Posts Tagged Jay Lake
Pinion is the third and best-so-far book in Jay Lake’s Clockwork Earth universe.
Pinion combines the best aspects of the first and second books in the trilogy, to make a closing book that is better than its predecessors put together. Mainspring (book one) had great descriptive writing and philosophical richness but I wanted a stronger sense of momentum. Escapement, book two, had a great pace and strong action, but I wasn’t as struck by the atmosphere or the subtext. In Pinion, the pace is brisk and the characters converge on a common goal plus there is thought-provoking conflict between free will, destiny, belief, and religion.
- Paolina comes face-to-face with Hethor, after he was totally absent in the middle book. I was glad to see him included in the narrative. They have some interesting philosophical notes to compare – and yet tedium is avoided too.
Escapement by Jay Lake is a followup/sequel to his 2007 novel Mainspring, a clockwork, steampunk travel fantasy. I liked this more than the first one – in part because the pace feels faster, but also because these particular characters clicked for me. I’m lining up the next one to read immediately.
This book takes place in the same world but now follows three new principal characters. Each of these people sets out on a journey with a particular mission or goal, and the novel follows their progress as they meet, part, and meet again. The characterization is solid and the visual detail is again as impressive as in Mainspring.
The plot gives each of the leads a good solid motivation to get underway and keep going – when characters troop around needing to go somewhere and do something, there’s always a risk that it will feel like only a quest for plot coupons. In this case, there is urgency and risk as our various heroes battle storms and troops to a satisfying conclusion.
If you enjoyed the first book, you’ll definitely like this one.
I liked Mainspring, so here’s the full list of his novels for followup. Escapement is now queued up for reading!
I think this was Lake’s first published novel, according to what I remember of the brag-quotes on the cover. With that in mind, I was very impressed with this writer’s obvious experience and skill. But, sometimes the scale of the effort made me a little nervous about the final destination. All in all, worth the trip. Now on my list of follow-up authors.
There is a lot of ground covered in this book. There is an angel in the first chapter, who arrives and tells our young hero that he must somehow stop the Earth’s Main Spring from winding down and causing an apocalypse.
Don’t be thrown off by the initial theology focus – it does not stay that way. This ongoing metamorphosis of theme and location may be why it took me a little longer to read the book. In some ways it made it odd that the one young man was experiencing all these things – from the almost Dickensian apprenticeship with the clockmaker, to the baroque Boston court where he tries to deliver his warning, to the airship which heads to the world’s geared equator. Excellent descriptions of the vertical forests, btw. Really a sense of scale given for such an impossible landscape.
So, our young hero treks hither and yon collecting plot coupons and sees some interesting/fascinating parts of this clockwork world. Not slamming the construction of the story, just saying that there’s no loitering about – it’s go-go-go.
The book reaches a resolution, but not to the extent that it rules out sequels to finish saving the world, but not leaving you totally hanging. Overall, it’s thoroughly atmospheric and a tiny bit draggy in parts, maybe because I was trying to catch my breath and say ‘wait, we are where & doing what now?’… but an interesting experience.
Lucky I read this! When I saw the cover, I thought this was some other steampunk angel story, which I started and rejected in the days before this blog. I am happy to report, this is not that book with the gruesome vivisection of angels to convert their energy to fuel. I still don’t want to read more of that other one.
The tone of Mainspring reminds me of the Monster Blood Tattoo YA series, in that the central character is a newcomer to the world of intrigue. And, steampunk/magic of course.
3.5 / 5 *
- [awards|repost] Hugo pimpage (jlake.com)