It probably shouldn’t be odd after reading so many epic fantasies that are hundreds and thousands of pages long and spanning multiple books that a book just less than 250 pages long would be considered short. But there it is, Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson is a short read. Yeah I know Clockwork Angel was in collaboration with Rush drummer Neil Peart and based on the album with the same title, but quite honestly I don’t care. This review is based on the book itself and nothing else.
Owen is a teenage boy from a small village hardly worth mentioning. His life and the life of everyone else on the continent is governed by a set of precise formulas regulated by clocks that always show the exact time. The Watchmaker is the master mind behind the perfectly harmonious world and is worshiped like a god. Because let’s face it, before the Watchmaker brought Stability to the world 200 years ago, it was simply too chaotic for anyone to live.
Through an impulsive act Owen leaves his small village and goes to the big city of Crown City. There he learns just how mundane his life was back in the village. Though there are more sites and wonders in the big city, Owen quickly learns that these people are no more free to make decisions than he was back home. Each person has a very specific task they are assigned to and any deviation threatens to make the whole contraption stop working, like gears in a clock.
As I was taking notes while reading in preparation for this review, I was prepared to say that Clockwork Angels has the ability to survive the test of time much like George Orwell’s 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 has.
………..And then I read the 2nd half of the book.
The first half of the book was Owen trying to decide whether the Watchmaker’s authority was better than the Anarchist’s way. It was a classic struggle between the little guy trying to fight against big brother and figuring out whether people actually want free will.
…………..And then the 2nd half of the book completely changed the whole tone and story. Suddenly there were other worlds that needed to be explored. The major players from the first half, the Watchmaker and the Anarchist never even showed up in the 2nd half except for some silly fight they have at the end.
It took me about 3 hours to read the first half of the book then about a week and a half to read the second half. The 2nd half was painfully bad.
Definitely a must not read.