Title: Clockwork Mafia (Badlands #2)
Author: Seleste deLaney
Category: Romance- Steampunk
Published: April 29, 2013 by Carina Press
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Inventor Henrietta Mason is retiring from airships and adventuring to return home to Philadelphia. Determined to erase all trails leading to her late father’s duplicity, she dismantles his lab and removes all records of the Badlands gold. While in the city, she can’t resist the lure of a charity gala but winds up regretting the whole experience. Well, everything except a heart-racing dance with a certain U.S. Marshal.
His career and vengeance on the line, Carson Alexander must prove a connection between Senator Mason and the mafia. He lucked out happening across Mason’s strikingly beautiful daughter, only to have her slip through his fingers. On a desperate hunt to track her down, he never expects his search to take him into the brutal Badlands.
With a mechanically enhanced enforcer after them, only Carson knows the extent of the danger they face. He’ll have to win over Henrietta’s trust, and her heart, before it’s too late…
Quick comments: Clockwork Mafia is a fun romantic adventure with a touch of steampunk.
Setting: It’s set in an alternate post-Civil War United States that’s not so united. There’s the Union and to the west the Badlands, which is ruled by its own queen. The Union exiles criminals to the Badlands and it’s a rough and tumble society but one where people are equal, well except the prisoners and the queen and her warriors are quite obviously in charge. I meant equal in that men are not seen as more important than women, a princess can life a ship captain, there aren’t slaves, the societal boundaries that exist in the union don’t hold in the Badlands. DeLaney gives us a unique world. A lot of it isn’t explained, and I’m not sure if that’s because this is the second in the series or she chooses to let us learn about it bit by bit. Either way, I approve. I’m okay with not having everything explained and I hate when authors feel the need to just dump all the information they can about their world on us, like it’s place they’ve been picturing for 20 years and need us to know every detail.
Characters: I love Henrietta. She’s a brilliant scientist and a gifted doctor. she’s been through a lot and is still surviving. She want to fit back into Philadelphia society through most of the book, but we get to see her learn about herself, learn what’s important to her and what she’s willing to give up. Carson is the typical tortured hero. He’s tough with a soft heart, not outstanding but sexy enough. And I do like how he helps Henri see how beautiful and strong she is.
Secondary characters are just that- secondary. We don’t really get much of a feel for them, but I think the first in the series focused on two of them, a princess warrior and an airship captain.
The bad guy is downright scary. A Mafioso who has been “enhanced” by clockworks into an almost unkillable man/machine. He’s evil and cunning and enjoys torturing people.
Romance: This is one of those instant attraction stories, but Henri and Carson fit together well. They both have pain in their past ad similar goals and I believed their relationship.
Plot: The bad guy wants something Henri has. Henri’s bound and determined not to let her father’s research be used for any more evil. Carson want to bring down the mafia no matter what it takes. It turns into more or less a game of tag, with the bad guy chasing after Carson and Henri, but of course our good guys will win. It’s that kind of book. I will say, the story keeps moving, at least for me there were no slow spots.
Even though it’s part of a series with an overall arch, I though it stood alone well. We got enough information to know basically what was going on and an ending that left me feeling satisfied.
Recommendation: Pick this up if you like a bit of steampunk, a sweet romance but no sex scenes, and a great adventure. I actually think it would make a rather cool movie. And the cover is just gorgeous, isn’t it?
The Badlands Series
- Clockwork Mafia