Clockwork Angels is an amazing collaboration between several different artists. It started with the band Rush, who wrote a concept album of the same name. Artist Hugh Syme, Rush cover artist for decades now, expanded on that original album by adding artwork. And author Kevin J. Anderson worked with Rush drummer Neil Peart to develop the story behind the concept album, flushing it out into a full novel.
The story of Clockwork Angels involves the fantastic adventures of Owen Hardy, a whimsical boy working the apple orchard with his father. Nearing his seventeenth birthday, Owen strays outside the path of his ordered and ordinary life, and finds himself swept off into a battle between the forces of order and chaos.
The writing is simple and clean, making this a quick read. I think even teen readers would enjoy it. The formula is a masterful combination of steampunk, traveling in strange lands, and coming-of-age. As the afterword by Neil Peart says, this is not a future dystopia, but an alternate reality. Like the modern times “should have been” as seen from the past, mixed with alchemy.
The plot is pretty light for the first half of the book, but the adventure and exploration of this fascinating world more than make up for it. This would make a great movie. Highly recommended.
Also, keep an eye out for the many Rush song titles sprinkled throughout the text.