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Clockwork Lives by Kevin J Anderson & Neil Peart - A Review

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In 2012, Kevin J Anderson and Neil Peart released Clockwork Angels: The Novel, a story about young Owen Hardy, who yearns to escape his quiet life and explore the world.  Three years later, Anderson & Peart have returned to the Clockwork universe and released a companion novel in Clockwork Lives, about Marinda Peake, a young woman who prefers a quiet life with no desire to see the world before events conspire against her. 

That's not the only obvious difference between the two novels, however.  Known for his sprawling epics, Kevin J. Anderson seemed constrained with Clockwork Angels, having to limit the content to appropriately follow the narrative set forth by the Rush album.  With Clockwork Lives, there are no such constraints, and we are treated with a sprawling tale which takes us across the world of the Watchmaker, where Marinda finds herself crossing paths with the Anarchist, the Wreckers, the Carnies, and many other familiar figures from the first novel, including Owen Hardy.   Clockwork Lives is not a sequel to Clockwork Angels, however.  Rather, it's a companion novel in the same universe which actually takes place at the same time and crosses paths with the events in the first novel, and can be enjoyed by itself if you passed on Clockwork Angels.

Clockwork Lives is also an extra special feast for Rush fans.  Like its predecessor, it is loaded with Rush references and lyrics, but to this reader, they were less obvious, more subtle, and therefore more apt to bring a smile when recognized. In addition, Geddy, Alex and Neil are even represented, but I don't want to spoil it…  

A review of this novel would be remiss if I didn't mention the physical nature of the book itself.  The cover is faux oxblood red leather and embossed with gold leaf, and the pages appear to be printed on smooth parchment.   Each new adventure is begun with an all new illustration drawn by Nick Robles, who provided the art for the Clockwork Angels: The Graphic Novel.  It truly is a work of art and is a must-have for anyone Rush fan's library.  Make sure to pick this up before the first edition sells out.  It's fantastic!

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