Early Review: The Impossible Cube by Steven Harper

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Impossible Cube by Steven Harper 
The Clockwork Empire #2

In an age where fantastic inventions of steam and brass have elevated Britain and China into mighty empires, Alice Michaels faces a future of technological terrors…

Once, Gavin Ennock sailed the skies on airships and enchanted listeners with his fiddle music. Now, the clockwork plague consumes his intellect, enabling him to conceive and construct scientific wonders—while driving him quite mad. Distressed by her beloved’s unfortunate condition, Alice Michaels sought a cure rumored to be inside the Doomsday Vault—and brought the wrath of the British Empire down on them.

Declared enemies of the Crown, Alice and Gavin have little choice but to flee to China in search of a cure. Accompanying them is Dr. Clef, a mad genius driven to find the greatest and most destructive force the world has ever seen: The Impossible Cube. If Dr. Clef gets his hands on it, the entire universe will face extinction.

And Gavin holds the key to its recreation…

Releasing the cure for the clockwork plague was only the beginning despite all the sacrifices made to achieve that goal. Now Alice and Gavin must do everything they can to help it spread as quick as possible to ensure China does not get the upper hand in their quest to dominate the world. Meanwhile, members of the Ward want vengeance for their theft of the cure, and will relentlessly pursue them to the ends of the earth. But incrimination and world domination are the least of their concerns as Gavin contracted the only type of the plague that cannot be cured. He is a clockworker capable of incredible moments of intriguing and invention, but that comes at a cost as he is quickly burning through his brain and soon nothing will be left. It's a race against time to find a cure, and the clock is quickly running out for these two love birds.

One of the biggest reasons I typically have issues with steampunk novels is because of all the complex descriptions and devices that are involved. A lot of the time it just takes too much work to follow the story, and quite frankly it just is a little too sci-fi in the past for my tastes. Well, at least that has been my experience with the genre, albeit limited, so far. However, The Doomsday Vault was incredibly impressive in that the story or descriptions were never once hard to follow. That's not to say that the story wasn't an "authentic" steampunk with the requisite impressively complex gadgets. It's just that Steven Harper seemed to have this magical way of taking this crazy awesome complex idea and describing it in a way that anyone could follow it. In fact, he has painted the steampunk genre in a whole new light for me, to the point where I think I might start taking a second look at other books. Who knows, perhaps The Clockwork Empire series will turn out to be the "gateway books" that opens up my book genre preferences even further.

I've always wondered why a lot of TV shows will have a recap at the beginning of the show, yet books don't. I mean come on, the gap between TV episodes is usually only about a week, where books can be a year or more. So, whenever, I am about to start a book in a series, I try to go back and read the last chapter or two of the previous installment to help myself remember what happened previously. (Which can be difficult if the book was originally borrowed from the library.) This just helps me to get into the book much faster. Otherwise, I spend the first two chapters trying to remember who was who, which makes it take so much longer to get engrossed in the book. However, due to The Impossible Cube's awesomeness, I didn't have to follow this usual routine. Since it had the recap at the beginning, I was able to dive right in without the typical re-learning curve. It just really impressed me, and definitely made my reading experience much better as everything. Hopefully more books will start doing this to become the standard trend.

This series has really grabbed a hold of me to the point where I'm desperate to find out what happens next. The characters and their plight are so easy to become invested in, and I found myself rooting for them every step of the way. So I cannot recommend the books in The Clockwork Empire series, especially The Impossible Cube any higher. Whether you are a fan of Steampunk or not, these books promise to be an exhilarating roller coaster ride from start to finish that you won't want to miss!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Pre-order a copy from Amazon:
The Impossible Cube: A Novel of the Clockwork Empire

Other Reviews:
Previous Books:
  1. The Doomsday Vault
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