This is a first novel by Emma Whitehall, it’s aimed at the Young Adult audience and although I don’t fit this category chronologically, it’s one of my favourite genres. I first met Emma in Newcastle about 8 years ago at “Writers Cafe”. Her lyrical prose and poetry was impressive. Her work often includes mythical beasts and magical doings. Emma works as a bookseller.
Clockwork Magpies is the story of Ida, a young maid by day and by night, a sneak thief known as the Rat Prince (with green tinted goggles) who is terrorising the steampunk City of Loxport. It’s also a story of loss and gain and just how difficult it is to be a teenager. Ida has never had friends but she finds some along the way. It tackles issues of bereavement and unusual parenting in an accessible way. Ida also has to deal with a demanding Gran. The issues of social difference and poverty are well handled.
The book provides a mix of storyline that is not of this world but brings in issues that will resonate with teens of today who might struggle to mix with their peers or sometimes over-share with the consequences that come along with it. There are strong female characters who are treated as equal by some of the male characters with one notable exception. The anti-hero is someone it’s fun to dislike. I really enjoyed the read, it’s great fiction and I hope there is more to come as I’d really like to see how the characters develop. I’d quite like to be a Clockwork Magpie!
Clockwork Magpies is a Northern Steampunk Adventure published by Northodox Press (February 2022) – order in paperback or e-book here
Find out more about Emma Whitehall on her official website
Review by Carolyn Batcheler