About the book:
Clockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel, #2.5), by Karen Kincy
Genre: Historical-fantasy romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: September 1, 2015
Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky
Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads
A companion novella to the Shadows of Asphodel series, from Konstantin’s point of view.
Konstantin would love to hide in his laboratory and dissect the clockwork dragon captured from Russia, but the Archmages of Vienna have other plans. He finds himself shipped off to St. Petersburg as the scientific attaché to an ambassador. His orders? Look, but don’t touch. Of course, he considers this an impossible request with so much enemy technomancy to explore.
To make matters worse, Konstantin has to work with the dashing zeppelin commander Himmel, a man who should also be untouchable. They can’t act on the smoldering attraction between them without risking it all. Faced with an illegal relationship and a devious rival technomancer, Konstantin might not return from this mission in Russia without conquering the forbidden.
About the author:
Karen Kincy (Kirkland, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.
You know those books that you want to like, but don’t and can’t figure out why? What about those books that are so poorly written you can barely get past the words to read the story? Or maybe you’re aware of those books that start out with such potential and then just fall short of the mark and you’re more disappointed than anything?
Well you’re in luck! Clockwork Menagerie is none of those! I will freely admit that I have not read the first two books in A Shadows of Asphodel series, but I’m rectifying that mistake very soon. I’m not going to say that the novella is 100% stand-alone, because I do think it would have made more sense to me and been even more enjoyable if I had read the preceding books, but I could barely put this book down. I started reading it one evening, passed out while reading (I’m sure you bookworms know that problem), and was almost late to work because I simply had to finish it the next morning.
Clockwork Menagerie opens with a clockwork dragon, Konstantin, and a smoking hot kiss! Konstantin Falkenrath is an archmage having a spot of difficulty with lusting after Captain Theodore Himmel. Theodore isn’t making things any easier by waltzing into Konstantin’s laboratory and kissing him senseless. Of course, in the midst of this illegal almost-affair, Konstantin is supposed to be dissecting the clockwork dragon and helping win a war.
When Konstantin is sent to Russia to on a diplomatic mission as the ambassador’s scientific attaché, he realizes he may have the opportunity to meet the technomancer that created the dragon. Captain Theodore is also part of this diplomatic mission and, naturally, turns on the charm.
Konstantin struggles with the legality of his sexuality throughout the book, but he’s never whiny. Constant whiny behavior is a huge turn-off in an adult character, for me. He knows what he wants, but he’s aware that it’s illegal. The internal struggle is incredibly intense and quite realistic. You feel what Konstantin feels and you want what he wants. One of my favorite things about Konstantin, though, is his mind and curiosity. He is fascinated by how things work and, I would imagine, this is a large part of why Captain Theodore is so taken by him.
By the way, for all you pet lovers out there, Konstantin gets a puppy! Well, technically a dog, but either way there’s a pet and she’s such a sweetheart. Her name is Fang and when Theodore first meets her he calls her a mongrel. I love animal introductions in stories and this one was delightful!
I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars and definitely recommend it to lovers of sci-fi, fantasy, and steampunk.
A few small warnings: There are sex scenes in this book. I don’t typically like sex scenes for a variety of reasons (ew, bodily fluids), but done right I enjoy them just as much as the next reader; the sex scenes in this book did not squick me out. Also, set aside a block of time for reading this book as you will not want to stop! I can’t wait to read the two full-length novels in this series.
About Curiosity Quills Press:
Curiosity Quills Press (CQ) is a small hybrid publishing company specializing in genre fiction of the highest quality. With 150+ titles in our catalog already and approximately 6 new books coming out each month, there’s never a dull moment at CQ. We work with major retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible to ensure that you, the reader, can find whatever you are looking for at your convenience.
Founded in 2011 by Eugene Teplitsky and Lisa Gus, CQ was initially a resource portal for writing and publishing, created in an effort to help writers, like themselves, survive the publishing industry. After rapid success, CQ morphed into publishing press that over time has solidified its share in the market. Now we spend our days searching for the next great escape!