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Clockwork Angels Hardcover – September 1, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 311 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Now here’s a high-concept idea: a novel based on the new album by Rush, the popular rock band. Writer Anderson and Peart, Rush’s drummer and lyricist, have been friends for more than two decades. Anderson takes the themes of Rush’s songs and turns them into a very entertaining, elegantly written story of a boy on the cusp of manhood, living in a seemingly perfect society (thanks to “our loving Watchmaker,” who controls, well, everything). The boy discovers that some dark truths lurk just beneath his world’s perfect surface. Firmly planted in the steampunk subgenre, the book tells an epic-scale story, following young Owen Hardy as he leaves the village of his birth, travels to the legendary Crown City, and gets caught up in an adventure that shows him a world he never knew existed. Syme, who’s designed album covers for many bands, including Rush, contributes several beautiful illustrations that capture the dark undercurrent of Anderson’s story. This is a fine piece of dystopian fiction, and it will appeal to readers young and old. --David Pitt


"A stunning steampunk adventure." —Sci Fi magazine (September 2012)

"A very entertaining, elegantly written story." —www.BooklistOnline.com

"Nostalgic, weird and wonderful." —The Globe and Mail (November 2012)

"A thoroughly entertaining read. . . . The physical book is beautiful, inviting, and the perfect vessel for the story it contains." —www.PopMatters.com

"A mesmerizing spectacle of science fiction literature." —www.cbgxtra.com

"Dazzling locales, memorable characters and high adventure that will make you think long after you're done. What more can you ask from a book?" —www.SciFiPulse.net

"A grand adventure tale woven with threads of various themes enough to keep it fresh, exciting and engaging." —www.BookReporter.com

"Part pure adventure and part classical myth, the Anderson-Peart story is a fairy tale in the best sense of the word, Tolkienian and Chestertonian." —www.CatholicWorldReport.com
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 315 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770411216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770411210
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (311 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark on September 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Owen Hardy, an apple farmer and the novel's hero, sets out on his journey to explore the opposite viewpoints of ultimate control and order (represented by The Watchmaker) and extreme chaos (represented by The Anarchist). The story is told at the end of his life's adventure, and we see his move from innocence (and unabashed optimism) to experience.

As a stand-alone fantasy/steam-punk novel this book stands alone as an excellent example of Anderson's fine storytelling skills. But it also represents, for the Rush fan, multiple complex layers with which to enjoy the novel. The most obvious is the tie-in with the Rush album of the same name. Anderson and Rush lyricist/drummer Neil Peart, collaborated on the story. Through the music and Peart's lyrics, a story is told throughout the album. Anderson's novel explores that story in prose format, adding a wonderful and complex mosaic between the music and the written text of the story. For me, listening to the album again from beginning to end in a single sitting after reading the novel was an almost magic experience. Each of the two blend wonderfully together producing a unique multidimensional listening/reading experience. The music and prose co-exist and add more than the sum of their parts to the whole of the "Clockwork Angels" experience.

I should pause to refer to the print book itself. Illustrated by Hugh Syme, the hardcover book is a magnificent work of art. The book's artwork, layout and design is top-notch, with no detail left unfulfilled. Huge kudos should be extended to Canadian publisher ECW Press not only for putting this together, but for keeping the price at a virtual steal. One would easily expect to pay $45 for such an incredibly developed book -- but the hardcover book retails for a mere $24.95 US / $26.
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Format: Hardcover
I was very excited to get an early copy and read it over the course of a few plane flights last week. Clockwork Angels: The Album is the best work by Rush in a long time and I was eager to see how it translated into a novel.

Unfortunately it's a mixed bag. The book's weakness, and why I have a hard time giving it more than 3-stars, is the writing (and therefore reading) gets somewhat awkward when the book stays too close to the lyrics, in some cases even working the lyrics into actual dialogue. A line like "I can't stop thinking big" is a great lyric, it conveys a rather complex concept in a single, simple phrase. As a line of spoken dialogue it ends up sounding very forced, as if the author had to fulfill a requirement to make the words fit into the story. There were a couple of places where this approach worked, but most of the time the book suffers from too literal a translation from the album lyrics. The author also mixes in older Peart lyrics to the story with mixed success, but it was fun identifying them and figuring out what song they were from!

It's interesting to see some of the ideas from the songs come to life with expanded detail and following Owen on his journey was enjoyable. There are some interesting characters that are introduced along the way, and for me the book is at it's best when it gets away from the detail that was presented in the original lyrics. I wish they had gone farther in flushing out these characters and story lines. In the end (ha!) I think the book would have been stronger if the author had taken Peart's concept and run with it instead of trying so hard to make the lyrics literally come to life.
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Format: Hardcover
This really is one single project presented in two different mediums. That being said the individual works stand on their own. Just as each song on the album stands on its own but combines to form a more complex concept, the novel stands on its own but when combined with the music the sum is greater than its parts. A person not knowing anything about the album what so ever could easily pick up this novel and enjoy the story without missing any critical elements or details. Just the same a person could easily enjoy the album of music without having ever read the novel. However, in my opinion the real magic happens when combining these elements together to grasp the entire depth, breadth and context of the story.

Clockwork Angels: The Novel is set in a "Steampunk" inspired dystopian world devised in the joint imaginations of Anderson and Peart. Steam power energized by cold-fire animates gear driven machinery in a future world as seen through the eyes of a past Victorian styled world filled with quirky Carnies, iridescent Clockwork Angels, rigid Watchmakers, devilish Anarchists and free-spirited Pirates. Our hero, Owen Hardy lives a pleasant yet structured life in a small town tending the family apple orchard. He has bigger dreams and an optimistic but obedient outlook. He fantasizes about what adventures might lay outside his serene but lackluster village. He yearns to visit Crown City where The Watchmaker holds reign over the world of Albion with a down to the second control of all aspects of daily life. Owen impetuously hops aboard a passing "Steamliner" chugging towards the city. This is where the adventures begin.

There are a number of different angles to this story.
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