Author: Kate M. Colby
Book: The Cogsmith’s Daughter
Published: October 2015
Publisher: Boxthorn Press
Aya Cogsmith lives in a devastated wold. Two-hundred years ago, her steam-powered world experienced an apocalyptic flood, followed by a drought that still has not ended. The survivors settled around a moored steamship in a wasteland called Desertera. Their mythology believes that the disaster was caused by a goddess whose mate betrayed her. Since then, adultery has become an unforgivable sin, punishable by death.
King Archon uses this rule to entrap his wives when he becomes bored with them so he can execute them and take a new wife. He is also the tyrant that turned Aya’s life upside down by accusing her father of treason when he could not fix his son’s toy bird. With her father executed, Aya was forced into a life of prostitution until she meets Lord Varick. The king had drawn his daughter into his webs and framed her for adultery. He asks for Aya’s help in stopping him from victimizing any more people. When Aya agrees, she finds herself enmeshed in the intrigues of the palace where she cannot tell friend from foe.
The Cogsmith’s Daughter is a tale of revenge. The premise behind the story is clever. It is set in a dystopian, steampunk universe where steam technology is a distant memory. It is also a coming of age story. Aya matures from a naïve girl to a clever young woman. However, I found the story to be predictable, with Aya blundering into a trap the audience could see from the beginning. The story has a good flow to it and is well written. Yet, it delves into court intrigues and can’t be called a page turner.