The Doomsday Vault (Early Review)

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper
Clockwork Empire #1

In a clockwork Brittania, Alice's prospects are slim. At 21, her age and her unladylike interest in automatons have sealed her fate as an undesirable marriage prospect. But a devastating plague sends Alice off in a direction beyond the pale-towards a clandestine organization, mad inventors, life-altering secrets, and into the arms of an intrepid fiddle-playing airship pilot.

Alice's life has been slowly deteriorating since the Plague struck her family hard. She lost her mother and brother to the clockwork plague, and then several years later, her fiance as well. So now everyone treats her like a pariah. At 21 she is already long past the prime age for a desirable marriage, and her love of automatons has even further outcast her. In a last ditch effort to save her family's honor she goes to one last ball to try and snag a fiance. This sets in a chain of events that will forever change her life as she gets thrown into a world of secrecy and finds an attraction in a man who would make a very unlikely match. 

It took me a little while to really get into The Doomsday Vault as the beginning was a little confusing. Things took a turn for the better when the two story lines came together as Alice and Gavin meet. Prior to that point, I was a little unsure as to what the two different story lines had to do with each other. However, as time went on and they interacted together, I started to enjoy things a lot more. Perhaps that was because I finally had something to root for as their attraction grew, as before that I didn't have an attachment to their struggles. I enjoy reading the struggle and conflict these two faced as they tried to make decisions the best they could, even if it kept them apart. I've always been drawn to a story with mismatched couples with plenty of obstacles in their path.

This was my second foray into Steampunk, and to be honest I still have mixed feelings about the genre.  The first had more of a western feel, while The Doomsday Vault was more Elizabethan. Both times I ended up enjoying the book in the end, but the large learning curve and past setting lessened my enjoyment. So while things have turned out okay overall, I still think I prefer books with a modern setting, as things like propriety, class status, and titles drive me a little batty. I realize those things were a major part of the time period, but it gets a little monotonous after a while. I guess it is a really good thing I didn't live during that time period. However, putting that all aside, the world behind The Doomsday Vault was quite intriguing. The plague that is the root of the world as they know it, not only kills, but also can give great gifts as well. Although the ones with the gifts, known as clockmakers, only receive the gifts of brilliance for a short while as eventually the plague claims them as well. Even so, almost all major innovation can be laid at their feat, which I found to be a really interesting twist on things, as who would expect a deadly disease to cause so much good.

While The Doomsday Vault didn't quite hold my attention as much as other books, I still was pretty entertained, and will come back for more when the next installment is released. There was enough of a build up and teaser for more, that I am very curious to see what happens next. So, while it didn't have a cliffhanger ending in the truest sense, there was still plenty enough left unsettled to leave me wanting more. Considering my feelings for this genre, that was no small feat, making The Doomsday Vault pretty impressive in the end. If you enjoy the steampunk genre, or even books set in the Elizabethan time period that have a little fantasy mixed in, then The Doomsday Vault should be a solid read.

(Received a copy from the publisher)


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