, both good and bad, I found it difficult to keep track. Ashley is portrayed as level headed, but she does some silly things, whereas Matthew is a dreamer, but also a very intelligent boy. The warmth of Elvira and her home comes through beautifully and gives the story a lovely cosy feeling.

The idea of the book is excellent, three human half breeds who need to make a special journey to save their world and the Fey worlds. On the whole very good, but a few less characters would have made it less confusing. Their discovery of what happened to their father was great, but could have been developed a little more.

I believe this is the first of a series, as their destiny had not been fulfilled by the end of the book. Would be a good series to follow.

Beauty and the Curse by Cathy Tully and KM Fawcett

Beauty and the Curse by Cathy Tully and KM Fawcett
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (75 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Cursed by a jealous witch, wealthy recluse Anabel Charming is destined to grow uglier with each passing year. Only by having sex before her twenty-first birthday can this virgin’s spell be broken. Yet no man will agree to sleep with the humpbacked, pockmarked, one-leg-shorter-than-the-other “Freak of Park Avenue.”

When handsome Chase Singleton shows up on a quest to retrieve his grandmother’s long-lost talisman, which Anabel now possesses, Anabel is willing to give up the jewel…if Chase agrees to break her curse. With two days left before her chance at a normal life is lost forever, Anabel and Chase discover the reality of beauty, the power of sexual healing, and the meaning of love.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that sentiment doesn’t work so well for a woman who loses self-confidence every time she develops another disability or disfigurement.

It was interesting to see how the relationship between Chase and Anabel slowly develops. Their lives are so completely different from one another that at first I couldn’t imagine them being friends, much less anything more serious than that. The authors did a great job fleshing out both of their personalities, though, and I enjoyed discovering what they do share in common.

Many of the phrases in this novella were awkward. While none of the sentences contained serious grammatical errors, their words were arranged in ways that sounded odd when I read certain sections out loud. I was never quite sure if they were intentionally worded this way in order to mimic traditional fairy tales speech patterns or if the text would have benefitted from another round of editing before it was published.

By far my favorite character in this story was Chase’s grandmother. Her wry approach to the reality of living in a world full of magic injects much-needed humour into the plot, and her warm, loving relationship with her grandson reveals the tender side of both of their personalities. If the authors ever decide to write a sequel to this novella, I would be quite interested in hearing more about this universe from this character’s perspective. She’s experienced quite a bit in her long life and I get the impression that she has a lot to say about it.

I’d recommend Beauty and the Curse to anyone who loves modern-day fairy tales or a heavy dose of whimsy. There is plenty of both to be found between these pages.

Zylan’s Messengers by Sid Goodman

Zylan’s Messengers by Sid Goodman
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Historical
Length: Full Length (300 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Not your run-of-the-mill sci-fi novel.

Three civilizations separated by billions of years in time and millions of light years in distance, come to life as their disparate histories converge to help the human race survive in 2408, when all of their bad decisions come back to haunt them.

Ecological disasters, resource depletion and pollution have finally overcome technology’s ability to cope, as a last minute technological reprieve is offered from one of the alien races … but with a cost.

Zylan’s Messengers reveals how one alien race was the proximate cause of the most destructive event in recorded human history; one that has never been fully explained, and how it forever altered the course of human development.

Zylan’s Messengers is a story of the human condition, and humanity’s unique ability in the animal kingdom to make conscious choices that were bad for their own survival as a species.

Science has cured many diseases and solved a lot of problems. Whether it can change the dark side human nature, though, remains to be seen.

Imagine following the development of three sentient species living on different planets over the course of millions of years. Each race has evolved unique characteristics due to the climate and natural history of their home planet, and yet all three face similar challenges based on the terrible mistakes of their ancestors. Mr. Goodman’s descriptions of these civilizations are so richly detailed that at times it almost felt as if I were reading three separate novellas. What makes this novel even more interesting, though, is how he slowly draws out the similarities among them. Not every character is necessarily likable, but their strong personalities are well suited to the plot, and I was impressed by how much attention was paid to characterization given that this is a heavily plot-centered tale.

