My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's hard to be the second book in a trilogy. You have the "gee whiz!" excitement of new worldbuilding in the first novel, a resolution of conflict in the third, but the second book has to do the heavy lifting with little of the glory.
Despite these limitations, Clockwork Samurai carries the load and advances The Gunpowder Chronicles as the action shifts from China to Japan. Both nations are confronting Western interference, paralleling events in our own world in the 19th c. However in this universe, the Asian powers have airships and mechanical automatons and opium zombies and more.
New characters are introduced, old characters re-emerge, and the excitement is heightened as the groundwork is laid for an East vs. West confrontation in the next novel. Readers are well advised to start with Gunpowder Chronicles #1 while the rest of us eagerly await the next volume.
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