What a super cute steampunkish Rapunzel retelling! The Girl in the Clockwork Tower by Lou Wilham follows Persi, a seer forced to work for the evil and anti-magic MOTHER agency, and quirky goofball, Captain Manu, Persi’s assigned Uprising point of contact in a world filled with all manner of familiar magical people (Mermaids, Werewolves, Unicorns etc) and a few subtle pop culture references peppered in.
I absolutely loved the characters. Persi is super sweet, but shows a lot of courage as she tries to subvert MOTHER from the inside, and Manu is just this dramatic, pineapple-loving dandy airship Captain that you really can’t help but love. I absolutely loved the tongue-in-cheek banter between he and his grumpy goblin first mate, Benard. And Manu and Persi were super cute together—just a heroic pair of cinnamon rolls. And I also really liked that even though Manu and Persi are wholesome and have this innocence to them, the story really didn’t shy away from the horridness of MOTHER.
The only thing that was a little off for me was the pacing. I thought the middle dragged a bit, and then the ending felt rushed—without the full closure I was expecting. It sounds like this is going to be the first book in a series, but I still felt there were some threads of the story that seemed to be left hanging. I would totally recommend to fantasy fans looking for a unique retelling with loveable characters, fun banter, and a clean, sweet romance.
Thanks so much to Booksirens and the publisher for the free ARC!
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Thanks for reading!