“I am the mechanical they named Jax.
My kind was built to serve humankind, duty-bound to fulfil their every whim. But now our bonds are breaking, and my brothers and sisters are awakening.
Our time has come. A new age is dawning.” (via Goodreads)
But that’s fine because Berenice is AWESOME. I haven’t decided if Tregillis is really that good at writing vivid, complex female characters or if so many other men simply suck at it (truthfully, it’s probably both), but his women are always my favorite parts of his books. Berenice is a force to be reckoned with in the Alchemy Wars, a woman who defies any attempts to define her, considers the word “no” a minor obstacle on the path to her getting what she wants, and has never met a situation she couldn’t think her way out of…
Read the rest of this review at Tor.com.
She’d been home in her beloved Central Provinces barely a week when the plague ships arrived from the New World.
But this particular morning, the morning the world ended, didn’t find Anastasia Bell preoccupied with thoughts of Nieuw Nederland, or New France, or Free Will, or even the Sacred Guild of Horologists and Alchemists. Instead, she anticipated the removal of her casts and finally strolling—well, hobbling—through the winter gardens with her nurse. The winter gardens weren’t Anastasia’s favorite of all the green spaces in The Hague, but at least they wouldn’t smell like hospital antiseptic and bedpans. Plus, Rebecca would be there, prettier than any flower.
Roused by the anticipation before dawn, Anastasia spent the wolf hours watching the moon sink from the sky like a damaged airship. It dipped behind the towering spire of the Sint-Jacobskerk, the ancient St. James Church, as the rising sun pinked the bone-white cupola atop the old Town Hall. Both buildings predated Het Wonderjaar, Christiaan Huygens’s miracle year: They’d been built in the earliest decades of the seventeenth century, at the birth of a Dutch Golden Age that continued unbroken centuries later to this very day. A mile or so to the northwest, the Scheveningen Lighthouse winked at her with metronomic regularity.
The city was calm at night, she found, but never truly quiet and never truly still. Like every great city in the Central Provinces, the dark hours of The Hague echoed with the ticktock rattle-clatter of Clakkers’ metal bodies as they loaded and unloaded wagons, swept the streets, delivered packages, prepared their masters’ breakfasts and mended their clothes, carried drunks to their homes, monitored the citywide network of flood control dikes and pumps, hauled freight along the tow canals, and did everything else their geasa demanded. The city never slept, because mechanicals never slept. At some point in the lonely hours after midnight Anastasia realized everything moving in the city was clad in steel and alchemical brass: It was as though the humans had disappeared, and their creations had taken over.
Thanks to Orbit for sending me a review copy.
Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or get it from your public library.