A fast-paced steampunk adventure, Siobhan Ellis
The Clockill and the Thief
September 6, 2020
“Tick-tock, chip-chop, cut out your heart and replace it with a clock, stitch it and sew it and stitch it again, heartless, invincible, with cogs for a brain.”
This is a description of the terrifying Clockill given in the form of a chilling nursery rhyme as featured in the sequel to the award-winning The Traitor and the Thief. Gareth Ward has achieved our high expectations once again. Ward has produced a breathtaking, fast-paced, well-written sequel to his equally stunning first novel. The Clockill and the Thief has not failed in enticing, entrapping, and entertaining the audience.
The fast-paced novel whisks the reader back into the world of Sin; an alternate Victorian London, a city called Coxford, and a country known simply as Britannia. Much like The Traitor and the Thief, The Clockill and the Thief follows 14-year-old Sin as he explores the skies in chase of the escaped traitor, Eldritch Moons. With the aid of his best friend, Zonda Chubb, and frenemy, Velvet Von Darque, Sin sets off on a wild and suspenseful mission to recapture the traitor that has managed to escape COG, Covert Operations Group, custody. The novel trails Sin, Zonda, and Velvet on their thrilling adventure, all the while keeping up with the steampunk theme and exciting plot.
Gareth Ward cunningly weaves in a plot twist that is equally as interesting as that of the prequel. The Clockill and the Thief picks up from where The Traitor and the Thief left off. Opening back in the familiar Lenheim Palace, the audience follows Sin as he is forced to endure the torturously slow, boring lessons that COG states he must attend. The reader has no opportunity to succumb to boredom as Sin is suddenly tasked with recapturing Eldritch Moons, the traitor of whom was revealed in the prequel. Setting to the streets of Coxford in an attempt to discover the whereabouts of the traitor, Sin is acquainted with his old boss, the Fixer. Ward cleverly intertwines past with present as Sin and Zonda roam the streets of Coxford; “disrespecting Sin meant disrespecting the Fixer.” As Gareth Ward clearly explains, Sin still reminisces on some aspects of his past, such as the respect he gained while working for the Fixer. Though Sin, on numerous occasions, seeks to prove his worth to his classmates at the academy, he still sees himself as a good-for-nothing, useless kid from the streets.
Continuing the novel and following Sin is an easy task for the reader as Ward quickly changes the scenery from ground to sky. Taking to the air for nothing more than a lesson, the students of COG’s training academy are instructed to analyse and prepare for life aboard an airship. Sin is not long after confronted by Eldritch and another terrifying yet interesting adventure begins. In pursuit of the traitor, Sin, Zonda, and Velvet battle sky pirates and the horrifying Clockill. As best friends, Zonda and Sin argue, make peace, and forgive. Best friends arguing, making peace, and forgiving is not unusual, it happens between any pair of friends today. Velvet Von Darque being the school bully is not out of the blue either. Bullying is often seen as a way to get by in high school. The characters, despite the imaginative setting in which they live, are easily relatable to the teenagers of today.
The Clockill and the Thief is an overall captivating, easy read. Though the conclusion of the well-anticipated sequel left many questions unanswered, I would recommend The Clockill and the Thief to anyone in search of a fast-paced, exciting steampunk adventure novel.
– Siobhan Ellis is 15 years old and attends John Paul II High School in Greymouth.