Release Date: December 1, 2015
Genre: Steampunk | China-Japan
National bestselling author Jeannie Lin’s Gunpowder Chronicles continue as a woman left adrift by the fall of a Dynasty attempts to reclaim her family’s honor...
As a physician, Jin Soling can see that the Emperor is cracking, relying on Opium to drown his troubles. The Ch’ing Empire is failing, and war with the British is imminent, but the man to whom Soling was once engaged has a bold idea to save it.
A leader within the Ministry of Engineering, Chang-wei suggests an alliance with Japan, whose scientists claim to have technical advancements that could turn the tide of the war. But Japan has kept itself in isolation for the last two hundred years, cutting all diplomatic ties with the Ch'ing Empire. Chang-wei must enter the island nation in disguise to seek an alliance—an alliance forbidden by the Japanese shogunate.
Seeking to escape the politics of the imperial court, Soling arranges her own passage on the airship to Japan. But once they land, Chang-wei and Soling become targets of the shogunate's armored assassins. Caught between two empires, in a land distrustful of foreigners, the deadly war machines are the least of their worries.
The novel opens with Soling, now a member of the Emperor's household as one of his primary healers. This is definitely a step-up for our heroine, but not without its downsides for Soling finds herself in a viper's nest. Having easy accessibility to the Emperor incites envy in the court and our heroine isn't the type who revels in this kind of war.
It's great that CLOCKWORK SAMURAI didn't dally in court life and proceeded to give us a stealthy and tension-filled adventure. Just the same, JLin is generous in giving us big servings of Chinese and Japanese culture especially the bits concerning Samurais. More of Soling's father is revealed in this installment which makes him more legendary IMO. The engineering aspect is also fascinating but very simplified. I also enjoyed how the relationships are portrayed especially Soling's slow crawling love life. Gah!
Like I mentioned before, The Gunpowder Chronicles isn't a supernatural fantasy and it only has a pinch of Steampunk in it. The series isn't propelled by steam engines, gears and clockworks like other books in this genre. Instead, it's a great historical adventure story filled with intrigue, it's very diverse which I find very authentic to the culture it represents. Aside from the lack of overwhelming gadgetry and talk of science, the romance is such a slow burn like Mulan but not frustratingly so. So if you're looking for something to shake up your reading pattern filled with whirlwind romances and dizzying action, The Gunpowder Chronicles just might be the perfect palate cleanser for you.