cover image The Clockwork Witch

The Clockwork Witch

Michelle D. Sonnier. eSpec, $14.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-942990-78-9

Intriguing magic, gender politics, and historical detail weave together in this coming-of-age fantasy debut set in a Victorian London where witches have been both a part of and outside of non-magical society. Young Arabella is the seventh daughter of a prestigious house of witches. Her mother is the Grande Dame of the Witches Council, but Arabella has not manifested her powers yet, to the shame of her family. When Arabella develops an affinity for machines and the unheard-of power of technomancy, she fights to prove herself a witch and not an abomination. Sonnier captures the opulence of Victorian London as well as the restrictions of class and gender. Arabella’s struggle is believable, and her relationship with her closest sister, Rowena, is touching. Although the central plot turns on the tired trope of a prophecy, this does not detract from Sonnier’s energetic prose. Fantasy readers will especially enjoy Sonnier’s inventive worldbuilding. (Aug.)