The Mechanical

Orbit: Hachette. (Alchemy Wars, Bk. 1). Mar. 2015. 480p. ISBN 9780316248006. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9780316247993. FANTASY
OrangeReviewStarIn an early 20th century where history took a decidedly different turn, the world is divided in two: the realm of the Dutch and their mechanical servitors in the empire ruled by the Brassworks Throne and the battered and pathetic remnants of France living in exile in the New World. Jax is a Clakker, a mechanical man built to obey the will of the humans who used alchemy to set him in motion. When a quirk of chance frees him from the geas ("alchemical binding") that usually controls all Clakkers absolutely, he will do anything to retain his free will. Meanwhile, in New France, Berenice is the spymaster charged with finding a way to defeat the Dutch, but she overreaches when she tries to capture a Clakker.
VERDICT Tregillis (Bitter Seeds) presents a fascinating look at the nature of free will and the existence of the soul, wrapped up in an absolutely thrilling adventure story. Jax is an amazing, sympathetic character, and the world of the clockmakers and their slaves is so absorbing that readers will be dying for the next entry in this new series.
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