Escapement follows three separate but intertwining story-lines of Paulina (a village girl with great tele-mechanical powers), AL-Wazir (a british aerostat officer) and Childress (a librarian turned secret order diplomat). These characters make their way by foot, airship or by boat across strange alternate version of Earth. An Earth where a giant 100 mile thick wall divides the northern and southern hemispheres and the moon and planets travel along visible clockwork tracks. (A very good steampunk world)

What’s Good About the Story

The character of Paolina was the only story line that really captured the imagination. Poalina has the ability to create little mechanical watch type objects called “gleams” which allow her to control the world around her. This was by far the most interesting concept in the story and is unfortunate it didn’t come to light until late in the story.

As Paolina travels she has to call on this ability often with deadly affects. She could be called a “mechnopath” someone who can manipulate the mechanical with the mind. Having not read the prequel it is difficult to know what is lacking from not having read Main Spring (Jay Lakes First novel in the series).

A literal clockwork world where the planets travel on tracks and a giant wall spans the equator also adds the the intrigue of the world. The rest of the world is a little boring. There is a clockwork man city along the wall but and a giant fish king town but too much of the world seems to be ground in mundane reality.

The Al Wazir character didn’t  add to the story and Childress character added absolutely nothing.

The Bad

This story is borders on boring. Airship and submarine journeys make for boring story telling and this story is full of them. Eventhough The story has moments of great imagination like Al-Wazir and Boaz(The Automaton) battling an fish king it only makes up a small portion of the actual story. Escapement is written as a second book in a trilogy were nothing is resolved and the characters are brought to their darkest points. Unfortunately the journey to get to this dark point is uneventful and boring.


The story leaves off as Paolina crosses to the Southern Hemisphere and encounters a brass angel. Escapement is a strange story that while limited and slower paced at least incorporates some original elements. The concept of a gleam “an object used by someone with special power that give them telekinetic power over the mechanical (a mechnopath ) was the best part of this steampunk novel.