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The Clockwork Raven by Samuel Chapman


For ten years, Karla and Kio have known nothing but Nashido–the castle, floating thousands of feet above a vast ocean, that protects them with a combination of unreliable technology and unfathomable magic. Every day, they tend the massive vines that produce the oxygen they breathe, hunt birds for dinner with spring-loaded spears, and charge the castle’s engine battery by steering through lightning storms. They don’t remember much about when there were other people on Nashido, and the parts they do remember, they don’t talk about. Ever.

One thing keeps them going: Raven, an ornithopter they’re patching together in the hope of one day reaching the surface. Both of them have promised that they’ll set out for land together, or not at all. But then a skeletal winged beast attacks the castle without warning, reminding Karla and Kio how little they know about their flying prison . . . or about one another.

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Listed: Feb 13, 2017

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They have always lived in the castle

By Fiona Gregory, editor

May 19, 2017: Wow. This story is pretty spectacular. A highly original setting, in which right away we are plunged into a crisis – A monster is destroying their floating castle’s water harvesting equipment – almost before we have time to meet the two young protagonists. One seems to be reckless to the point of death-defying, while the other is cautious and thoughtful to the point of paralysis. Yet they have survived in this place alone for many years thanks to mad Leonardo da Vinci like juryrigging skills. Perhaps we’d all be mini-Leonardo’s if our life depended on it. As they hurtle from scrape to scrape, I also feel like they have a fate defying dose of luck – perhaps to balance out the misfortune of being in that situation to start with.

The writing is fluid and error-free, the site is cleanly laid out with some beautiful illustrations, and it has a solid record of consistent updates. This is an impressive serial, and definitely worth your time to check out.Somewhere on the site the author says he was going for the charm and fantasy of a Studio Ghibli cartoon, and it is like that. Yet I’d be lying if I didn’t admit my impressions were mixed, though mainly positive. My reservations about the story are harder to put in words than to praise its resplendent glories, and in fact feel a little petty given all the love and professionalism that have obviously gone into this story. Maybe I was a little frustrated at how slow their backstory was to emerge, or how the things they feared were never what I would be afraid of in that situation (of course, there’s a lot more I’d be afraid of than even the cautious charactor was) – I don’t know. Maybe suspension of disbelief had to be evoked a little too often. Sometimes it seemed a little too glib. But make up your own mind.

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By Sepherohth, member

Apr 3, 2017: Amazing story so far, it does take quite a bit of imagination to get into but rewarding nonetheless. If you’re looking for a story with great potential in world building, look no further, this is a story that grips you if you stick long enough to get on with the pace of story.

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