I’m Shocked

Not too many months back I reread Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti.  I originally picked it up on a friend’s recommendation.  Reflecting back, I can see why she enjoyed it so: she is a pilot, and the icarii fly through the various levels of Ondinium. Does every pilot dream of free-flying?  It seems to be a common theme whenever the two are in the same story, pilots and free-flight.

Anyway, I discovered that there were two more books after Clockwork Heart and dumped them on my amazon wishlist for later.  Later, of course, being that large order recently.  And today I felt like finding out what happened to Taya Icarus and Exalted Cristof Forlore after the events of that book.  Thus, I read Clockwork Lies: Iron Wind.

Spoiler that you find out quite early: Taya and Cristof got married.  The book opens with the pair in Mareaux, the neighboring country from which Taya’s grandparents hailed.  They are doing the kind of diplomatic work discussed at the end of Clockwork Heart and seem to be doing a decent job of it.  It’s only been a year or so since the events of the previous book.  But everything goes wrong after the second attempt on Cristof’s life, prompting the delegation to return to Ondinium.  Then shit gets real.

In what is a standard move for trilogies and series, after an initial book that takes place within a single city, the second book involves multiple locations spanning a map that sadly, doesn’t exist.  Or if it does, it’s not available in the book.  It’s a minor complaint, since many books do not include maps.  Many of the side characters from the first book get cameo appearances, but the focus is on Taya, Cristof, and Lieutenant Amcaratha, Cristof’s lictor ally.  I’d say “friend,” except the man is quite stoic and difficult to get a read on, even through descriptive text.  I’m sure that’s intentional, though it does make Taya’s resolution towards him at the end of Clockwork Lies all the more amusing.

Like many second books, Clockwork Lies shows that the events of its predecessor, terrible as they may be, are really just precursors to what happens within its pages, and likely what is still to come.  The stakes are raised to involve the whole country, not just the capital city.  I was thoroughly enthralled.

I had paused in my reading to glance back at the front, hoping for a map that I had somehow overlooked, when I stopped and stared at the title page.  This book was purchased through amazon, but from a third party vendor.  Not off the marketplace, mind you, but bought brand new through someone partnered with amazon that utilized their free shipping.

And it is signed.

Signed by Dru Pagliassotti, dated “Steampunk Extravaganza 2014.”

I am, as you might notice, still having trouble processing this tiny piece of information.  There was nothing to indicate that this was anything other than a new book that happened to ship from somewhere other than one of amazon’s warehouses.  Did I get lucky?  Well yeah.  Is this company’s whole stock signed?  I have no idea.  I am just trying to understand how I randomly got a signed book without paying up for it in any way, shape, or form.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled.  The only thing that would be better is if I got her to sign my older, well-loved copy of Clockwork Heart.  And probably Clockwork Secrets because I doubt that one has anything special to it, having shipped from amazon directly.

(I just checked.  That title page is free of all pen marks, showing only the printed text.)

So, there you have it.  A totally unexpected bonus to my day.  And the book is good, even if I still prefer the first one.  But I may be a sucker for origin stories, not to mention books that can easily stand alone.  If I hadn’t chosen to look up Dru Pagliassotti randomly one day, I could’ve gone the rest of my life thinking Clockwork Heart was a standalone novel.  And I would’ve been fine with that.  In contrast to Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, not only does the book conclude it’s plot, but it ties up the loose ends in such a way that you didn’t need more.  More is great, but it’s not like Sunshine which barely scratched the surface of the available mysteries to unravel.

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