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The Havoc Machine: A Novel of the Clockwork Empire [Kindle Edition]

Steven Harper

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Book Description

In a world riddled with the destruction of men and machines alike, Thaddeus Sharpe takes to the streets of St. Petersburg, geared toward the hunt of his life….

Thaddeus Sharpe’s life is dedicated to the hunting and killing of clockworkers. When a mysterious young woman named Sofiya Ekk approaches him with a proposition from a powerful employer, he cannot refuse. A man who calls himself Mr. Griffin seeks Thad’s help with mad clockwork scientist Lord Havoc, who has molded a dangerous machine. Mr. Griffin cares little if the evil Lord lives or dies; all he desires is Havoc’s invention.

Upon Thad’s arrival at Havoc’s laboratory, he is met with a chilling discovery. Havoc is not only concealing his precious machine; he has been using a young child by the name of Nikolai for cruel experiments. Locked into a clockwork web of intrigue, Thad must decipher the dangerous truth surrounding Nikolai and the chaos contraption before havoc reigns….

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 651 KB
  • Print Length: 399 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0451417046
  • Publisher: Roc (7 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009UYUM50
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #946,001 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of The Havoc Machine 20 Dec. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION’s Alluring Angel – Kathy:
--Actual rating 4.5 Skulls

The Havoc Machine by Steven Harper is a steampunk gem. It is the 4th book in his The Clockwork Empire series, but is written in such a way that The Havoc Machine could be read as a stand alone.

A plague has swept across the world, turning it’s victims into slowly dying plague zombies, with a few victims becoming mad geniuses referred to as clockworkers. Thaddeus Sharpe’s son is killed by a clockworker, and so he dedicated his life to finding and destroying clockworkers and their horrible creations. The Havoc Machine is a fast paced, action filled adventure with an unexpected amount of heartfelt emotion.

I truly enjoyed The Havoc Machine.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great steampunk fueled book 16 May 2013
By Kristina - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Review Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

One of the great things about THE HAVOC MACHINE is the fantastic introduction at the beginning to catch new readers like me up on the previous events of the Clockwork Empire series. While the introduction was a wonderful summary its not necessary the enjoyment and understanding of THE HAVOC MACHINE plot which is a fun classic steampunk adventure story.

Aside from the thrilling adventure and neat steampunk contraptions there are also some interesting ideas on weighing the nature of clockworkers (super intelligent inventors created by the clockwork plague) and their automatons. Are the worthy of being equal to humans since they have their own ideas, free will, and ability to learn and grow? I enjoyed how these questions are molded around Thaddeus' own tragic backstory with his family and his growing relationship with Sofiya and Nikolai.

Thaddeus, Sofiya, and Nikolai all work as a team really well and fill the voids in each other's lives even though Thaddeus is reluctant to do so almost to his own detriment. Thaddeus is a fun character being part clockworker hunter and part sword swallower in a circus. His involvement with the circus plays a huge part in THE HAVOC MACHINE and the number of circus performances featured in this story were bizarre and awesome in a way only a steampunk story with a circus performer as the lead can be.

The various plot twists in THE HAVOC MACHINE were surprising and fun including the identity of the villain. The tone of the story is pretty dark and intense so it comes off as very jarring when the villain is a maniacal, cartoonish, mad scientist like character. While I thought the villain belonged in some other story, THE HAVOC MACHINE is a fun, dark, plot twisty steampunk story and wonderful end to The Clockwork Empire series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, yet fun 21 Feb. 2014
By Angela Darlene Heisserer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book makes you think: What is human. What is not human. It highlights fundamental truths of morality, while taking you on a grand adventure.
3.0 out of 5 stars Just....average. 10 April 2014
By Michelle Orci - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I fell in love with Steven Harper's clockwork empire series pretty recently. I burned through the first three very quickly. I loved the creativity and inventions and locations and the romance was a nice touch too.
The fact that this was more of stand alone or separation from the first three didn't bother me in the slightest. However, it was just....average. Havoc Machine seemed more like a companion to The Impossible Cube more than anything. No stunning display of inventions, just an over abundance of spiders. While it takes place in Russia, it is heavily involved with the circus from the second book. The overall plot was the most average and overdone "machines take over" plot everyone has seen a thousand times.
Harper's writing is as fluid as ever, but the material was just just sub par in comparison to his previous works. As soon as the plot was revealed I struggled to finish the book.
As for a charcters...we don't get any background on Sofiya. Thad's is rather brief and I wish we could've learned more about them. There's a lack of romance but I rather liked that as the book really didn't have any slow moments. Nikolai was an awesome addition. I really like him.

But overall: read it? Sure, if you want. Is it stunning and groundbreaking? No. It's not bad, it's more of a comparison issue from his previous installments.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Havoc Machine 7 May 2013
By H. Grove (errantdreams) - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Steven Harper's The Havoc Machine is the fourth in the "Clockwork Empire" series. However, it sits somewhat apart from the events of the other books, and the opening notes specifically recommend it for new readers who haven't read the other installments. I did find that it stood quite well on its own.

The details of the clockwork plague are captivating: one plague that creates a minor zombie menace, and a much greater two-sided boon/menace in the form of the clockworkers. They create astounding devices that can give their countries great power, but they also lose such touch with their humanity that they become dangerous to those around them. Thad, who hunts and kills clockworkers, is an interesting point of view character as the novel explores the idea of what it means to be a clockworker, and what it means to be an automaton.

Some of the 'secrets' in the story are telegraphed too much, making it difficult to understand why the characters don't pick up on them. Also, I found the tone of the book somewhat discordant: most of the tale is dark and gritty fantasy/steampunk, but the nature of the clockworkers occasionally veers into the silly end of comic-book mad scientist villain territory. Also some of the tsar's choices and decisions felt too convenient to the plot.

The question of free will in the context of automatons arises, but it seems to be handled a little inconsistently. Supposedly certain conditions have to be met before an automaton develops 'sentience' as such (sorry for the vagueness, but I'm trying not to give away plot points), but there are minor automaton characters (such as Dante the parrot) that seem to exhibit such traits without the relevant criteria having been met.

There are some lovely plot twists and ideas in here, and a very nice exploration of the nature of clockworkers as well as the nature of their automatons. There is some minor dark material to be aware of (things occasionally get a bit bloody)--I say this simply so you can decide whether it's a book that suits your tastes. The concept of clockworkers is brilliant, and I love how it's handled. All in all this isn't the best steampunk novel I've read (so far that honor goes to A.A. Aguirre's Bronze Gods), but it's certainly an interesting read.

[NOTE: review book provided by publisher]
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