Due to a prolonged exposition, the pacing in this book is a little uneven in the beginning. The narrator describes both well-known and somewhat obscure scientific concepts in detail in order to ensure that even people who aren’t particularly knowledgable about physics or astronomy understands why certain phenomenon take place. The pauses in the plot to describe why these things are happening are necessary and valuable, but it would have been helpful for this reader if some of these lessons had taken place a little later on instead. The beginning starts off with a fascinating series of events that I would have preferred to spend more time exploring before the lengthy scientific explanations begin.

As much fun as it is to read about otherworldly gizmos and playful descriptions of what aliens might look like, what I find most appealing about the science fiction genre is that it asks questions about ethics, morality and what our future might look like if we continue on the same path without necessarily providing clear-cut answers for any of them. This story excels at prodding the reader’s imagination and presenting old facts in new ways. If it is any indication of his writing ability I look forward to reading the author’s next book soon.

Zylan’s Messengers is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys plot-centered hard science fiction. Why not give it a try today?

The Night Man Cometh by Tony-Paul de Vissage

The Night Man Cometh by Tony-Paul de Vissage
Publisher: Class Act Books
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Action/Adventure, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (376 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

In 1249, Damien La Croix willingly choses Undeath rather than perish of the Plague. Once risen as a vampire, he takes his betrothed into the dark with him, but something goes wrong and Antoinette perishes. Thus, Damien begins a solitary walk down the corridors of time in search of Antoinette’s replacement.

Beginning with Konstancza in 15th century Romania where Damien and his garde de nuit serve Voivoide Vlad Drakula, his search extends into the far future to a fateful meeting in a snow-filled Chicago. Until then, Damien meets, loves, and loses each person he thinks may be the one to replace his Antoinette—Kate in Colonial America, who avenges herself against her rapist but prefers to hang rather than become an Undead; Bess, a 21st century Goth, wanting both an Undead lover and a living one and dying for the wrong choice; Michel, a concentration camp guard where Damien and his kind are imprisoned in the human answer to the Vampire Problem; Alyss – descendant of his beloved Konstancza –lost to a rival vampire’s seduction.

All could be his but all perish, for when the Night Man Cometh, can Death be behind…?

Two questions have been on Damian’s mind since his transformation: will I ever find a second soulmate, and is it really possible to change? Only time will tell if he figures out the answer to either of them.

Damian wasn’t exactly a saint during his short first life, and his thirst for violence only becomes more unquenchable once he begins his Undead one. His severe lack of empathy and self-awareness brings depth to his personality even if certain horrid choices make it difficult to find many positive things to say about him early on. What I found most interesting about Damian’s character development, though, was how slowly it takes place. Centuries can pass between the first glimmer of change and the next step in Damian’s evolution, but because those moments are given so much time to take hold in his mind they always felt genuine to this reader.

I would have liked to see more time spent exploring the personalities and interests of Damian’s potential life partners. Some of them are developed well enough for me to understand his attraction to them, but others were given very little time to express their unique qualities. Even love at first sight eventually needs something to back up that first flush of emotion, and this novel would have easily earned a much higher rating had I better understood why he chose some of his paramours.

From the opening scene Mr. de Vissage kept my interest piqued with strong, even pacing. By covering Damian’s journey through such an incredibly long period of time the author is able to slowly build a complex supernatural society that would have been hard to flesh out in such detail in a shorter story. I found certain subplots even more captivating than the focus of Damian’s mission because of how expertly the author weaves everything together from one millennia to the next.

As someone who has never had any exposure to the French language, it was sometimes difficult for me to determine the meanings of French words and phrases that show up routinely in the first few sections of this novel. Some of them were easy to figure out because their English equivalents were so similar to them, but certain words remained a mystery to me until the end. While I understand why the author wanted Damian to retain this part of his heritage, it would have been helpful to either have had a glossary of the terms at the beginning of the book or more context clues about their meanings embedded in the text near them.

By far my favourite part of this book involves how effortlessly the author brings back the traditional approach to vampire mythology. Damian and his associates are sexually alluring to humans, but they are also extremely dangerous, unpredictable creatures. The horror elements of this tale are ubiquitous and include the darkest themes of that genre.

I would especially recommend The Night Man Cometh to anyone who is a fan of Dracula. Even with its flaws, this is a noteworthy example of what vampire fiction can be.

