Let’s talk sanitation for a moment.
Standard sanitation in a cave is that it’s cold in here, there’s not a lot of air circulation, and things don’t tend to break down very fast.
Standard sanitation in a cave near hot lava is that everything I wrote above is not true.
So since the zombie attack of a few days ago was unfortunately close to a lava fall, I find myself hauling gobs of rotten zombie out of the area because whooeee do they stink.
The area where I was working yesterday is splattered with rotted zombie guts.
Even if I was in a civilized location with a fire hose, I’m not sure that I could easily clean this mess up. Here in the middle of nowhere it’s about impossible.
I’ve taken to carrying my piles of ore over to a nearby waterfall and dumping them underneath just to clean the worst of the gristle off and make things less slippery.
This means I am wet and covered with zombie guts most of the time. And that I’m slipping and sliding more often, which is more than a little annoying, especially since it’s not like I’m wearing rubber soles or anything here.
I haven’t even seen anything remotely like rubber here.
Well, maybe the jelly cube monster.
Great, now I’m trying to figure out if I can turn the leftover goo from the cube monster into sneakers, when I should be sleeping.
I dug through a wall and met a zombie horde — about ten of them, including the children.
They chased me up a cliff and I destroyed the stone bridge I crossed.
They then spent the next two hours climbing the cliff, attempting to jump across, and falling to their increasing injury.
Once they’d finally all died, skeletons tried the same thing. But skeletons are generally armed with bows and arrows, so I actually had to shoot them to stay safe.
Still, it was very much the opposite of yesterday and I am glad to be alive and back in my cave.
I don’t know why, but I didn’t see a single monster today.
Now, if I spend the entire day in a well-lit chamber with solid doors, that’s not unusual. But I spent the day mining up through twisty curvy areas and big wide areas, and there was nothing. No rock rats, no skeletons, no exploding giraffe-corgis, no zombies.
Okay so the first thing you need to know, because I tip my biases, is I’ve essentially loved everything that Ursula Vernon / T. Kingfisher has written since Digger was just another webcomic in the list of 100 I hit daily.
That being said, most of the works of hers I’ve read have been in the form of either modern retellings of old fairy tales (of which Bryony and Roses is probably my favorite) or Dragonbreath chapter books (because you’re never too old for good chapter books).
The Clocktaur Wars aren’t like that. Way way not like that.
My understanding is that Ursula Vernon got annoyed about how poorly other people told the “tortured Paladin rejected by his god” trope, and decided to fix it. And fix it she did.
This book has supernatural dealings. It has a pantheon of gods. It has tattoos that bite. It has a very talented forger who I want to be when I grow up. It has a tortured paladin. It has dead demons and live ones. It has romance and tension and cute talking animals and not-cute-at-all terrifying monsters and an ending that had me both going “wait what the FUCK just happened?” and “well of course because that’s the only logical thing that can happen no wait WHAT THE FUCK.”
Oh, yeah, this one is certainly not a chapter book for the kiddies. (Although frankly 12-year-old me would’ve loved it as much as I do now.)
So read Clockwork Boys and love it and then read The Wonder Engine because after the first one you’re not just going to hang on that cliff forever.