Review: Clockwork City by Paul Crilley

“My name is Gideon Tau, but most people just call me London. (Because that’s where I’m from. Get it? Hilarious.)

Three years ago, someone killed my daughter. I sacrificed everything (the human race included) to learn his name – and then had to allow that knowledge to be erased from my mind in order to save the world I’d doomed. Fantastic.

Now I have to start over from scratch, and who do I have to help me find my daughter’s killer? The reanimated corpse of my boss, a low-rent P.I. who’s heavily into conspiracy theories, and my alcoholic, foul-mouthed demonic sidekick dog.

Our journey will take us from Durban, South Africa to London, England, where we’ll have to contend with Fae gangs fighting for territory, the murder-suicide of two Delphic agents and the seven deadly sins.

Oh, and did I mention planning a heist to break into the most secure bank in Faerie? Because that’s on the agenda too. And if we fail? An ancient horned god will destroy London. (The city, not me. Although, to be fair, I don’t think I’ll survive either)”

Thanks given to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Clockwork City is the second book in Paul Crilley’s Delphic Division urban fantasy series. The story picks up pretty much straight after the previous novel Poison City, though I wouldn’t say you need to have read it to enjoy this sequel – everything is signposted to the reader and previous events explained as the story progresses. I have read the first novel, but I couldn’t remember with crystal clarity what had happened so this was a welcome approach by Crilley.

Whereas Poison City was set in South Africa, the majority of Clockwork City takes place in London. Crilley uses this to expand on his worldbuilding and make the novel feel like a different animal to the one before, though some may lament the change of scenery from Durban to London. But Crilley brings a wealth of mythology and supernatural entities to the page, and I enjoyed exploring his world and getting a new angle on how things operate in a different country.

Gideon Tau’s quest to find his daughter remains his core drive, and this leads him to make some questionable decisions (much like in Poison City). I became slightly frustrated by Gideon because he’s aware of what’s he’s doing and that he’s repeating mistakes, yet he does it regardless… it wasn’t a major bugbear, but it did cause me to have diminishing sympathy for him and his quest as the novel progressed. Though his spirit guide Dog remains a standout character.

But the novel is action-packed and races along to a suitably climatic, if abrupt, ending. There are quite a few threads left hanging at the end of Clockwork City, which may work to have you hungering for more, but I personally felt it lacked enough resolution to feel completely satisfying. However, the novel as a whole feels more assured than its predecessor, and fans of the first will find a lot to love here. Crilley’s brand of twisted humour is ubiquitous in this outing and, although it didn’t always land with me or gel with the more emotional and serious parts of the novel, it does add a unique layer to proceedings.

I give Clockwork City three out of five stars.


You can learn more about Paul Crilley here, and Clockwork City is available from here. I read the UK Kindle edition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *