Review: The Clockwork Menagerie by Elliot Cooper

Autosmith Clement Dyer wants to create his life-like, mechanical animals in peace. He's tired of being badgered about selling his business to his long-time rival and former lover, Duke Goodwin. He also craves appreciation for his living works of art.

Unfortunately, not all of Clement's clients see his clockwork creations the way he does, and a prominent but dissatisfied customer threatens to sink his struggling business into the ground.

I love, love, love a well written steampunk story, the language and visuals are so engaging and the subtle fantastical elements make for a fun escape. The Clockwork Menagerie delivered all of that in spades. The author managed to pack a lot of story and character development into 39 pages without the story becoming too “busy” which is where a lot of steampunk can go sideways for me. I like when less is more because quality words don’t need an excess of fluffy accessories. That’s why The Clockwork Menagerie works in 39 pages.

The characters are flawed, likable and charming all at once. I appreciated that very much because it gave an air of reality to a fantasy story making it that much easier to get wrapped up in Clement’s world quickly. The overall arc of disposable commodities vs. art and pride in workmanship is a really accessible theme that makes the crossover from fantasy to reality perfectly here. Reading about Clement’s creations was both fascinating and frustrating. All he wanted was to make his quality creations and support himself and his one employee. He has more ideals and ideas than business acumen and that’s where Duke comes in. Duke is swoonworthy from the beginning and while I should feel the animosity towards him along with Clement, I just couldn’t make it be a thing, I just liked him too much and knew there had to be more to him than Clement’s impressions.

The end is the ultimate HEA for the Clement and Duke. It really couldn’t have been a better outcome. Sure, maybe a little toooo convenient and conflict free, but at that point I was too happy about what was happening to be picky.

For more info on The Clockwork Menagerie, check it out on Goodreads.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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