Be still my clockwork heart! Magpie’s Song, Allison Pang Book Review

This book hit all of my steampunk loving, fantasy obsessed, strong female character buttons and I am so excited to get to share my feelings with you!

Goodreads Summary:

In the slums of BrightStone, Moon Children are worth less than the scrap they must collect to survive. It doesn’t matter that these abandoned half-breeds are part-Meridian with their ancestors hailing from the technologically advanced city that floats above the once-thriving, now plague-ridden BrightStone. Instead they are rejected by both their ancestral societies and forced to live on the outskirts of civilization, joining clans simply to survive. Not to mention their role as Tithe, leading the city’s infected citizens deep into the Pits where their disease can be controlled.

Nineteen-year-old Raggy Maggy is no different, despite the mysterious heart-shaped panel that covers her chest. Or at least she wasn’t… Not until her chance discovery of a Meridian-built clockwork dragon—and its murdered owner. When the Inquestors policing the city find Maggy at the scene of the crime, she quickly turns into their prime suspect. Now she’s all anyone can talk about. Even her clan leader turns his back on her, leading her to rely on an exiled doctor and a clanless Moon Child named Ghost to keep her hidden. In return, all she has to do is help them find a cure for the plague they believe was not exactly accidental. Yet doing so might mean risking more than just her life. It also might be the only key to uncovering the truth about the parents—and the past—she knows nothing about.

Oh yeah. You read that right. There’s a clockwork dragon!

A small-enough-to-travel-with clockwork dragon.

Of course I loved this book! Whatever flaws it may have (all books have flaws, perfection is a facade) I will forever love it because there is a clockwork dragon, which means that the people who make bookish merch might make tiny clockwork dragons and I can walk around town with a clockwork dragon and live all of my wildest fantasies.

I’ve said clockwork dragon too many times now, it’s gone weird. I’ll let it go.

(Clockwork Dragon)

Right, main character Raggy Maggy/Mags/Magpie what do we think? She’s your fairly typical ‘unknown backstory, lives on the streets, scrappy and uncouth, young but world weary, pretty but also plain YA fantasy heroine. I don’t mind that. It’s a cliché for a reason. We like our teen heroines with a dash of angst and a heavy helping of sarcasm and Mags does not disappoint. What I found refreshing is that Mags is such a realist, she doesn’t dwell on situations where it doesn’t help to do so, she’s practical and she’s pragmatic and when she’s being impulsive she realises and she deals with it (sometimes a little too late I’ll admit.) She’s added to that list I’m making of YA protagonists I want to befriend.

World building? I like the concept of this, it reminded me a little of the floating city of Santaphrax from The Edge Chronicles with this floating ‘superior’ city and the dirty underbelly below. This is a little more futuristic than that but the concept is the same. What I was missing was a little more backstory. Where The Edge Chronicles start each story with a map and a short explanation of the world it took me a while to get to grips with the world in which Mags lives. I think a little bit more set up would have been beneficial since it can feel like you’re just expected to understand that Moon Children are discriminated against (before you really get what Moon Children are). It’s a little gripe, by the middle I had worked everything out but it just could have been even better.

The story is what truly captured my heart. I’m here for the mystery, the intrigue, the plots, the plans and the betrayals. This is obviously only the first book in what promises to be a great series so a lot of it is setting up who is ‘good’ and who is ‘bad’ and who is allied with whom. That being said, there is a great deal of action even in this first book, it’s not a boring book by any stretch of the imagination. Fans of action will be pleased I think.

If you like steampunk elements, dragons, mystery, action, a pinch of romance and a host of unique characters I heartily recommend picking up a copy of Magpie’s Song when it publishes tomorrow! (August 3rd)

My rating: 5/5 stars

By the way, I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What do you think? Added it to your TBR yet? Let me know in the comments below.

Can’t wait to hear from you




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