I received a complimentary copy of this book for use in my review. All opinions are my own.
Quick Summary of ClockWorkers by Ramsey Isler. Samantha Chablon is a self-proclaimed “gadget girl”. She runs the family watch repair shop while her eccentric old father spends his days researching fantastical stories of elves. Sam loves her father, but his odd habits have always been a mystery and a burden on the family. But that all changes after her father dies, and she discovers what he left for her. Sam has inherited a real elf. Piv is his name, and he is far older than his boyish face and personality would imply. But he's also wise, and as an elf he is gifted with a preternatural proclivity for making things. Sam's father taught Piv everything he knows about making watches, and he works faster than human hands could ever move. Sam, being much more enterprising than her father, sees opportunity in Piv's talents. Soon Piv is not the only elf working for Sam as she goes about building a luxury watch empire powered by secret elf labor. But the elves have remained hidden from humans for good reason, and it's not easy to keep a factory full of territorial elves secret in the middle of a metropolis. One night when someone attempts to break into the factory, the elves take matters into their own hands. The incident gives Sam a glimpse of a dark and twisted side of elves that no fairy tales ever mentioned. Samantha will soon discover that great ambition often comes with great risk, and although her elf partners have agreed to work without pay, there are other costly consequences involved in striking a deal with elves.
ClockWorkers offers darkness--but, not horror. At first, I really thought that this book would be closer to a horror story than a fantasy--but, it doesn't go quite that far. It is a darker elf fantasy than many. It comes closer to old-school fairy tales--where the endings aren't happy and the action isn't quite suited for bedtime reading.
ClockWorkers was not what I expected. Most modern fantasy books have a clear cut good vs evil storyline--with obvious villians and heroines. This book's lessons were served a little deeper. While Sam is cast as the "heroine" in Isler's tale--she isn't an endearing one. This book has moral dilemmas, and Sam's responses are not always heroic. While I didn't like the main character, I think that made me enjoy the book more as the actions, adventures and responses were not always predictable.
Would I recommend ClockWorkers by Ramsey Isler? I liked this book--even though it's a little darker than my usual fantasy favorites. I do think it's themed and intended for young adults. Even if the dialogue and text is a little simpler at times, I wouldn't recommend it for the younger set. If you enjoy fairy tales with a twist--ClockWorkers may be a great summer reading list addition.