I have to say, "A Clockwork Fairytale" is exactly as described, priests, magic, doodads, and all. If you are attached to steam punk novels, however, that aspect is only lightly handled here, instead falling into a perception of mechanical fantasy versus strict Victorian science. In all aspects though, I found myself liking it more because of this. The story of Melba and Turk is at times fun, tragic, mischievous, dangerous, and always, heartfelt. The accidental way in which they meet and bond is both cute and fated, their personalities are exceptionally likeable: Melba as a straight-forward, street-tough, softy and Turk as a handsome monk-spy, with a great deal of loyalty and Trouble in him. They are, I'd say, the honest life of the story and very realistic, though the secondary characters and even the main villain (Royal Victualler Vittorio) are so interesting and complex, I actually empathized with them nearly as much as with our protagonists. A great feat for any author, and one of the main reasons I'll be looking forwards to book #2 in the series.
Overall, I found myself enjoying "Clockwork" with its combination of nearly non-stop action, emotive moments, and thinking characters. By this, I mean Mrs. Taylor did not fall into the trap of having a slightly clueless character(s) involved in the story for the purpose of annoying the reader but moving the story along. Instead, I found myself glad that both Melba and Turk- and even the villain!- were given a voice for several chapters, and that the result was always a smart, necessary addition to the story. Besides the actual plot and prose, this aspect of the book's character developments was perhaps the best thing about it, and is something you don't often see work well in other books. So I'd say, if you like a different turn on your fantasy and a nice drama versus just a romance, this would be a great addition to your library. Just be ready for a cliff-hanger ending and an itch for the whole series.
A rags to riches fairytale about a lost princess and a maverick young spymaster who must foil the plans of an evil magician bent on stealing her throne. Full of pickpockets, top hats, tiaras, clockwork doodads, danger and romance.
Suitable for adults and teenagers.