Review: Clockwork Pirate by Lyn Gala

Alex hid his unnatural attraction to men for many years. That changes when the pirate Beche takes Alex after capturing his ship. At first Alex believes his fate is death and the only question a matter of how he might die. However, the longer he is on the ship, the more he realizes that Beche hates the world because it is unfair in ways Alex never understood. As Alex begins to respect this strong, independent man, Alex’s dormant desires begin to reassert themselves.

Beche hates the titled classes and their government enforcers. They might have outlawed slavery on paper, but they never came to the islands to free him or his family. Since his skin is black, society has little respect for him. Beche expects no more of this latest captive, but soon Beche begins to realize that Alex is a naïve and beautiful man who values family and struggles with his own place in society. That poses an even larger problem because Beche does not want to send Alex back to a world that will mistreat him, but he has no place for a lord on a ship full of pirates.

Clockwork Pirate is everything I love about steampunk and LG-great gadgets, wildly creative and fantastic characterization. I'm almost starstruck with her range; she's conquered sci-fi, contemporary and now steampunk. If that's not enough to sell you, try this on for size:  GFY and a virgin AND interracial AND AND PIRATES! That concoction right there is full of win. The gift that keeps on giving, I tell ya.

The fact that LG chose an interracial relationship in post Civil War America and that she didn't shy away from the race relations topic made it more compelling somehow. Contemporary issues were deftly woven into a steampunk setting with an injection of swashbuckling adventure all working together to make the experience absorbing. 

Beche is a product of oppression, yet he wasn't depicted as bitter or vengeful, but judged people individually and has an enormous capacity to forgive which spoke volumes about his character to me. His first mate also happens to be the man who wielded a whip against him at the behest of his monstrous father, and Beche considers him family. I'm not sure most could conjure up the ability to forgive to that extent. Make no mistake though, Beche is a pirate captain and capable of ruthlessness, which is how he meets and captures Alex.

"He is so gentle I fear the world will treat him badly."

Alex is tenderhearted and loyal. He sacrifices himself to save his sisters and his crew then finds himself disturbingly attracted to his captor. You see, Alex's father subjected him to aversion therapy for his urning nature, so the hurt runs deep. What I enjoyed most about Alex's character was the dichotomy. He could easily be mistaken as delicate, but he's got a core of steel. He's not worldly by any means despite his margrave title, and he's somehow managed to retain an almost childlike naivete. His sisters, however, do not share these qualities and they both make for entertaining secondary characters.

"Why would you lie with a man? They're rough and unpleasant." She sat up a little straighter. "Of course, I do not include you in that judgment, but really? A man?" Aster appeared more bewildered than accusatory, and the fear in Alex's chest eased some. 

The writing is classic LG. The story is nicely paced, low angst with great characters, enough sexy times to quicken a pulse and outstanding world building. What I found in equal parts puzzling and amusing was the gender labeling thing. I didn't know what to make of it, but, frankly, I found I didn't care because I was enjoying the ride so much. 

Cool gadgets are cool.

If LG decided to expand on this book, I would read more from this world.

If steampunk isn't your thing, it's not overpowering. If steampunk is your thing, get on this already!

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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  1. Steampunk is definitely not my thing! however, Lyn Gala definitely is! So I'm in!

  2. Thank you so much! I will admit that I found Beche's attitudes about gender unusual, but I found that was a pre-colonization attitude in parts of Africa, and I liked that they saw gender so very differently. It gave them wonderful conflicts. This is a new genre for me, and I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it.

    1. Wow! I learned something. I thought it was cute. I think I was overthinking it.

      I did enjoy it if you decide to go down this road again.

      Thanks Lyn.