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.)