Clockwork Heart

RT Book Reviews’ 2008 Winner: Best Small Press Contemporary Futuristic Novel
Named one of the 5 steampunk novels to read in Summer ’09 by Library Journal
Listed as an Enduring Romance Best Reads of 2009.

CHMediumTaya soars over Ondinium on metal wings. She is an icarus — a courier privileged to travel freely across the city’s sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. But even she can’t outfly the web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and intrigue that snares her after a daring mid-air rescue. Taya finds herself entangled with the Forlore brothers, scions of an upperclass family: handsome, brilliant Alister, who sits on the governing council and writes programs for the Great Engine; and awkward, sharp-tongued Cristof, who has exiled himself from his caste and repairs clocks in Ondinium’s lowest sector. Both hide dangerous secrets, in this city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart…

Publisher: EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing
Buy from Amazon.Com
Available in German from Feder & Schwert
Available in French from Eclipse/Panini Books France
Audiobook version now out from Brilliance Audio

Clockwork Heart (Clockwork Heart, #1)


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Reviews & Reader  Comments:

“…a fascinating read and mystery” — Gail Carriger, author of The Parasol Protectorate series.

“A well-realized world” (Lee MacFadden) with “memorable characters” (J. J. MacFadden) — Bristol Herald Courier, March 16, 2014.

“[Clockwork Heart] reaches a satisfactory conclusion leaving the reader eager for more. Clockwork Heart would appeal to fantasy readers who enjoy adventure and romance mingled with a touch of off-beat steampunk.” — The Manitoba Library Association (2013)

Recommended. “Pagliasotti has brought forth a terrific novel, one that embodies a bold new direction in the fantasy genre. For those who enjoy the work of China Mieville or D.M. Cornish, here is another name to seek out on the bookshelves.”Drew Bittner, SFRevu

5 Stars. I must say, my little steampunk heart is just thrilled with this newest offering. It’s an off-world story and the author has done a fantastic job with the world-building.”Elizabeth Headrick, BookFetish.Org

5 Stars. Clockwork Heart is the best YA fantasy–the best book–I have read in a long time. Pagliassotti is now one of my new favorite authors, and I’ll look for any other book she comes out with.”Cheryl Rainfield, CherylRainfield.Com

4.5 Stars. “Escape to the fantastic and captivating three-tiered city Pagliassotti has created. The plot is intricate and has multilayered characters who perplex, entertain, and gratify. This is a wonderfully written book — one for the keeper shelf.” Romantic Times

4 Stars. “If you’re looking for traditional epic fantasy, this is not it. If you are willing to try something that carries hints of fantasy with no real magic or knights in shining armor, then this is worth the trip.”John Hulet, FantasyLiterature.Net

“I read all the Hugo nominees for 2008, and I like several of them very well, but when it comes to texture, storytelling and originality Clockwork Heart blows them all out of the water.” — Mary Fitzpatrick, Flying Whale Productions

“There’s a difference between a book that’s great, and a great book that combines elements in such a way that it actually has a shot at being nominated for such a prestigious distinction. Dru Pagliassotti’s CLOCKWORK HEART is one such book.” — Heather Massey, The Galaxy Express

“CLOCKWORK HEART by Dru Pagliassotti was a treat to read. In fact, since finishing it I’ve found myself flipping back to reread my favorite parts, always a sign of a good book.” — Tia Nevitt, FantasyDebut.

“CLOCKWORK HEART is a beautifully written adventure. The world is so original that it’s a breath of fresh air. The author uses brilliant description and vivid characterizations to draw the reader into the story so deeply as to have them feeling the crunch of the road beneath their feet and the wind sweeping beneath metal wings.” — Ansley Cooper, Romance Junkies.

