The Clockwork Wolf
Author: Lynn Viehl
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
Welcome to the utterly fascinating and fantastic world of Disenchanted & Co. Ms. Viehl’s series is set in an alternate timeline world where the colonies did not win the Revolutionary War and are now the Provincial Union of Victoria. Times are hard, and society supports a wealthy class, a working class, and a group of undesirables. Native Americans have some rights, but are still looked down upon as native heathens. Women – especially ones like Kit who are trying to make it on their own – are on the lowest rung of society.
The Clockwork Wolf opens sometime after the events of the previous story, with Kit having “just another day” running her company, Disenchanted & Co. She is considered the top dispeller of magic, albeit evil by some, even though until very recently she did not even believe in magic. Kit is propositioned by Lord Dredmore to do some sensitive investigative work for one of his clients, the very wealthy Lady Eugenia Bestly. Lord Bestly recently transformed into a wolfman, and after murdering innocents, dies a gruesome death. Since he isn’t the only man to suffer this fate, it’s up to Kit to find out why.
While I feel one could enjoy The Clockwork Wolf as a stand alone, I do not recommend it. Although the author does a great job filling in what occurred in the prior book during various conversations, the world-building, which is accomplished in the first book Disenchanted & Co., is an integral part of the story and series. Reading both books creates a much richer experience. In addition, Ms. Viehl is one of the best storytellers around, and the first book is worth the read on its own merits. Just be warned that this review does contain spoilers from the first book.
Kit Kittredge is one of my favorite heroines. She is smart and extremely clever, all during a period when proper women shouldn’t be. Kit’s witty humor within the pages of this book made me smile on several occasions. Kit is also stubborn, giving her the edge when standing toe-to-toe with men who would crush her. She is fiercely loyal, surrounding herself with friends that share the same characteristics. Yet she is calm and kind, even in the face of ridicule. Also, having recently discovered that she is descended from an ancient race of immortal beings, and her grandfather is Merlin himself, Kit is learning to accept the magic around her and how to hone her own latent skills. This adds complexity to her already dynamic character. All of these traits combine to create a charismatic heroine whom I adore and enjoy.
Although I wouldn’t classify this story as a romance novel, there is a touch of eros woven throughout the story, creating a well-rounded and balanced tale. Unfortunately, due to a time-travel incident in the first book, Lord Lucien Dredmore does not recall the bonds he formed with Kit, yet he feels in his heart they share a past. As someone privy to this knowledge, my heart ached for the loss of what the pair once shared. However, Ms. Viehl expertly weaves in the romance, creating an undeniable chemistry between the twosome.
It is evident that the intricacies of the overall plot were well thought-out, with each scene contributing to the whole. Trying to solve the mysteries surrounding the wolfmen from beginning to end created an engaging and engrossing story. The supporting characters each add to the richness of the story; creating interesting tales in and among themselves, but also affording Kit the opportunity to shine as a heroine. I have quickly come to care about each of the characters. I dare say this book is a near perfect read.
I only had a couple of very minor issues with the book; for example, there seem to be a few inconsistencies with who knows what about Kit’s true nature and the alternate past before time travel. My biggest issue with the story is that Ms. Viehl employs a “plot device” that I really do not like in stories (sorry, not going to say what so that I don’t give away anything). But as a testament to her mad storytelling skills, I was able to put aside my concern rather swiftly and even come around to almost appreciate what she did. This also happened in the first book. I hate using time-travel to repair and make right the direction of a story. Yet, I found that I adored Disenchanted & Co. despite my misgivings with time-travel. Ms. Viehl is just that good.
In the end, I consumed The Clockwork Wolf with a fierceness. I enjoyed all of its ups and downs, twists and turns. I found the substantial forward progress with regards to Kit’s character and her place in society completely rewarding. The plot itself was engrossing and the conclusion satisfying, even though there are some significant questions left unanswered. Kit and Dredmore’s romance, while not the focus of the story, added heart and created a deeper emotional tie to the characters. The ending left me craving the next story and dying to know what is up next for Kit and the gang.
As the proprietor of Disenchanted & Co. in a steampunk version of America, Charmian “Kit” Kittredge makes her living solving magical crimes. But when a snobbish lady begs for help, saving her reputation might very well cost Kit her life.
Doing a favor for deathmage Lucien Dredmore, Kit agrees to interview a newly widowed lady as a potential client. Upon meeting, however, she learns that the woman in question is none other than Lady Eugenia Bestly, president of the Rumsen Ladies Decency Society—someone who once led a vicious campaign to ruin Kit’s life. Ironically Lady Bestly now lives in fear herself, for the press is about to unmask her husband as the savage “Wolfman” who died while terrorizing the city.
As monstrous rampages continue to occur, Kit soon determines there is more than one Wolfman, and that they may themselves be victims of evil players. While avoiding both mechanized assassins and attempts by Dredmore and Chief Inspector Tom Doyle to take her under their protection, Kit follows a tangled path that leads from a prestigious gentlemen’s club fronting a hellish secret to a vengeful native tribe and dangerous, ancient magics.(
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series: Disenchanted & Co. #2
Genre: Alternate Timeline, Steampunk, Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (352 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher, Author
The Clockwork Wolf (Disenchanted & Co. #2)