Clockwork Gypsy (Enchanter Chronicles)
Clockwork Gypsy sees the return of Leopold Kazsmer, a sleight-of-hand performer with the ability to wield true magic. As in the first book of Westerson’s Enchanter Chronicles, set in steampunk London, Kazsmer must save the world, this time from a mysterious railroad cabal, even as he continues to search for his father, struggle with longing and lust for the formidable Mingli Zhao and, last but not least, deal with a tormented cyborg out to decapitate him—the “clockwork gypsy.”
Deftly entwined lines of plot and magic keep the book moving, but Kazsmer himself never gains much appeal, despite his ongoing identity angst. Among other decidedly unheroic traits, he’s just too prissy. The assertive Zhao tends to evoke from him blushes and shocked cries of “Miss Zhao!”
Clockwork Gypsy’s fantastical critters redeem its less interesting protagonist. Westerson masterfully conjures up a throng of gollums and goblins, a tarot-card-reading automaton, demons and daemons, ghosts, faeries, trolls, pixies, a clubroom of ensorcelled men, and the creepy “clockwork gypsy” himself. All mingle and clash in a pseudo-Victorian London replete with bionic body parts, magic goggles, dirigibles, stinky trains, Scotland Yard, dingy theaters, and smog and pea-soup fog.