Book Review: Clockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel #2.5) by Karen Kincy

Posted September 7, 2015 by Melissa in Book Review, Giveaway | 18 Comments

Book Review: Clockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel #2.5) by Karen Kincy

Welcome to my stop on the Clockwork Menagerie Blog Tour. I’ve really been enjoying this series and am happy to share my thoughts about this novella below.

Also check out my reviews of the 1st two books by clicking on their covers!


About Clockwork Menagerie

Book Review: Clockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel #2.5) by Karen KincyTitle: Clockwork Menagerie
Series: Shadows of Asphodel #2.5
Also in Series: Shadows of Asphodel, Storms of Lazarus
Author: Karen Kincy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance
Length: 102 Pages
Source: Publisher
Format: eARC
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon
My Rating:

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.

A companion novella to the Shadows of Asphodel series, from Konstantin's point of view.

Book Quote

“The arithmetic of war isn’t pretty. Only the sum matters in the end.”

My Thoughts

Clockwork Menagerie was an interesting chance for a little insight into Archmage Konstantin’s work and his budding relationship with Himmel. I enjoyed both of their characters and was happy to realize that this was their story. As usual Kontantin did annoy me a bit, he just seems way too immature for his age but it didn’t hinder my enjoyemnt of the novella too much.

As usual Karen Kincy’s writing is superb, the plot flowed effortlessly and the descriptives are amazing. I love living in a new world through her eyes and the taste of St. Petersburg that we got in this novella was rich and gorgeous.

The deiselpunk aspects of the story – the technomancy and psychothaumaturgy – boggled my mind just a bit, but it’s easy enough to set ones questions aside and just go with the flow of the story.

Magic is Magic after all.

I love how imaginative the Shadows of Asphodel series is!

The M/M romance in this one was something completely new and a bit outside of my comfort zone. To be honest, although we all knew where these two were headed, I wish there had been a bit more development of their relationship. It just seemed a bit too rushed and inevitable feeling. (I skimmed through the few love scenes that there were…they were relatively short and tastefully done but were fairly explicit.)

I do wish that Kincy had taken a bit more time to delve into the feelings of each of the men regarding the war efforts and the cost involved. Konstantin has a bit of a crisis of conscience toward the end of the novella and Himmel makes some compelling points which I felt would have been a great jumping board to delve a bit deeper into both of their psyches. I was disappointed that Kincy chose not to go there.

And I can’t deny that I missed Ardis and Wendel.

But perhaps that is due to the nature of writing a novella. There’s just never enough time to develop the story as much as in a full novel.

All in all, a strong effort and a solid addition to the Shadows of Asphodel series. I definitely recommend reading Clockwork Menagerie if you’ve enjoyed the first two books in the series.


If you enjoyed this review, please consider liking it on Amazon: Clockwork Menagerie.



Gold Lotus Flower Bookmark that Glows in the Dark from etsy seller Papillon9 (see here)
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Ends Sept. 16th


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About Karen Kincy

Karen Kincy

Karen Kincy (Kirkland, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

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18 responses to “Book Review: Clockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel #2.5) by Karen Kincy

    • Melissa

      LOL Kincy really does a great job with World Building and character development. And then the hot bits are gravy:)

    • Melissa

      Novellas are always a tough read…though maybe a part of the point is so we’ll want to read more and will pick up the rest of the series!

    • Melissa

      They are tough! I think I actually prefer the shorter ones that just show a small snapshot of a “deleted” scene or a different characters perspective rather than ones like this that try to tell a “full” story in a short length.

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