Fueled by Lust: Severus by Celeste Prater

Fueled by Lust: Severus by Celeste Prater
Publisher: Siren Publishing Classic
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (263 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Verbena

Thrown together by the mating of Drusus and Avelina, Severus Faal and Cassie Wells find themselves drawn into a world of corporate espionage when Cassie catches a co-worker planting monitoring devices at her law office. Cassie’s drive to uncover the reason for the infiltration immediately engages Severus’s protective instincts to keep her safe. As they work together to solve this mystery, they begin a journey of self-discovery that raises old ghosts and salts unhealed wounds.

Since Severus refuses to wear his mating necklace, as is the custom of the Insedi male, he relies on instinct and readily dismisses signs that Cassie has triggered his mating cycle. While Cassie has a fearless outer shell, her core is full of shadows and indecision. A troubled childhood stagnates her ability to open her heart and experience a love that could span a millennium.

Book 2 in the Fueled By Lust series delivers heart-wrenching romance, intrigue, hot alpha-males, passion, and scorching, knee-wobbling sex.

Like oil and water, Severus and Cassie just don’t mix.

At least, that was Cassie’s initial thought about the six-foot tall, broad-shouldered giant standing in her doorway. She’s already dealt with far too many men eager to take charge of her life and her body. She doesn’t like being told what to do or how to do it by anyone. This includes the gorgeous eye-candy and self-proclaimed bodyguard who seems insistent in hanging around. From the get go, Severus really pushes her buttons. Yet, despite how annoying he is, she can’t help the subtle reactions her body begins to have around him. Little by little, she notices the other things about Severus that reawakens a dormant desire deep within her. All of a sudden, Cassie realizes she rather likes having a big, brawny man watching over her. His interest in her carnal needs is fine by her as well, especially when he’s so good at pleasing them.

Though he likes his women with a little more padding, Severus can’t help the instant attraction he feels for the sassy spit-fire, wagging her finger in his face without an ounce of fear or hesitation. Everything about her drives him crazy, including the way she manages to attract trouble. He doesn’t know if he should throttle or kiss her. The thought that she might be a compatible mate seems ridiculous and downright terrifying to him. He doesn’t want the heartache of losing another important woman in his life. While he has little difficulty in finding enough willing sex-partners to share his bed, he doesn’t want any of them to share his heart. Not until Cassie. Despite his attempts to thwart the growing suspicion that she just might be his perfect mate, Severus soon realizes she’s too important to him to lose.

Some things just get better and better, especially when it comes to Celeste Prater’s Fueled by Lust series. Book one was a lot of fun to read, so when I saw she’d written a second book based on a couple of characters I’d met in the first installment, I requested to read it without hesitance. From the first page, my eyeballs remained glued to my iPad, my attention totally focused on the plot unfolding before me. I literally read the entire book in one day. I just couldn’t put it down. The characters are dynamic together, the perfect blend of alpha male and sassy female. There’s so much going on that you don’t even notice the plot twist sneaking up from the sidelines. I was left with my mouth hanging open at the climax of the story. The developing relationship between Cassie and Severus, the inclusion of previous characters from book one, and the introduction of new challenges to this sexy race of he-man aliens all culminate into a fantastic tale that left me wanting more. Lo and behold, after a little snooping on the internet, I see Ms. Prater has seen fit to grace us with an upcoming book 3! So now I’m left chomping at the bit and rubbing my little paws together in eager anticipation of what I expect to be another fabulous read.

Fueled by lust: Severus, is a non-stop hoot and a hell of an exciting story. Cassie’s snarky attitude had me laughing my buns off. I fell in love with her right from the start. And Severus is just too sexy for words. He certainly caused a spike in heart rate and gave me something new to dream about. Put them together and you’ve got another fantastic story by Celeste Prater whose hunky aliens are simply out of this world. Oh, and Ms. Prater, if you need a short blonde chic who loves bulging muscles and hairy chests to play the heroine in a fourth installment, I’ll gladly take the part.

