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Clementine Hardcover – July 30, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Piracy meets politics head-on in this steampunk thriller, loosely linked to Priest's much-lauded Boneshaker (2009). Maria Isabella Boyd, a notorious former actress and Confederate spy, is on her first mission for the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. The airship Clementine must deliver its cargo unimpeded, but its former owner, escaped slave–turned–air pirate Croggon Hainey, is determined to recover the ship he stole fair and square. A simple pursuit quickly evolves, and soon Maria and Croggon are forced to fight on the same side. Explosive battle scenes, riveting action, and a sharp-eyed examination of the mistrust between Croggon's all-black crew and very white, very Southern Maria play out in a desperate race against the clock. Though the unflinching portrayal of complex race relations is aimed at adult readers, Priest's swashbuckling tale is also quite accessible for older teens. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean; Deluxe Hardcover Edition edition (July 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596063084
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596063082
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By The Mad Hatter VINE VOICE on August 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Cherie Priest's second long-form entry Clementine in The Clockwork Century world follows a side story from the Hugo nominated Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books), which just happens to be one of my favorite reads from last year. Having read Boneshaker isn't necessary to enjoy Clementine, but it does add to some of the references made.

The story flips between two perspectives which are both uniquely idiosyncratic and well developed in their own right. The stars are airship captain and escaped slave Croggon Hainey and former confederate spy and patriot Maria "Belle" Boyd. Both are something of a living legend or menace in this world depending on what side of the fence your are viewing from. Neither take crap from anyone.

Croggin is chasing after his airship the Free Crow, which was nefariously stolen from him in Seattle. Belle is sent to ensure the Free Crow reaches its destination without Croggin's interference. Belle is actually based on a true person of the same name who acted as a spy for the Confederate army. Priest builds on her history to create a very determined and dangerous character very much true to life. Clementine's greatest strength is the dialog of the main characters. Each has their own style that colors the characters perfectly.

Clementine is a much more subtle story than Boneshaker, but it is no less enthralling as every chapter moves at a brisk pace. Airship fights, spies, thieves, and giant guns all make Clementine a seriously steam-powered wild ride through the sky, which showcases a larger part of Priest's Clockwork Century fractured North America.
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Clementine is a short novel that takes place in Priest's Clockwork Century universe. Since these are all more shared worlds novels than continuing storylines, it is not necessary to have read the other novels in order to understand Clementine. That being said, the world building of the other novels does add to the enjoyment of this one.

Clementine is a lean, mean adventure novel. While there is a small supporting cast, Priest focuses on two main characters. Pirate Croggon Hainey is determined to get his airship back. He's willing to undertake a violent cross-country chase if that's what it takes. Belle Boyd, former Confederate spy turned Pinkerton agent, is assigned to stop him and make sure that the ship's cargo arrives in Kentucky.

Priest's narrow focus means that the short length of this novel does not work to its detriment. She develops the two protagonists and has plenty of room for their fast paced adventures. The plot moves swiftly, & is surprisingly compelling given its simplicity.

While not as significant as Priest's other Clockwork Century novels, Clementine is an entertaining read and adds more depth & texture to the world she has created.
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A cinematic, concise, and highly enjoyable story. I'd have liked to get to know both of the dual protagonists a little better simply because they're both pretty awesome characters, though one ultimately has motivations that seem a little more sympathetic than the other due to the nature of the American Civil War.

Although this can more or less be read as a standalone, it was nice to see mentions of characters and events from the other two "Clockwork Century" titles that I've read so far, and I'm sure there will be similar tie-ins in the remaining installments. I would love to see Priest's "Clockwork Century" on the big screen someday, and Clementine would probably be a great jumping-off point.
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This booj is labeled "A Novel of the Clockwork Centrury." There is, however, no Novel here. There is a succession of scenes of pointless violence -- anonymous bystanders mowed down with big guns -- mixed with stilted dialogue. Nor is any of it novel. Nor is there, just to be bitter about it, any Clockwork involved :)
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Hainey, a free slave in this alternate version of the late 1800's where the Civil War has dragged out nearly two decades, has a brief but memorable part in Boneshaker. Enough so that I was very much looking forward to reading the story of his stolen ship treated in this sequel. Boneshaker paints him and his zeppelin flying cohorts in the Han Solo, neutral pirate/smuggler vein of character, but what we get here is a little different, and ultimately unsatisfying.

From the start, when Maria is introduced as the Pinkerton detective assigned to reel him in, it is made clear that Hainey has done some bad things to earn his reputation - bad enough that Maria's orders are clear, she may slay him or capture him and return him to the South, whatever she wishes so long as he doesn't get back his stolen ship. These two characters are what the story revolves around, and halfway through they fall flat.

*** SPOILERS ***
Hainey's fall from the reader's grace occurs when he mows down in cold blood a crowd of dockyard workers, men whom are only trying to prevent his crew's theft of a docked zeppelin. He doesn't fire at their feet or scare them into submission, any of the usual tropes we normally indulge an author. It is really hard to sympathize with this character after that point - there's a fine line between Han Solo mowing down Imperials, and a man mowing down innocent dockhands. There is a similar killing of an innocent Chinaman in Boneshaker, and Priest handles that scene and its aftermath very well. She makes it a very revealing moment for both characters involved. Priest breezes past Hainey's murders under the guise of self/crew-defense, and it is simply not consistent with the character we had seen or hoped for up to that point - there is no regret or guilt felt.
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