Author: J Cunningham
Format: Paperback and eBook
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk
Series: Clockwork Skies # 1
Best Read in Order: Yes
Purchase Now: Amazon § Barnes&Noble
About the Book:
Gelton isn’t the revolutionary type. If you asked him, it would be the last thing he would ever use to describe himself – if you could get the gefling to answer at all. When he gets entangled in events larger than his own story, he finds that he’s got more than a few things to learn about himself.
Part speculative history, part fantasy, and definitively steampunk, Secrets is the first novel in the Clockwork Skies series. Action packed and full of political intrigue, romance, and richly detailed fantasy settings, Secrets will entice you from the first page and keep you guessing until the last.
I really enjoyed this book and the perspectives provided by Gelton the Gelfling, servant (although ward suits his situation much better) of the highly placed and regarded Ambassador Grayson. Mixing the steampunk and new character traits with a mystery, rebellion, a touch of romance, a dictatorial king and the overwhelming ecological threats from the acidic rain added levels of complexity that manage to create a story that grabbed my attention almost from the first sentence.
An alternate version of history maintains an easy relationship with readers as Cunningham has managed to cleverly mix plausible and actual references, providing a feel of grounded potential to his story: the events in the book feel more real because of this clever technique. New characters in the Gelflings create an interesting imagined figure, and Gelton being the most predominant introduction to the race as he rushes to tell us how he is different from the ‘norm’, gives a unique insight into their perspective, and the rebellion that is slowly fomenting.
Adding in clockwork soldiers with touches of magic, a murder, walrus for dinner and the increasing influence of Mya’s attentions to the socially awkward Gelton and the story just takes off running. Cunningham has mixed political intrigue and threats of war, introduced new creatures and races, and given us characters to appreciate and empathize with: then set it into a completely unique and clever setting that is highly reminiscent of Victorian-era Britain. Whether you are a steampunk fan, or a newcomer: this is a delightful start to a new series.
I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:
J. Cunningham has over 30 years of fantasy world-building and storytelling experience. He is also a decorated veteran of the special operations community, making him no stranger to combat and government black operations. His list of creative achievements include success as a songwriter, musician, film director, and RPG writer. He brings to
his novels the experience, authenticity, and detailed creativity of a lifelong soldier, story teller, and science fiction fanboy.