The Clockwork Sky, Volume One (Clockwork Six)
by Madeleine Rosca
Cover Artist: Madeleine Rosca
Review by Gayle Surrette
Tor Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765329165
Date: 04 September 2012 List Price $10.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Steampowered automatons, built by Ember Corporation, are taking jobs from the working class. With no jobs, there are no wages, and thus no food or housing. People are desperate and there's rioting in the streets. Rioting that's barely being contained by the police who have recently put a new 'intelligent' automaton, Sky, on the force.
Meanwhile the upper classes are thrilled to not have to deal with the lower classes, who they see as beneath their notice, dangerous, diseased, and sneaky. Hence the move to replace all their servants and workers with automatons.
Sally Pepper, a very adventurous and daring young lady, is now under the guardianship of her uncle, Erasmus Crouch, after the death of her parents. Erasmus also has taken over the running of Ember Corporation with the loss of his partner, Sally's father. Her uncle expects her to act as a young lady should and in essence never be seen or heard unless he wishes her company for some publicity reason.
Sally rebellious nature requires more scope than the role society has for her. She ends up being in the right place at the wrong time to learn that there is something very wrong at Ember corporation.
The interior artwork is black and white. Characters can be a bit confusing, but the major characters tend to stand out in the action. The art and text work together to move the story along. Astute readers will figure out what's happening at the factory by the mid-point of the book but there is still the story of how it happened and what will happen when word gets out.
This is a good beginning to a interesting series with a strong female character featured prominently.