Review: His Clockwork Canary by Beth Ciotta

Posted June 21, 2013 by Una in 4 stars, Rating A, Romance, Steampunk Fiction Tags: , , ,

His Clockwork Canary
Author: Beth Ciotta 
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Signet
The Glorious Victorious 
   Darcys #2
ISBN: #978-0451239990
Genre: Steampunk (Paranormal Romance)
Format(s): Paperback (352 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
History is repeating itself.
For ambitious engineer Simon Darcy, winning Queen Victoria’s competition to recover lost inventions of historical significance is a matter of pride—and redemption. After all, it was Simon’s failed monorail project that left his family destitute, and winning the tournament would surely restore the Darcys’ reputation.
Simon sets his sights high, targeting no less than the infamous time-travel device that forever changed the world by transporting scientists, engineers, and artists from the twentieth century. The Mod technology was banned and supposedly destroyed, but Simon is sure he can re-create it.
His daring plan draws the attention of Willie G., the Clockwork Canary, London’s sensationalist reporter. Simon soon discovers that Willie is a male guise for Wilhemina Goodenough, the love of his youth, who left him jilted and bitter. He questions her motives even as he falls prey to her unique charm. As the attraction between the two reignites, Simon realizes that this vixen from his past has secrets that could be the key to his future…as long as he can put their history behind him.
What Una is talking about:
I have found that I love steampunk romance – that glorious mix of historical and science fiction all tied up with romance.  It’s great escapism.  Speaking of great escapism, the second novel in The Glorious Victorious Darcys is out!  His Clockwork Canary is an exciting and passionate sequel to Her Sky Cowboy, leaving me salivating for the next book.
This second novel begins where the previous novel began, the death of Reginald Darcy.  Unlike the first book that follows the path of Amelia, His Clockwork Canary follows Simon on his pursuit of the Triple R Tourney prize.  What continues to be fascinating about this world is the blend of decades it represents.  We get more of it in this novel than the previous.  
The steampunk elements are related to a time machine that Briscoe Darcy created that sent him (during a world’s fair demonstration) to 1969.  When the device returned, it was with the Peace Rebels – people from 1969 looking to stop the wars and devastation of the time by going back and urging the world towards peace.  They had hoped to bypass those atrocities in our world’s history that took place after.  However…things did not go as planned.  Now this Victorian era has modern conveniences, some altered to work in this time period and Freaks.  Freaks are those children who are the result of a Mod (a person from 1969) and a Vic (a person from the Victorian era).  They are easily distinguishable by their rainbow sparkling eyes and they have a special ability (or more).  Due to this, there are Old Worlders – those who wish to retain the Victorian era, and New Worlders – those who wish to embrace the new.  In those two groups you also have the Flatlines – those that want to capitalized on the modern world and dominate.  Not only does the Victorian era still have its social stratification, but now Freaks and Vics are forbidden to marry.
As the novel unfolds, we discover that Simon is feeling guilt-stricken by the situation the family finds itself in after his father’s death.  Simon feels responsible for his family being near destitute and the fact that he was not assisting his father in his experiments.  Simon has strived to make his mark on the world bringing pride to his parents and a little glory to himself.  It’s tough growing up in the shadow of Briscoe Darcy, his cousin responsible for creating a time machine.  Not to mention, Simon feels as if he is a shadow to his twin brother Jules, a war hero.  Simon is compelled to win this competition as a means to alleviate his guilt and gain a little pride and glory back for his family and himself.
The notorious Clockwork Canary is Willie G.  He is widely known for the titillating tabloid articles and being able to ferret out information.  However, Willie hides a few deep secrets, one of which is that he is really a she.  Even though this is a time period in flux, it is still restricting to women – meaning Willie would not have this job if she was a woman, and hence her deception.  She works to keep her father afloat because ever since her mother was killed, her father has not been mentally stable.  To complicate matters, she is estranged from her brother, Westley, who has taken off and cut ties with her and her father.  Another secret Willie keeps is her connection to Simon.  We discover that someone knows all of Willie’s secrets and uses those secrets to blackmail her into shadowing Simon on his quest.  Once he finds something of merit for the Triple R Tourney, she is to contact the blackmailer at once so he can obtain it.  
As His Clockwork Canary progresses, there is an undeniable connection between Simon and Willie – but they are both nursing their hurts and guilt from their own issues.  However, watching them overcome these different obstacles was heartwarming.  Just when you think they are past the point of no return, they come together again.  There are a few cliffhanger moments that make this novel a nail bitter to the end.  It was difficult to put down.
I will admit I felt that the sibling rivalry was not as noticeable or severe as it was built up to be.  There is great love and affection between Jules and Simon, making it difficult to surmise he would feel a sense of lack as compared to his brother.  It never seemed to come across that strongly – this deep rooted sibling rivalry.  Part of me is pleased by it since I felt it was not necessary to the story.  Also, I really liked Simon and just didn’t see the rivalry in his character.  One thing I had hoped to be explained was the emotional connection or tie that existed between Simon and his brother because I felt he had that same emotional connection with Willie.  I loved it, as it enhanced the rightness of their relationship, but I did wonder how that was possible.  
All in all though, I really enjoyed His Clockwork Canary.  Being able to see Amelia and Tucker was the icing on the cake.  While researching for this review, I discovered a 1.5 novella, His Broken Angel, which I will be picking up.  I have my suspicions on who it is focused on (I am so excited) which is why I am eager to get it downloaded to my Kindle.  If you are looking for some fun, a bit fluffy, but exciting steampunk – pick up The Glorious Victorious Darcys.  However, I really recommend you start with Her Sky Cowboy, it’s just as fabulous.
Unas Rating:
Enjoyed – Strongly Recommend (A-)

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