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Magical steampunk

Cover of The Clockwork Witch
A review of The Clockwork Witch by Michelle Sonnier

In this first of a series Sonnier offers a vibrant and fast-moving tale that melds steampunk and magic to great effect. Arabella is the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter of England's most powerful family of witches. As such she was expected to do great things. But Arabella has aged past the point where her powers should have been revealed with nary a spark of talent showing, much to the dismay of her mother and delight of some of her more competitive sisters. Now she is seen as nothing but a "brown bud", a woman born to a witch family with magical talent at all, and is struggling to figure out what her place in society will be. Her struggles are both alleviated and made worse when she discovers that perhaps she does have a magical talent. Her mother would be thrilled to hear that her magic has manifested itself, but there's one catch. Arabella has the ability to manipulate technology and technology is anathema to witches.

This fantasy novel certainly has some familiar elements. A young protagonist finding they have a talent no one else does, one that might have world-changing effects, has been done before. But the world-building here, a blending of Victorian England with steampunk and magical elements, the plotting and the character development all work to give this a fresh flair. I look forward to following Arabella and company into the next book.

August 27, 2018