Life Eludes Him by Jen Suits

Life Eludes Him by Jen Suits
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (44 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When the desire for life and love surpasses death…

A man finds love anew when he meets a woman several hundred years later. A different time for each, both wrapped up with intrigue for one another. They develop a friendship that withstands their differences. Plagued by his past full of hurt, a local ghost haunts the rooms of a dilapidated mansion set in the recesses far from modern civilization. Plagued by the normal every day humdrum, she takes on a case to survey an old, time worn mansion. Her interest is piqued. Armed with tidbits of the building’s history, she steps over the threshold and into adventure.

One of the things that has always puzzled me about the concept of soul mates is the question of what happens to would-be couples who never end up together. Are people like this doomed to be alone forever?

Claire is an intelligent, decisive property assessor who takes her work seriously. Her no-nonsense approach to her professional life works well with the plot. I quickly grew to like her and root for her success, especially once the paranormal elements of the plot begin to become more visible.

With that being said, there were things about Claire’s personality that I never understood. Her decision-making abilities are tested early on in the plot, and she doesn’t spend much time mulling over the very real risks involved in her options. Her risk-taking tendencies seem to clash with everything else I learned about this character. It would have been helpful if both sides of her personality were given more time to complement one another.

If there’s one thing I learned from Life Eludes Him it is that one should never underestimate the longterm memory of a community. Nearly every small town has its own set of local legends. One of the pleasures of visiting a new place is listening to the locals talk about the people and places within them that outsiders have never heard of, and this book are no exception to that rule. It was quite interesting to piece together what happened in the mansion based on what the surrounding community has remembered over the years.

I also would have liked to see more time spent explaining the science fiction elements of this short story. The paranormal themes are given more than enough time to develop, but I can’t say the same thing about the science fiction themes. What I did learn about them was fascinating, and this tale would have earned a higher rating had the brief allusions to certain phenomenon been explained more thoroughly.

The mansion was described in such detail that it quickly became my favourite part of the narrative. Old, abandoned houses often feel a little melancholy to me, and this one is no exception to that rule. What made this setting even more intruding was how much it has declined since it was abandoned. Even the most beautiful property will decay if it’s not taken care of properly, sometimes to the point that it’s difficult to see potential of it behind the mildew, dust, and broken or missing elements.

Life Eludes Him is a quick, satisfying short story that is a good choice for anyone in the mood for something supernatural and lighthearted.

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, YA
Length: Full Length (373 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Alice always thought fairy tales had happy endings. That–along with everything else–changed the day she met her first fairy.

When Alice’s father goes down in a shipwreck, she is sent to live with her uncle Geryon–an uncle she’s never heard of and knows nothing about. He lives in an enormous manor with a massive library that is off-limits to Alice. But then she meets a talking cat. And even for a rule-follower, when a talking cat sneaks you into a forbidden library and introduces you to an arrogant boy who dares you to open a book, it’s hard to resist. Especially if you’re a reader to begin with. Soon Alice finds herself INSIDE the book, and the only way out is to defeat the creature imprisoned within.

It seems her uncle is more than he says he is. But then so is Alice.

When Alice’s father went down in a shipwreck, she had no idea how she was going to get along. Then she finds out she is being sent to a relative she never heard of before. Any home is better than none, she guesses. I bet if Alice knew what she was getting into she would have run away, though.

This book is the start of a new series.  This is Mr. Wexler’s first children’s book. I read a lot of middle grade/young adult fiction and was impressed with his talent for writing an interesting tale with a lot of action, danger, magic, and fantastic creatures. He melds this all together for a very enticing read and he uses the world of books for his common ground. It’s a very nice job and a very enjoyable story, with a bit of fright here and there.

Alice is impressed by the large library her Uncle has and is disappointed to hear that it’s not available to her unless she is accompanied by an adult. What’s worse than lots of new books that you can’t even read because you need company to go the library? Worse is sneaking in at night and almost losing your life…

Alice doesn’t know she’s a reader and can go inside the book. Books act as prisons for some creatures and if you happen to fall into the book, you must either conquer them or kill them. She doesn’t want to kill anyone, even if they scare her to death. She realizes they don’t have the same compunction, so she has to use her brain to try to overcome them.

The fun part for me was that once she has gotten them to submit to her, she can draw on their strength. She’ll need it for future expeditions and confrontations!

