People didn’t usually yell apologies while they were trying to kill you. It made it difficult to know how to retaliate.
The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher (a pen name of Ursula Vernon) is the second part and conclusion to Clocktaur War, the story that began in Clockwork Boys about an apparent suicide mission undertaken by a thief, a paladin, an assassin, and a scholar. If you like fantasy, like, at all, you should read these books. I’ve already stated that I’m a big fan of Ursula Vernon’s work, and this book just further reinforces that opinion. She’s great. I haven’t finished reading ALL of her stuff, but I’m going to. You should too.
It’s easier to describe Clocktaur War by what it is not rather than what it is. It is not a Tolkien clone, it is not Grimdark, and it is not a Pratchett clone. Numerous pages are not expended on past histories, languages, and genealogies. In fact, despite using settings, character archetypes, and plot elements utilized in epic fantasy, I’m not sure you can call it epic fantasy due to its length. Both of the books that comprise this series are pretty short. Unlike Grimdark novels, it does not put a dark twist on traditional fantasy tropes, replace the battle of Good vs. Evil with sympathetic characters on all sides, or present the fantastic through a lens of gritty realist. It does have recognizably human characters interacting and reacting in recognizably human ways though. And it’s not as goofy as Pratchett’s work. It is funny though, in a sarcastic, sardonic, witty, clever, brilliant way. Humor-by-way-of-wit is so rare that when I encounter it in the wild, I really don’t know what to do except jump up and down and encourage everyone else to buy and read it so that more will be produced. I like it, you see, and if more people buy it, I might get more of it.
One of the reasons I enjoyed reading Kings of the Wyld last year was that the characters of that book reminded me of old Dungeons and Dragons characters that I had and gaming sessions that I experienced. Clocktaur War has characters that I wish that I had and gaming sessions that I wish that I had experienced.
My review: 5 stars