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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Zelda Pryce: The Clockwork Girl by Joss Llewelyn (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Order the Book HERE
Read an excerpt HERE
Read FBC’s review of Zelda Pryce: The Razor’s Edge
Read FBC review of Omar The Immortal 
Read FBC’s Interview with Joseph Robert Lewis

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Joss Llewelyn is a pseudonym used by Joseph Robert Lewis for his Young Adult work. Being curious about world mythology since a tender age, he decided to write stories in which history, mythology, and fantasy would collide in unpredictable ways. He also likes writing about heroines that his daughters can respect and admire and took on this particular pseudonym as his daughters kept demanding more stories. Joe was born in Annapolis and went to the University of Maryland to study ancient novels, morality plays, and Viking poetry. He graduated with a degree in English Literature and currently lives in Maryland with his family, a needy cat, and a zombie fish.

OFFICIAL BLURB: Zelda Pryce’s new business of making gorgeous arcane prosthetics is struggling until her hand-crafted arms and legs start transforming her clients into world-class athletes, rock stars, and crime fighters. But just as she starts to enjoy her success, a chain of strange events threatens to destroy her business and her friends. Her inventions come to life and attack her in the middle of the night, her clients are assaulted in broad daylight, and her best friend is framed for a series of violent crimes.

As the foremost expert on arcane devices in Washington DC, Zelda sets out to unravel these mysteries and protect her friends, but her investigation leads not only to a powerful corporation that wants to ruin her business but also to a young girl with a bizarre secret.

In a harrowing race against time, Zelda uses her amazing inventions and a little help from her super-human clients to uncover the truth about the greatest invention in history and to save the life of one innocent person who will change the very definition of what it means to be human.

Return to Zelda’s world of arcane science where geometers build fantastical devices, alchemists transform the elements on a whim, riskbenders make improbable things happen all the time, and dowsers can find anything that’s ever been lost… including a certain runaway girl.

FORMAT/INFO: Zelda Pryce: The Clockwork Girl is 203 pages long divided over twenty seven numbered chapters. Narration is in the third-person via Zelda Pryce solely. Zelda Pryce: The Clockwork Girl is a self-contained story however is the second volume in the Zelda Pryce series. There is also a note about Real Arcana present in the world as well as an “about the author” section.

July 19, 2012 marked the overall Paperback and e-book publication of Zelda Pryce: The Clockwork Girl. Cover photo provided by George Mayer (Dreamstime) and the design was by the author himself.

ANALYSIS: The world of Zelda Pryce is a fascinating one. It’s a kind of an alternate history one wherein arcane knowledge has been present along with the real world sciences. In regards to the first book, I quite enjoyed the premise and the story about a girl called Zelda who is talented at arcane sciences. The story and characters introduced made intrigued me enough to want to know what would happen next.

The second book opens up after quite a few weeks after the events of the first book. Zelda has been trying to fly solo with her shop “Pryceless Arcana” and she has been managing to get by. She soon helps a physically handicapped person and gains attention unlike any before. She doesn’t anticipate the amount and difference of orders and requests she keeps getting and soon is swamped on all corners. She still manages to come up with devices that fulfill the needs of her clients whose lives get changed for the better. Things start taking a weird turn when her arcane devices start functioning strangely or malfunctioning (if that’s the correct way to describe the turn of events). Unable to comprehend what is happening, Zelda is forced to ask her friends and clients to help her out to figure out what’s truly happening and who’s behind it all.

This book was another fun one and continuing from the first book, it expands on the world introduced as well as showcases more of the cool arcane devices. The story this time is focused on the subject of prosthetics and the way the main character uses her knowledge to help people with disabilities. The bones of the plot was inspired by Aimee Mullins and her heroic work, the author has decided to showcase a part of the situation by showing the side of the characters with disabilities. The characterization while done decently is more inclined to the YA side, the main character though intriguing does a few things that make her out to be naïve even after the events of the last book. I felt that naïveté of the character was out of place especially after what has transpired in the previous book, however this book is meant for a younger audience and in that regards these reactions are in line but for adult readers this might not fly the same way.

The world building this time is not the same or as extensive as the last book, as in the previous story, the characters had to travel to a lot of different destinations over on multiple continents; the plot of this book is city-centric. The world-building takes a back seat this time around but there are a few things that get introduced and it will be interesting to see where the author takes his plot next. The things that detracted a bit of the fun this time around was the main mystery plot while the end twist was certainly a good one but along the way the plot twists seemed a bit too simple as things characters do simply facilitated the plot. This book demands to be read on a YA level and therefore all readers should keep in mind who the target audience of this book is and why the author has written these books. 

CONCLUSION: The Clockwork Girl is a good sequel but it lacks the exciting flair of its predecessor. The book does manage to expand the reader’s horizons about the main character and her predilections. This book also goes in a different direction with the plot of this book, whether this was a good thing or not, it will be up to the readers to decide. I thought this was an interesting follow-up and am definitely in line to see what the author cooks up next for Zelda



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