Review of “Clockwork Samurai” (The Gunpowder Chronicles #2) by Jeannie Lin

Lin, Jeannie. Clockwork Samurai. 2015. [United States]: Jeannie Lin, 2017. 

Paperback | $12.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0990946250 | 228 pages | Steampunk

5 stars

Having loved the first book in the series, I was eager to see where it would go next. And Clockwork Samurai did not disappoint, offering a similar blend of the historical and the fantastical. And I must commend Jeannie Lin for tackling a new setting, as she notes there was “very little overlap” (225) between the new research about Japan and her previous research about China, which she wrote about in all her other books. But she takes on the new cultural elements with ease, composing a gripping story about Chinese-Japanese relations during the Opium Wars, as well as each country’s relations with the wider world, directly leading up to Commodore Perry’s arrival in Japan which would end their seclusion policy.

Soling remains a compelling heroine, and I love how the sequence of events causes her and Chang-wei to further explore the intricacies of their relationship, while not dominating the story, allowing the other issues to take center stage. I also like that we see more of Soling’s development, taking on the role of physician and the complications that come from that.

This book (and the previous book) are definite must reads for people looking for a new perspective on steampunk, or those who have an interest in Asian history. Lin has crafted such a well-drawn world and such great characters, it is definitely worth the read, especially as there are plans for further installments in the series.

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