The Impossible Cube blew me away! It was even better than the explosive Doomsday Vault.
There are only few steampunk series so far that really impressed me, and Clockwork Empire is one of them. Non-stop crazy adventures, complex and extremely entertaining world-building, fantastic team of main and secondary characters, and gadgets, gadgets, gadgets...
In book one Gavin and Alice release cure for the clockwork plague in London, but it doesn't help Gavin whose illness progresses with a much faster pace than normal because of Alice's aunt experimentation on him. Young man experiences more and more episodes of clockworker brilliance when his mind races at an inhuman speed inventing dangerous and brilliant constructions. While he is in his fugue as they call it, he is nasty, unreasonable and very aggressive. When he comes back to himself he doesn't remember what he said or done and how much time he lost, how much he might have hurt Alice...
Alice carries her own cross or shall I say, mechanical spider, which attached itself to her hand in London and now transforms her blood which she sprays at clockwork zombies as a cure. She is undernourished, weak, suffers from constant blood loss and heartache, because she can't help everyone.
Alice, Gavin and their motley crew are on the run from lieutenant Phipps after destroying Doomsday Vault and all the chances of British Empire to win against China. Their goal is to get to China and seek one of their dragonmen (clockworkers) to try and cure dying Gavin. But Phipps is so close that the fugitives decide to hide in a travelling circus on the way to extremely unstable Ukraine ruled by clockworkers and their war machines.
So there is this crazy chase, Ukrainian villains, possible time warp and the destruction of the universe... No pressure and all in good fun, of course! Powerful insane imagery and wild adventure, grab and read it, don't miss this little gem!
I read this almost immediately after the first in the series, thoroughly enjoyed both books and I'm looking forward to the next installment. Well defined characters that I care about, in a world of unusual situations, what's not to like.