Clockwork Angels, Lea Hernandez’s followup to Cathedral Child, is something of a departure from the romantic nature of the first book. The same ingredients are included — love, adventure, discovery — but they’re mixed in different proportions, resulting in a gripping chase across the Southwest as the main characters discover their true selves.
Temperance and Amy are traveling from New Orleans to San Antonio. Temper, a young widow, is pretending to be a parlor magician, although she’s really a psychic who can read the thoughts of dead people. She’s been asked to investigate the death of one of the characters from the previous book.
Amy is Temper’s companion from childhood, an orphan with no history. We learn more of her background as she discovers the family she never knew she had, as well as the reason for her unusual speed and other preternatural abilities. As Amy and Temper are pursued by the murderer Sacerdote, their near-death experiences bring them closer together. They come to realize that their love for each other is more than just a deep friendship.
There’s more design interest in this volume than the first, with detailed clothes and settings of the period. I’m also amused by the way that Hernandez’s villains are usually sexist, underestimating the exceptional women who people her books.