The fourth book in the Clockwork Century series (including the novellas).
Publication year: 2012
Page count: 366
Rector Sherman has just turned eighteen and the orphanage where he’s grown up will have to kick him out. He doesn’t really know what to do because he doesn’t have many useful skills. So far, he’s mainly conned people out of their money, sold drug called sap, and also used sap himself. He’s also haunted by a ghost of a kid he sent to die. However, that kid wasn’t using sap; Rector helped him get inside the walled city of Seattle. With nothing else to do, on the eve of his birthday, he collects his meager belongings, steals food from the orphanage, and heads to Seattle. He has some notion that he’ll be able to talk straight with the people who make the sap and take a bigger cut – if he survives the Blight gas and the walking rotters.
However, things aren’t that easy. The people of Seattle have divided strongly into groups which don’t really care for each other. The Chinese men, who don’t speak much English, the Doornails who oppose the Stationers. The Stationers are mostly the drug makers and more dangerous bandits. Also, Rector finds out that something else than the walking dead is stalking humans.
Rector isn’t a pleasant POV character and not just because he’s an addict. He’s also always looking to profit himself at the expense of others. He’s also lazy and the only ambition his has is his next fix. And yet, the moral choices he has to make are quite easy and it’s strangely easy for him to get rid of his addiction. There are a few mentions later on that he’s thinking about the next fix but that’s it.
I also didn’t really care for the Inexplicable and was more interested in the other storyline but Rector was more a sideliner in that. However, most of the rest of the cast return and I really enjoy them. It was also interesting to see them from another POV, especially with such a self-centered character and Rector.
Clearly my least favorite of the series but I’m looking forward to the next book.