cover image The Clockwork Solution

The Clockwork Solution

Michelle D. Sonnier. eSpec, $14.95 trade paper (255p) ISBN 978-1-949691-35-1

The second chapter of Sonnier’s plot-driven, alternate Victorian England–set Clockwork Witch series (following The Clockwork Witch) sends youthful technomancer Arabella Leyden on a dangerous mission. Though not every witch is eager to welcome Arabella and her unusual magical abilities, her influential mother ensures her entry into the English Council of Witches. Now Arabella accepts her first assignment: the council wants her to investigate rumors of a famine in Ireland. Arabella travels to the estate of Lord Plunkett-Nelson, a family ally who also happens to be hosting his nephew (and Arabella’s beau), clockmaker Julian Pattersby. Uncovering the truth about the famine proves easy; fixing things will be much more difficult in a land comprising entitled nobility and a Catholic working class that hates witches. Sonnier keeps the story light and fast-paced, balancing Arabella’s mission with the tangled relationships in the witch community. Closing with a deliberate setup for the next volume, this is sure to hook fans of gaslamp fantasy. (Feb.)