by Jeannie Lin
Series: Gunpowder Chronicles #2
Genres: Historical Fiction, Steampunk
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
National bestselling author Jeannie Lin’s Gunpowder Chronicles continue as a woman left adrift by the fall of a Dynasty attempts to reclaim her family’s honor... As a physician, Jin Soling can see that the Emperor is cracking, relying on Opium to drown his troubles. The Ch’ing Empire is failing, and war with the British is imminent, but the man to whom Soling was once engaged has a bold idea to save it. A leader within the Ministry of Engineering, Chang-wei suggests an alliance with Japan, whose scientists claim to have technical advancements that could turn the tide of the war. But Japan has kept itself in isolation for the last two hundred years, cutting all diplomatic ties with the Ch'ing Empire. Chang-wei must enter the island nation in disguise to seek an alliance—an alliance forbidden by the Japanese shogunate. Seeking to escape the politics of the imperial court, Soling arranges her own passage on the airship to Japan. But once they land, Chang-wei and Soling become targets of the shogunate's armored assassins. Caught between two empires, in a land distrustful of foreigners, the deadly war machines are the least of their worries...
The Clockwork Samurai by Jeannie Lin is the second book in the Gunpowder Chronicles set against the backdrop of China’s Qing Dynasty. This alternate steampunk historical is a delightful read, with fleshed out characters and incredible world-building.
Clockwork Samurai is such a wonderful tale. While not quite as strong as its predecessor I could not help but get lost in the vivid world Lin creates. I absolutely love the setting and the descriptive and authentic feel Lin brings to the story and characters. Jeannie Lin weaves in steampunk elements and danger as our heroine Jin Soling and her former intended Chen Chang-Wei embark on a mission to Japan.
When the story begins, Jin Soling is a physician for the Emperor’s concubines. Events force her to seek another position and she is astonished when she finds herself on board a ship accompanying Chen to Japan.
The characters have depth, and Lin pays particular attention to their behavior providing an authentic portrayal of characters from 1852 right down to mannerisms. I love getting inside Jin’s head. I have come to respect her wit, loyalty and quest for knowledge.
The plot unfolds slowly but I was so busy absorbing the world and catching up with Jin Soling that I did not mind the slower pace. As we enter, Japan things get interesting as the suspense and danger increase the further we travel into forbidden areas. I loved the karakuri automatons and the detail will delight fans of steampunk. Danger, new friendships and a wonderful look at Japan made this tale a worthy read.
There is a subtle romance and despite the lack of page time, I found it to be a powerful one. Lin has a wonderful “show not tell” approach giving scenes weight. It delivered all the feels despite the low-heat level. I am eager to see how the romance will progress.
Opium issues, and concerns for Western evasion along with the Emperor’s refusal to accept there is actually a threat are mentioned throughout. The ending completed the journey to Japan, strengthened our characters relationship and set us up for the next novel.
Clockwork Samurai offers a light, enchanting tale set against a time-period I found riveting. I highly recommend this series to fans of steampunk, historical fiction and alternate historical fantasy.
Sophia Rose loves this author. I think I have her review for this one in as well to format. I am so behind!
I have been enjoying it, the characters and world are so rich.
Subtle romance? That alone makes me want to read Clockwork Samurai 🙂 I hadn’t really noticed this series before, Kim, but now that I have it needs to be added to my shelves 🙂
Have a fantastic weekend!
I am really enjoying it Lexxie.
Happy you enjoyed the read even though it wasn’t quite as good as the first one. Sounds really different 🙂
I really am, the series is very good 🙂
Although I’ve barely stuck my toe in steampunk, I have to admit that this story and the setting intrigue me. Great review, Kimberly.
Take the plunge Brandee!
The Bibliophile Babe
Sounds like a story my sister would enjoy! I’ll have to share it with her. Great review!
I hope she loves them 🙂
Braine Talk Supe
I almost forgot about this! I didn’t know book 2’s already out as I loved the first one. Thanks, Kimberly!
