Original Title: Clockwork Menagerie
Year Published: 2015
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
Number of Pages: 102
First Sentence: “Pity the clockwork dragon had been so violent.“
Goodreads Rating: 4/5
1914. Konstantin would love to hide in his laboratory and dissect the clockwork dragon captured from Russia, but the Archmages of Vienna have other plans. He finds himself shipped off to St. Petersburg as the scientific attaché to an ambassador. His orders? Look, but don’t touch. Of course, he considers this an impossible request with so much enemy technomancy to explore.
To make matters worse, Konstantin has to work with the dashing zeppelin commander Himmel, a man who should also be untouchable. They can’t act on the smoldering attraction between them without risking it all. Faced with an illegal relationship and a devious rival technomancer, Konstantin might not return from this mission in Russia without conquering the forbidden.
I totally and completely loved this novella! I adored Konstantin in Shadows of Asphodel and was so excited to see that he got his own novella. This takes place after the second book in the Shadows of Asphodel series, a book I haven’t read. But you don’t need to. Yes, you miss how Konstantin and Himmel meet each other but it you do fine without it.
Konstantin is such a darling and I just wanted to hug him close and keep him safe. Just like Himmel does 😛 I didn’t expect any character development in a novella but we do get some. Konstantin goes from this slightly afraid and overthinking scientist to a brave young man who follows his heart.
Himmel is also a darling but he is more daring than Konstantin is, meaning that my protective side doesn’t come out when it comes to him. I did love the relationship between Konstantin and Himmel and was literally muttering the words “stupid boys” many times reading this.
The plot is very interesting and was entertaining from the get go. It had several twists and turns that kept you on your toes, but it was never confused or overdone.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, but do read Shadows of Asphodel first!