Review: The Impossible Cube by Steven Harper

The Impossible Cube (Clockwork Empire #2) by Steven Harper
Mass Market Paperback, 380 pgs.
Published May 1st, 2012 by Roc
Source: Publisher
In an age where fantastic inventions of steam and brass have elevated Britain and China into mighty empires, Alice Michaels faces a future of technological terrors…

Once, Gavin Ennock sailed the skies on airships and enchanted listeners with his fiddle music. Now, the clockwork plague consumes his intellect, enabling him to conceive and construct scientific wonders—while driving him quite mad. Distressed by her beloved’s unfortunate condition, Alice Michaels sought a cure rumored to be inside the Doomsday Vault—and brought the wrath of the British Empire down on them.

Declared enemies of the Crown, Alice and Gavin have little choice but to flee to China in search of a cure. Accompanying them is Dr. Clef, a mad genius driven to find the greatest and most destructive force the world has ever seen: The Impossible Cube. If Dr. Clef gets his hands on it, the entire universe will face extinction.

And Gavin holds the key to its recreation…

This is the second book in a series but the author posted a brief chapter in the beginning about “The Story So Far” so that those who needed a reminder or who hadn’t read the first one knew what was going on.  I really liked this because then there wasn’t a ton of back story presented through out the book to remind us and cut down on the parts that might bore those that did remember the previous book quite well.  I hope this is something that authors (and publishers) do more of in the future because I thought it worked well.  
I loved the first book in this series and felt like this was an excellent follow-up.  I’m a huge fan of Steampunk but this is definitely one of my most favorite series of the genre.  I feel like it’s completely unique and the Steampunk inventions are completely awesome but the characters are also ones I could connect with and enjoyed reading about.  The action was non stop and putting the book down was rather difficult as it felt like they were in constant peril.  But it was such a fun and crazy ride!   

If you’re considering giving Steampunk a try I really feel like The Doomsday Vault was a great book for beginners.  It never felt overwhelming like some Steampunk does with all the fabulous and crazy inventions.  The world wasn’t so over the top but yet lent a unique perspective of things.  Somehow the author made zombies something that doesn’t seem so hard to imagine without making it a plot point that takes over the story.  The Impossible Cube was a bit heavier in the Steampunk aspect (at least that’s how I feel) but never was too heavy for my tastes.  I’m not one that has to understand how everything works though and if I was I may have felt a bit confused because I honestly do not understand all the crazy inventions (like the impossible cube) and how they really work.  

I have to point out that this series may have crossover appeal to more mature YA readers as well.  There’s some cursing but honestly there’s not really anything in the book that I haven’t read in YA books.  And adult fans of historical or alternate history historical as well as Steampunk (of course!) should most definitely give this series a try.

5/5 stars!

Disclosure:  I received this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
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  1. Oh, yes! I think this is what i need!! I’m really digging the Steampunk genre. Throw in a few zombies and I’m there. I like how it’s not overwhelmingly steampunk-y, too. Sometimes the authors get waaayyy too excited about all the gears and gadgets.

  2. Hmmm… I don’t think I’ve heard of this series before, but I think it’s cool that this book opened with a quick summary.

    I haven’t really taken to Steampunk like I hoped I would of, but there seems to be some really good gems out there, like this one that doesn’t feel overwhelming. And I think it was smart on the author’s part to appeal to a wider audience.

  3. I’ve never heard of this series before, but it sounds intriguing! And I like it when author add “The Story So Far” page too. I personally don’t have time to reread books, so I do appreciate the short recap.

    Great review!

  4. Everytime I walk past book one in this series at the store I think oh Candace loves this book I should get it. Then I never do and I still haven’t given this series a chance. Well with book two now out to the public or out very soon I shall have to try harder to pick up the first book.

    Thanks for another great review, glad to see you are still in love with this series. I’m also glad that you feel it has a wide cross over appeal. :)

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