Sandy M’s review of A Clockwork Fairytale by Helen Scott Taylor
Paranormal Young Adult published by Helen Scott Taylor 26 Aug 11
I became a fan of Helen Scott Taylor with her first book, The Magic Knot. Her lyrical writing and amazing imagination give you characters you’ll remember for a long time, along with stories that take you away into a land of magic that dazzles with danger and romance. Her new book, A Clockwork Fairytale, is no exception. The fact that it’s a young adult book makes it that much more endearing, watching a young love blossom in the face of fear and a hunger never felt before.
Melba is running around the city picking pockets and filching food and whatever else is needed to survive — all disguised as a boy. She’s been in the care of Master Maddox her entire life, never knowing her parents or where she comes from. One night she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, and her life dramatically changes. Opportunity has given her the chance to spy for Master Turk, the best in the business, and she’s determined not to waste this moment. Even at 17 she has high aspirations in the spy game, along with a will to get her where she wants to go. This night Turk is her savior, so maybe her luck has already started to change.
Deciding at the last minute to take Mel under his wing, Turk exchanges pledges with the lad and they head toward Mel’s new home, one supplied to Turk by the Shining Brotherhood. It’s not long, however, before things begin to unravel and Turk discovers he’s harboring a girl – who is also the long-lost Princess Melbaline, no longer the abducted child but a young woman now on the cusp of a new life. Knowing his duty is to return Melba to her father, Turk, with the blessing of his master with the Brotherhood, begins to teach her how to be a lady and a princess and also how to bring forth her magic.
Once Melba’s gender is no longer an issue and she’s no longer a candidate for a spy, she begins to see the world differently – first the luxury of Turk’s home and all that comes with it and then Turk himself. Her feelings and emotions are just blossoming and Turk is her knight in shining armor. What she doesn’t know yet is who she is. There are those who would still do what it takes to keep her from the palace, so Turk trains her in secrecy. Their attraction grows over the course of the weeks they’re together, but Turk knows Melba can never be his. Aside from the fact she’s royalty, he’s also never told her he’s a monk with the Brotherhood.
When she learns what Turk has in store for her, Melba wants none of it, only desiring to stay with Turk. But her father awaits and the day comes when Melba returns home at last. And then the trouble truly begins. While she’s known the fear and angst of living from hand to mouth, Melba has never known true fear at the hands of another. Being at the mercy of a man using magic for his own evil gains slowly turns into a nightmare for both Turk and Melba. But love prevails as they work together to right the wrongs that have hung over the royal house for so many years.
In and among this beautiful historical story is Earth magic, the raising of Jinns, a type of earth spirit, that are mostly used for good, but there’s also someone who uses them for ill. Turk is thrown into confusion at the attitude of his master toward his need and want of Melba. Melba is just as confused as to why Turk would rather give her away to duty than stay with her. They take to the rooftops and the underments of the city to race against time and danger. There are inter-related characters who all take on very different personas throughout, quirky to crazy, and they’re all quite interesting. Dante the Trash King is one I especially like.
If you’ve yet to read to Helen Scott Taylor’s Magic Knot Fairies books, don’t bypass the beginning of this new series. Helen Scott Taylor will become a favorite of yours too.
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.
Read an excerpt.