I found this one a fun read and it even has a dragon in it. No one is quite what they seem except Alice. She’s going to have a real challenge keeping up and being safe trying to live her with her Uncle. I’m already ready to read the next series of events in her life. She’s not boring.

Dragon Tempest by Don Callander

Dragon Tempest by Don Callander
Publisher: Mundania Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (182 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

What makes a Dragon Tempest?

Take one librarian named Tom from Iowa. Add one magical dragon, one beautiful princess, and one evil kidnapper named Byron Boldface.

Toss them on a tempest sea of monsters and savages. Pour over ancient maps until shipwrecked. Roast over low dragonfire. Save the girl.

(Don’t forget to wash your claws.)

Tom Whitehead still has no idea who transported him from the human world, where he was a librarian at the Library of Congress, to Carolna, a kingdom of elves. Tom is the only human in a land where magic abounds, and he has no magical abilities whatsoever. In spite of that or perhaps because of that, he manages repeatedly to save the day, with the help of Retruance Constable, a great green and gold dragon who selectes Tom to be his dragon companion. “Elves and Humans, Tom had found, were not all that different. While he had to admit there was a lot of magic in their world, the Elves tended to rely on it rather too much, to the point where they often were helpless in matters that could be solved much more easily, cheaply, and more sensibly by the use of good old Iowa-style common sense. Actually, Tom realized, his knack for common sense was as strange to the Elves as magic was to him!”

This is the third novel in the Dragon Companion series, but it works just fine as a standalone. The characters are created in great depth with very interesting quirks. I really like Tom, his wife, Manda, their best friend, Clem, and many others. But my real favorites are the dragons. Retruance is joined by a brother, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews, and his father. Each dragon is unique and together they make an impressive show. In this novel, we also make the acquaintance of a lovely sea dragon who helps Retruance and his brother Furbetrance when a volcano becomes dangerous.

The plot is filled with action and it moves along at a great speed. There are mysteries to solve and dangers to avert. Lovers of dragon stories will definitely want to add this title, and indeed the entire series, to their reading lists.

A Taste of Gold by Deryn Pittar

A Taste of Gold by Deryn Pittar
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense/Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (95 pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Psychic twins with special talents meet two thieves, two Taniwha, and one pretty reporter as they experience the adventure of a lifetime…

On a prospecting holiday, brothers Jason and Levi discover an ancient supernatural creature, a Taniwha named Otanewainuku, who gives them ‘humming stones’ in exchange for their silence about its treasure. They also cross paths with two thieves. Their supernatural abilities to find hidden gems and precious metals help them find the stolen goods and turn them in to the police—twice. But when they meet reporter Abby Hennessy, her story on their good deed attracts the wrong kind of attention.

When the thieves capture Jason to use his talents, Levi has to rely on their psychic link to guide the police while not revealing their powers. Abby wants to help, and she and Levi search for the thieves, not knowing that Jason is going to use the ‘humming stones’ to call on another Taniwha for help…

Road trips are supposed to provide a sense of adventure without actually exposing the people on them to any real harm. Unfortunately Jason and Levi’s trip isn’t exactly following that rule.

As interesting as all of the human characters are, by far my favourite character was Otanewainuku. I’d never heard any legends about the Taniwha before, and it was fascinating to imagine what it would be to meet one of them in person. They are a unique species that fit in well with the rest of the science fiction and paranormal elements of this book.

While Jason and Levi’s paranormal abilities are clearly described early on in their adventures, I would have liked to learn more about the origins of them. The handful of hints about where these powers might have come from are intriguing, but the story would have flowed more smoothly had the author taken the time to explain such an important part of their identities.

The well-paced, exciting plot made it hard for me to put this novella down. It has the kind of worldbuilding I’d expect from a full-length novel, but each chapter was so engrossing that I finished it within a few days. The plot-based narrative introduces background information as needed, and while there were times when I wished certain details were revealed a little sooner I soon learned to appreciate how the author brings up the most important facts in such a fast-paced story.

A Taste of Gold is rollicking adventure that is begging for a sequel. While I don’t know if the author is planning to revisit these characters, I highly recommend getting to know them in the meantime. This is a fun, short tale that this reader had a great time zipping through.

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!