- File Size: 828 KB
- Print Length: 211 pages
- Publisher: InterMix (December 1, 2015)
- Publication Date: December 1, 2015
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00TY3ZKW2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #413,846 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price set by seller.
Clockwork Samurai (Gunpowder Chronicles) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Clockwork Samurai picks up soon after Gunpowder Alchemy, with our heroes from Gunpowder Alchemy, Jin Soling and Chen Chang-wei, now at work in the Imperial Palace in the Forbidden City, Soling as an Imperial physician and Chang-wei as a senior engineer in the Ministry of Engineering. An audacious plan to seek a Japanese alliance against the British, who are rotting China from within with opium, tainted and otherwise, is ordered into action by the new Emperor. Soling and Chang-wei are dispatched to Japan, an island nation closed against all foreigners for over two centuries. Action, intrigue, reunions and shifting alliances ensue.
Ninjas! Clockwork Samurai! Dragon airships! And mechanical Chinese herb mixing machines and other delightful Asian-inflected steampunk elements enliven the mix. I don’t want to give the plot away except to notice that there is a great deal of tromping around in the Japanese countryside suffering rather frequent attacks by assassins in well-written bouts of action that reminds me oddly enough of the second book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy where Merry and Pippin as Team A and Frodo and Sam as Team B spend much of the book tramping here and there to get to various places under rather frequent attack by orcs and other disagreeables, an shortcoming remedied in the Two Towers film version by spending the film time on less tramping and one big hellacious siege battle. I kind of got to the end of the book still looking for the climactic “boss fight” after all the tramping. I felt like a lot was set up, whether it be the danger of the tainted opium, the position of the Japanese Shogunate on foreign politics, the position of the Chinese empire, but that the story didn’t quite push any of these elements as far as they could have been pushed or get to resolution or payoff on any of them. I found this underdevelopment by a terrific writer a crime of omission in what is otherwise a great read.
For it is a great read, my quibbles aside, and head and shoulders above much else that is available in the steampunk genre world, well-written in graceful yet concrete prose. For Lin’s adventure yarn also brings in wonderful elements of romance in the slow-simmering and very Chinese romance brewing over two books between Soling and Chang-wei, the backdrop of the urgent and tumultuous struggle for survival between the great Far Eastern powers and the rising Western Powers that marked the mid-19th century, and a growing flock of well-drawn characters in what is fast-becoming an epic scale world. Lin’s characters are individual and unique, reflecting their Chinese status-conscious culture here, or their Japanese dedication to honor and duty there.
The romance element is strong, befitting Lin’s background in historical romance. While I do suspect Lin came up with more excuses for Soling and Chang-wei to be thrown together in private with Chang-wei’s shirt off to reveal nicely muscled masculine flesh so Soling can play doctor on him than were absolutely necessary for plot requirements, the occasional fiery chance touches and shivers and moments of snuggling were welcome and let the Western reader accustomed to more sexual action understand that these two are in to each other even if they spend most of their time stoically ignoring each other. Lin’s grasp of the period history and culture is strong and sure, and her tale provides a great introduction to the non-Asia expert on the period and place where she has set her story.
I look forward to seeing Soling and Chang-wei continue their romance and their careers under the capricious new Emperor, and hope they are able to forge the alliance with Japan that they seek with their new friends and…no, I shan’t give it away. Suffice it to say that the new allies and technologies they found in Japan set up many new exciting possibilities for the next installments in the Gunpowder Chronicles. I look forward to reading more from Jeannie Lin. I recommend the book to action-adventure fans, historical romance fans, steampunk fans looking for something outside Victorian England and the American Wild West and anyone who enjoys a well-written yarn.
Set one year after their adventure among the rebels, Soling and Chang-wei are off on a new quest, looking to make an alliance with the Japanese Shogunate to combat the threats from rebels and foreign aggressors. But things are not that simple, the Shogunate are hostile and the Imperial government of China will disavow any knowledge of their secret mission. Along the way, our narrator and her former intended meet smugglers, Samurai, Ronin, assassins and encounter friends, old and new. The karakuri automatons from the short story The Warlord and The Nightingale as well as a certain scientist turned pirate from Gunpowder Alchemy make an appearance. The romance element continues at a slow but endearing pace.
Jeannie Lin's steampunk China and Japan are quickly becoming favorites of mine. The inclusion of gunpowder, Eastern medicine, and now electricity lend additional interest. And the ending of this story left me very satisfied and, at the same time, wishing I already had the next book.
Definitely read these in order, and I suggest starting with The Warlord and The Nightingale which is available as an ebook either as a stand-alone short story or as one of 11 "fairy tale inspired romances" in the Once Upon A Fairy Tale collection (with various levels of adult content).
This review refers to a review ebook I read courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I rarely purchase copies of the books I read in this way, but bought an ebook of Clockwork Samurai the day it was published.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jin Soling is living as the healer assigned to the Emperor's concubines until she is summoned by the Emperor, himself.Read more
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