Title: The Cogsmith’s Daughter
Author: Kate M. Colby
Series: Desertera #1
Genre: Fantasy (Steampunk-ish)
In a desert wasteland, one king rules with absolute power and unquenchable lust, until the cogsmith’s daughter risks everything for vengeance.
Two-hundred years ago, the steam-powered world experienced an apocalyptic flood. When the waters dried up, the survivors settled around their moored steamship in a wasteland they named Desertera. Believing the flood and drought were caused by a scorned goddess, the monarchs demanded execution for anyone who commits the unforgivable sin—adultery.
Today, King Archon entraps his wives in the crime of adultery, executing each boring bride to pursue his next infatuation. Most nobles overlook King Archon’s behavior, but when Lord Varick’s daughter falls victim to the king’s schemes, he vows revenge.
When Aya Cogsmith was a young girl, King Archon had her father executed for treason. Orphaned and forced to turn to prostitution for survival, Aya dreams of avenging her father’s death. When Lord Varick approaches Aya with plans for vengeance, she agrees to play the king’s seductress—even though it puts her at risk for execution.
Packed with high-society intrigue, dappled with seduction, and driven by revenge, The Cogsmith’s Daughter is a steampunk fantasy novel with the perfect mixture of conspiracy and romance.
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Family, loyalty, revenge, treason, murder, ambition, lust and love are just a few of the facets this fantasy tale ranges over. There’s a bit of seduction, a lot of inequality, plots and plans and politics and secrets and lies, all combining to create an enjoyable tale.
The setting fascinated me. Desertera is a small city state that has grown up around a luxury ocean liner that became stranded in the desert when the water left the world. There are religious reasons for this, which also feed into the plot with the king. The ship has become the royal palace, while four towns have grown up around it – rich Starboardshire, prosperous Portside, hardworking Bowtown and poor Sternville. It’s a fascinating idea that I really loved – even if it did leave me full of questions about the world beyond Desertera, how many people actually live there, how they manage to feed so many and how long their water will last.
I liked Aya. Admittedly, it was hard to work out quite how old she was because she seems curiously untouched by her life as a prostitute and she somehow still manages to retain an air of hopefulness about her future and the success of her plan, but she’s likeable and easy to read about. She’s also a touch naive at times and tends towards passivity, but she fits quite neatly into the wronged innocent category.
The plot itself is fairly straightforward and often predictable – especially where the romance was concerned – but that didn’t stop it from being enjoyable. I’m not quite sure how the king managed to get away with as much as he did for so long, especially considering the number of nobles he must have crossed and the fact each noble seems to have their own guard. He doesn’t seem to have any allies or close friends, which I would have thought would have made him really easy to overthrow – but to be honest this book works best if you don’t think about it too deeply.
If you’re looking for an easy fantasy read with some steampunk elements, an intriguing setting, some political manoeuvring and an easily enjoyable plot, then give this a try. I certainly liked it enough to want to read the next one.
The Cogsmith’s Daughter is Out Now.
Visit Kate M. Colby for more details.