4 Star Review for Blood and Clockwork by Katey Hawthorne #Fantasy #Ace


Title: Blood and Clockwork
Author Name & Publisher: Katey Hawthorne (Less Than Three Press)
Publication Date: March 16, 2016


Alistair Click set out to lay to rest the superstitious fears about the Mad Prince’s clockwork tower. If that meant he might bring the ghost city of Avalonia back to economic life, connecting the western kingdoms once again, so much the better. So what if no adventurer who’d entered the tower in the last century of desolation had ever re-emerged? They didn’t have his skill and wit. He could do better.

The tower turns out to be far more than Alistair expected, however. Not only are there clockwork puzzles to open every door, but one of them drops a boy from a strange world into his lap–figuratively speaking, if only just. Marco Murphy was just gaming in his New Jersey apartment, and now he’s stuck in what feels like a never ending LARP nightmare.

The deeper they delve into the Mad Prince’s tower, the darker the secrets they uncover. They’re not entirely sure they’ll ever be able to get out again, either. It’ll take all Marco’s charm and Alistair’s cleverness, plus the strange bond growing between them, to get them out together… and alive.

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I really enjoyed this story. The writing is fantastic, style-wise, and I was fascinated by the clock magic. I loved when Marco showed up and thought he was LARPing (live action role play). The two of them had great chemistry, and their banter was fun.

The story was a bit slower paced than I expected, and there were times when it felt a bit confusing. I realize a short story doesn’t have much space for world-building, but some of the stuff about the clocks left me puzzled. Even so, the mix of mechanism and magic was intriguing, and I loved the mystery angle.

While I was glad to have a story featuring an asexual character, one thing which stood out to me was that it was basically unnecessary. The whole story could have been exactly the same with any two people of any orientation, in fact. And the romance could have been eliminated entirely. Not that I think asexuality (or any orientation) needs to be at the forefront, but I kind of feel like if it’s not necessary to advancing the plot, and the only reason to mention it is because there’s not going to be any sex (which wasn’t needed in this story anyway), then it comes across kind of as “Hey, look! An asexual [or whatever orientation] character!” That’s okay, but it’s not really my cup of tea.

I liked this a lot, but the fantasy was way more interesting than the love story part. So it gets 5 stars for the plot (really cool and unique) and 3 stars for the romance (cute and sweet but unnecessary), averaging out to 4.

4 stars


Publisher’s Website


Hi! I’m Katey. I write superpowered and fantasy romance of an LGBTQIA bent. I live atSuperpowered Love — kateyhawthorne.com.

I know, I know, it looks like I don’t read anything here at GoodReads. But I do, I swear. My reviews and stuff are all over at my other GoodReads thingie, KV Taylor.

Author’s Website
Author’s GoodReads Page

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