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.