Title: Clockwork Tangerine
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 90 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: The British Empire reigns supreme, and its young Queen Victoria has expanded her realm to St. Francisco, a bustling city of English lords and Chinese ghettos. St. Francisco is a jewel in the Empire’s crown and as deeply embroiled in the conflict between the Arcane and Science as its sister city, London—a very dark and dangerous battle.
Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, stumbles upon that darkness when he encounters a pack of young bloods beating a man senseless. Westwood’s duty and honor demand he save the man, but he’s taken aback to discover the man is Robin Harris, a handsome young inventor indirectly responsible for the death of Marcus’s father.
Living in the shadows following a failed coup, Robin devotes his life to easing others’ pain, even though his creations are considered mechanical abominations of magicks and science. Branded a deviant and a murderer, Robin expects the viscount to run as far as he can—and is amazed when Marcus reaches for him instead.
Review: Steampunk is a difficult genre to write, to write well, to write brilliantly. Rhys Ford shows us how it’s done with this story. It’s a short novella only 90 pages, but so beautifully crafted it feels like more.
The world was intense and complex. From the first moment you are drawn in to this alternate England. The streets are still dirty, the classes complex, the social justice issues difficult, but there is beautiful machinery, rebellion, scandal, and a man who needs an avenger. A friend.
Marcus was always raised to fight for those who couldn’t. To be a champion for the downtrodden, when he came across a man being beaten, he did what he knew was right and put a stop to it. Then reality came and he learned who this man was. He fought his own prejudices and assumptions and still came to his aid. He is so honorable and steadfast. I loved that he made a decision and despite the consequences, he moved forward.
Robin was broken. Physically he was wounded. Emotionally he is battered. His heart for the those who cannot help themselves was the only thing keeping him going. Then he is rescued and befriended. He doesn’t believe his luck. Marcus is so beautiful, kind, pushy, and wonderful.
Their friendship and respect made this book. It really was a story of two men learning to love each other. Taking the time to truly find out what makes the other tick.
There aren’t enough words to express how much I loved this book. If you are a steampunk fan this is a must read. If you have never tried steampunk and are looking for complex characters with an interesting world, this needs to be on the top of your tbr list.
Even now as I write this my mind is wandering back to the world, to the streets, to the townhouse, to Marcus and Robin. A fantastic read.
Reviewed by Beans