Audiobook Review: Clockwork Tangerine by Rhys Ford

The British Empire reigns supreme, and its young Queen Victoria has expanded her realm to St. Francisco, a bustling city of English lords and Chinese ghettos. St. Francisco is a jewel in the Empire’s crown and as deeply embroiled in the conflict between the Arcane and Science as its sister city, London—a very dark and dangerous battle.

Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, stumbles upon that darkness when he encounters a pack of young bloods beating a man senseless. Westwood’s duty and honor demand he save the man, but he’s taken aback to discover the man is Robin Harris, a handsome young inventor indirectly responsible for the death of Marcus’s father.

Living in the shadows following a failed coup, Robin devotes his life to easing others’ pain, even though his creations are considered mechanical abominations of magicks and science. Branded a deviant and a murderer, Robin expects the viscount to run as far as he can—and is amazed when Marcus reaches for him instead.

Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Listening Length: 2 hrs 10 mins

In a world where the Victorian British Empire extends to San Francisco and magic and science uneasily exist side-by-side, Marcus Stenhill, the Viscount of Westwood, lives a lonely existence. A member of the high aristocracy, Marcus suppresses his attraction to men and tries to be the upstanding man his family expects him to be.

When Marcus saves a man in a dark alley from his attackers, Marcus is immediately aware of the man’s beauty. But when he discovers that the person he rescued is Robin Harris, the hated “toymaker”, he isn’t sure what to think. As a teenager, Robin was forced to create weapons for a group of plotters attempting to overthrow the government. Though there are many hurdles between them, Robin and Marcus soon fall for each other.

The audiobook for ‘Clockwork Tangerine’ is narrated by Greg Tremblay, and as always it was a delight to listen to. The narrator does an excellent job of bringing life to each character by choosing voices that fit with the character’s personality. The pacing was good as well, and I had no trouble immersing myself in the story.

Steampunk isn’t a subgenre that I read often, but I tend to enjoy it. The mix of technology, history, and, in this case, magic, makes for an entertaining read. Rhys Ford does an excellent job with the world-building. Though this is a very short book, the author is able to vividly portraying how Victorian society would look like if it included advanced steam-powered machinery, along with the rigid class system.

The romance is sweet. Marcus is very much so a knight in shining armour, while Robin is his gentleman in distress. I’m clearly a sucker for that trope, because I was smitten by Marcus the moment he swooped in to save Robin.


The romance is also very much so insta-love. It doesn’t take long for Marcus and Robin to fall for each other. Even though Robin’s technology was used to kill Marcus’ father, Marcus readily forgives Robin, and his only concern is how to build a future together. The two worked well together, and I couldn’t stop myself from ‘aww’-ing a few times.

As cute as Robin and Marcus are together, their jump from strangers to lovers was a bit jarring. In this very short book, days and weeks pass by in a few sentences, so until near the end, it’s more showing than telling. Though the the world-building was enjoyable, it took up space that could have been used to focus on Marcus and Robin.

Even so, this was an entertaining MM steampunk romance. If you’re looking for a sweet romance with a comfort/healing undertone, give ‘Clockwork Tangerine’ a try.

Check out on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads!

Did you see our group unicorn review for this chat book? See here.

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