Review: The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato
★★★ @bethcato #Bookreview
Finding a fantasy with steampunk is not easy. I first found Ms. Cato through an anthology and promptly looked her up for some full novel books. She does a lovely job of writing fantasy and paranormal. When it comes to steampunk, this duology is a lot less steampunk than I expected. Much more fantasy à la Mercedes Lackey Elemental Series is how I would describe this book.
Yes, there is a dirigible and there is one instance of a horrendous experiment of animal to mechanics. There is also a couple of missing appendages replaced by mechanical ones. It still wasn't enough steampunk for me. Regardless, this first book is wonderfully written. We have a shy but determined heroine who possesses not only the power to heal through faith, but a bleeding heart. She wants to heal everyone but cannot because it is not possible. Through this first book, we start out with her starting a new life by leaving the school she attended to learn how to heal through herbs and above all, her faith in "the Lady". This magic reminds me of a few different fantasy books I have read in the past. It also conjures to mind some of the "others" found in the Game of Thrones.
I enjoyed how Octavia grows in this story. Her faith is never shaken in the Lady and she uses it to heal, defend and attack. Her miracles open the eyes of others to see there is more than science. Unfortunately it also makes them covet her skills. She is truly gifted. This journey for her helps her grow stronger in both her faith and healing abilities whilst it shows her the bitter corruption of the country she once loved.
There is intrigue, betrayal, racism and appalling sexism in this story. Ms. Cato does a great job of showcasing it and force Octavia to adapt and grow. By the end of this story, I'm wanting to immediately read the next book. Because the ending hints to more big reveals. This paranormal romance is recommended to readers who enjoy magic, fantasy and faith.