Woot…enjoy my friend!!
This sounds interesting, how sci-fi is it? I can handle futuristic gadgets and things like that but I am not a fan of the over my head scientific talk of some sci-fi. 🙂
It is the steampunk aspect ..so you are good to go.
I so want to read book 1!
Oh yes…you will enjoy these Linda!
Not really my type of book but thanks for the great review.
Hopefully I will pique your interest later this week 🙂
I like the sound of this one! The mix of historical fiction and steam punk sounds appealing and this isn’t an area I’m very familiar with. I second Maureen’s questions about is it difficult to keep track of the names? Thanks for sharing!
This is very light, with a few main characters and some secondary but perfect intro to this genre.
This sounds like an interesting read. Haven’t heard about it before. I was wondering.. Is it difficult to follow who is who with all those Chinese names? I’m so bad with names I’m wondering if I could keep up with all those Lin’s and Jin’s. But I do love historical novels so maybe I just need to try it out sometimes.
No, not at all this is a very light fantasy so not too many characters.
I don’t see very many alternate history stories but a steampunk/fantasy! Fantastic!!! I’m going to add the first book and see if I get to it. At the very least, I’m going to add it to my Amazon wish list 😉 You always open my eyes to books I’d never find on my own… thanks!!!!
Glad you are going to give it a go, I love the world and gadgets.
Oh this one sounds wonderful. Reading your review, it reminded me a bit of Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer. I will have to add this to the TBR.
that is a book on my wishlist..LOL
I’m thinking this is a series I may enjoy a lot. I love the historical aspect as well as Steampunk. I think I may add the first to my list. 🙂
I think you would enjoy them Candace!
I read your review for the first book and was hooked, awesome to see book 2 is living up to it! I really need to read this, I need more time in my life ;/
I hope you pick them up Lily!
For some reason I don’t remember you reviewing the first book, I’ll have to look it up but it does sound wonderful and I’m always up for a good steampunk.
LOL, I review so many I am not surprised, but I did and loved it 🙂 you can click on series above and it will take you to my review 🙂
Brandi Breathes Books
The world sounds really well done
It is Brandi, she brings it all to life so I feel like I am there.
This sounds like so much fun. Only because when I think steampunk I think fun. 🙂
Anna from Elements of Writing
I loved the gadgets, but the world and characters are my favorites.
I haven’t read steampunk in a while Kim and I can’t even remember the last thing I read that was set in China, alternate history or otherwise, so this sounds like such a fascinating read! I’ll have to go back and read the first one though, I like to start at the beginning:)
Yes, I recommend reading them in order Jenny
This sounds like such an interesting book, Kim! The showing and not telling romance sounds fantastic. I’ll look this one up!
I just love slipping into the world Nick, she brings it to me in stunning 3-D
Wow Kim thanks for this, Jeannie is actually a local author friend of mine. I’ve even met her once. I didn’t know she had a new novel out. Ah my aching TBR pile 😉
Ooo..luck girl and yes this is book two of the series and quite good.
I never would’ve guessed steampunk from the cover. I’ll have to check out the first book.
It has some splendid steampunk elements Lekeisha.
Lillee J. Trueman
Oooh how interesting! I often times like the technique of foreshadowing within period pieces- this shall be an interesting book to read.
I hope you try the series Lillee. I am anxious to see what develops next.
Tyler H. Jolley
Creating a vivid work in the steampunk genre is so much fun. I sounds like she really nailed the world building.
She really did, and I loved the different elements.
Lover Of Romance
oh this sounds so wonderful!!! I have been wanting to read this author so badly. Great story with depth, and with a steampunk element….count me in.
Yes, I hope you try them , I love the world building and characters.
Oh this sounds like a beautiful book. So fun. I haven’t read any historical books set in China.
I am really enjoying this series.
I would be so curious by the universe created there! Plus with a steampunk side, it looks so attracting! I want to try!
I can see you enjoying this series Melliane 🙂