Escapement by Jay Lake
Her Imperial Majesty Queen Victoria still rules New England and her American Possessions; The Royal Navy rules the skies with their mighty airships; and earth still turns on God’s great brass gears of Heaven.
Paolina Barthes has grown up in a tiny village on Wall inhabited by the descendants of shipwrecked Portuguese sailors, isolated from the rest of the world. Yet she is a genius, another Newton, a natural sorcerer in this Universe of God's Clockwork. And when a boy who survived the wreck of the airship Bassett shows here a pocket watch, it opens her brilliant mind to a world of possibilities. She builds a device that even she barely understands, but which can change or rebuild the entire world”
When I first asked to review Mainspring and Escapement I thought they were part of an ongoing series (which they are) and needed to be read in order (which is necessarily the case). The world that Jay Lake envisions in Mainspring is used once again in Escapement but the book can be read as a stand alone novel, although I would recommend reading Mainspring first to avoid missing any information at all.
Escapement picks up 2 years after Mainspring ended and it was nice to see that there was an direct influence of an accident from Mainspring that was the main drive in Escapement. In Escapement the storyline follows the adventures of three people: Paolina, a smart kid termed Newton-like intelligent; Al-Wazir, a former rope commander on the airship The Bassett and Childress, the librarian that send Hethor (in Mainspring) on his adventure to find the Key Perilous. The three storylines run separately at the beginning of the book but become intertwined at the end. Lake manages to get the dialogue of his characters just right (be they Chinese, Scot, German or English) and it made me feel like I was right there next to them. The background of the characters and countries from which they came really added depth to the book, and this was an improvement upon Mainspring, where Hethor was the only character with a goal.
In Escapement Paolina discovers a machine that she terms the Gleam, a machine which had tremendous powers and that can be used for either good or bad. Jay Lake mentioned the Chinese sparingly in Mainspring but in Escapement their factions and their goals are explored in greater detail. The major factions, the British and the Chinese are at war with each other, separated by the Wall. Within both the British and the Chinese empires are followers of the avebianco and The Silent Order, both of which want to capture Paolina and her power of Gleam. With the elaboration on the factions and the avebianco and The Silent Order there is more interest and intrigue (it gets really political) in Escapement than there was in Mainspring.
Escapement is a good addition to the Mainspring Universe created by Jay Lake in his first novel Mainspring. He continues with its world building and the elaboration on certain events and the factions from Mainspring makes some pieces of the puzzle come together. Escapement has a good plot and solid - and occasionally funny - characters. I recommend it highly.
This Escapement book review was written by Jasper de Joode
All reviews for: Mainspring Universe
Mainspring Universe: Book 1
Mainspring Universe: Book 2
Have you read Escapement?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Escapement reader reviews
8.8/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Perdido Street Station
The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and mutants and arcane races throng the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the rive...
The Anubis Gates
Brendan Doyle is a twentieth-century English professor who travels back to 1810 London to attend a lecture given by English romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This is a...
The City and the City
When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Besźel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector T...
The Difference Engine
William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
The computer age has arrived a century ahead of time with Charles Babbage's perfection of his Analytical Engine. The Industrial Revolution, supercharged by the developm...
A colossal fantasy of incredible diversity and spellbinding imagination. A human cargo bound for servitude in exile... A pirate city hauled across the oceans... A hidden mi...
The Aeronaut's Windlass
Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have rule...
It is a time of revolts and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and riot...
The Mensch with No Name
Edward M Erdelac
The Merkabah Rider continues his journey across the American Southwest of 1880 in search of the renegade teacher who destroyed his mystic Jewish order in the second volume ...
The Shadow Conspiracy
1816, the year without a summer. A group of geniuses descended on Geneva and, in an attempt to save the body and mind of Lord Byron, perform dreadful and forbidden experime...
The Weavers of Saramyr
An evil that comes from within the empire's centre, a sect of magicians close to the throne intent on killing any child born with magical powers. But now the empress ha...
The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats
Sir Richard Francis Burton's expedition has returned from the future, bringing with it knowledge of technologies that must remain secret if history is to proceed as it ...
The Good, the Bad and the Infernal
One day every hundred years, a town appears, its location and character different every time. It is home to the greatest miracle a man could imagine: a doorway to Heaven it...
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man
A clockwork man is abandoned in Trafalgar Square. A ghost displays a craving for diamonds. A lost aristocrat returns ten years after being lost at sea and instigates riots ...
Sea of Ghosts
When the last of the Gravediggers, an elite imperial infiltration unit, are disbanded and hunted down by the emperor they once served, munitions expert Colonel Thomas Grang...
With his patients dead and his genetic research in tatters, Dr. Anton Springmann fled his homeland as a fugitive, taking a one-way diesel ship to New Alania. But within hou...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Journey to the Black City
On an Earth that is very much like our own, the civilizations of ancient man have been crushed; the giant glaciers that cover the northern part of the globe continue, even now...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of airships and steam engine...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...
Dead Men Naked
After the sudden death of his best friend Neil, involving a 6-foot giant crow and quite some Tequila, Lou’s life takes an unexpected turn towards the impossible. As L...
Age of Assassins
Girton Club-Foot, apprentice to the land's best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But their latest mission tasks him and his master with ...
A Conjuring of Light
The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empi...