“Clockwork Heart is an absolutely fascinating, highly original, thoroughly memorable romantic fantasy, and one of the best books I’ve seen out of the Juno line to date. The clockwork city of Ondinium has a steampunkish retro-nifty vibe to it, and I was utterly intrigued by the way the setting was presented. A city on the verge of technological explosion, obsessed by clockwork gears and early analytical engines, like something Nikola Tesla and Charles Babbage might dream up after a heavy drinking session, where metal-winged couriers flit from one area to the next . . . what’s not to like? The imagery involved makes for brilliant spectacle.” — Michael M. Jones, The Green Man Review

I don’t know if it was the technological slant of the book or the romance that hooked me, I suspect it was a little of both, but I thought it was very well done.” SQT, Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin’ Book Reviews

“With a nod to hi tech (punch cards?) science fiction, the heart of CLOCKWORK HEART is a wonderful amateur sleuth fantasy.” Harriet Klausner, Alternative Worlds

“As the book progressed, the world got bigger and bigger, the technology became more and more interesting, the politics got increasingly more complex, and my perspective was constantly affected by snippets about the history of the world and by the different opinions of the characters. The interactions between different castes had me fascinated and I’m very curious about the world outside Ondinium,” — Leila Roy, Bookshelves of Doom

“I’m sitting here trying to think of someone I wouldn’t recommend this book to and I’m coming up blank.”Angiegirl, Angieville

“I can wholly recommend Clockwork Heart for someone looking for a good read…”Lys Rian, I Read What?

“This is a unique story which crosses the fantasy/romance barrier.” — Leanne Davis, Fresh Fiction.

“Fans of solid fantasy, steampunk or writers like China Miéville (though not quite as intense or quirky) will like this. Highly recommended.” — Doug Knipe, SciFiGuy.

“The two main male and female characters were great although Chris won out as my favorite of the two.  There were so many wonderful little details worked into his character that made him endearing even if he was “very rarely sweet” in conversation.”The Book Bark!

“From the start of this book I was hooked, eagerly turning pages to find out what happened next and to learn more about the interesting world.” — Helen Hancox, Curled Up With A Good Book.

“At the heart of this story is an unassuming romance between Taya and the outcaste Christof. As Taya fell for Christof, I did as well. All of his oddness made him an endearing character. Taya herself is a root-for character. She makes mistakes, she sometimes thinks too much with her heart, but she is strong, brave and unknowingly charming.” — Brie, Musings of a Bibliophile.

“Already one of my favorite reads of this year, I think it’s a shoo in for my best of 2009 list. This combines fantasy, steampunk, romance, action, and intrigue into something new and fresh.  If you are the least bit interested go find this book. I was so addicted I just read this straight for hours and when I came up for air I was disoriented about how much time had passed.” — Janicu, Janicu’s Book Blog

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti is an intriguing tale that pulls you into a fantasy world that is unlike any other.” — Tammy, Fallen Angels Reviews (5 angels)

“The tone, the tension, the world-building, the pace, the character relationships, the way the society is set up, everything about this book was perfect!” — Amy C., Romance Book Wyrm.

Eoghann Irving, editor of Solar Flare, lists Clockwork Heart as one of the 10 Steampunk Novels You Ought to Read.

Clockwork Heart made The Book Smugglers’ Ana & Thea’s Most Excellent Books of 2008 list and Fantasy & Sci-Fi Lovin’ Blog‘s Best of 2008 list.

Read the reader reviews at Amazon.Com.

Press & Interviews:

Nine Day Wonder: Author Spotlight: “Dru Pah … Pahl….”

Ventura County Star: “CLU Bookworm Writes a Novel

BookFetish.Org: “On Wings of Ondinium: A Q&A with Dru Pagliassotti

FantasyLiterature.Net Interview

Travis Heerman Interview

Miscellaneous Facts

Clockwork Heart was written for National Novel Writing Month, 2004

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that features steam engines rather than spaceships. It’s classically set in the Victorian period, although books like Clockwork Heartmove the subgenre into fantasy settings.  Read The New York Times’ article about steampunk.

• The city name “Ondinium” is a thinly disguised version of “Londinium,” the Roman name for London, and descriptions of Ondinium’s pollution were based on descriptions of the smoke that hung over industrialized London.

• Many people think Clockwork Heart must have magic in it because it’s billed as a fantasy, but the only “magic” in the novel is the existence of the lighter-than-air metal ondium that allows icarii to fly.

• Cristof Forlore was inspired by all those “glasses guys” in anime and manga.

• You can buy a print of the cover art, “Her Clockwork Heart,” from artist Timothy Lantz. His art was also used in the German edition.

• Clockwork Heart gets a parodic nod in Wondermark’s Electro-Plasmic Hydrocephalic Genre-Fiction Generator 2000 under “a young { flying messenger courier.” Too bad all the sidekicks are female; where’s the “sarcastic male techno-geek”?

Original Juno Books cover