Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Review: Clementine by Cherie Priest

Clementine by Cherie Priest
Subterranean Press, 2010
Genre: Alternate History, Steampunk
Unabridged Audiobook Narrated by Dina Pearlman and Victor Bevine

Official Description:

Maria Isabella Boyd's success as a Confederate spy has made her too famous for further espionage work, and now her employment options are slim. Exiled, widowed, and on the brink of poverty...she reluctantly goes to work for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in Chicago.

Adding insult to injury, her first big assignment is commissioned by the Union Army. In short, a federally sponsored transport dirigible is being violently pursued across the Rockies and Uncle Sam isn't pleased. The Clementine is carrying a top secret load of military essentials--essentials which must be delivered to Louisville, Kentucky, without delay.

Intelligence suggests that the unrelenting pursuer is a runaway slave who's been wanted by authorities on both sides of the Mason-Dixon for fifteen years. In that time, Captain Croggon Beauregard Hainey has felonied his way back and forth across the continent, leaving a trail of broken banks, stolen war machines, and illegally distributed weaponry from sea to shining sea.

And now it's Maria's job to go get him.

He's dangerous quarry and she's a dangerous woman, but when forces conspire against them both, they take a chance and form an alliance. She joins his crew, and he uses her connections. She follows his orders. He takes her advice.

And somebody, somewhere, is going to rue the day he crossed either one of them.

My Thoughts:

This was the first audiobook that I hadn't read the paper book first. However, Clementine was printed as a small edition novella and copies sold out pretty early. After reading both Boneshaker and Dreadnought, I was determined to read Clementine however I had to despite my personal love of paper books. That said, I really enjoyed the audiobook experience. I will definitely look for other works done by the same narrators too!

Now, on to the book itself. Clementine was a fast-paced romp through Cherie Priest's alternate history world with an intriguing look at the interactions of the North and the South in the extended version of the Civil War. I loved the inclusion of the Pinkerton Agency and the tension between the Northern based Agency and the main female character, Belle Boyd, a former Confederate Spy with remaining loyalties despite being thrust out of the confidences of her fellow Confederates. I really enjoyed the characterization of Belle; feminine Southern charm that masks a dry acerbic wit and her imminent capability.

The other main character, Captain Hainey, is an escaped slave and airship pirate chasing after his stolen airship. Captain Hainey's characterization isn't quite as strong as Belle Boyd's but the interactions between the two headstong characters completely makes up for it.

Clementine didn't fail to impress! It was a clear concise novella without a single extraneous scene. I loved every minute of it and even though I wish there had been more, it certainly didn't need it. I definitely hope to see more of Belle Boyd and Captain Hainey in future Clockwork Century novels and I highly recommend giving it a read (or a listen).

Written as Part of the Speculative Fiction Challenge

No comments:

Post a Comment