When she was 7, Everley Donovan witnessed the murder of her entire family. She was rescued from the same fate by her Uncle Holden, a clockmaker, who buys her more time by making her a clock heart.
Now 17, Everley hungers for revenge; when Gov. Killian Markham—the man who murdered her family in cold blood—walks into her uncle’s clock shop one day, she knows she must seize the moment. Everley slips out of the house later that night and challenges Harlow, a streetwalker, to a duel in exchange for information about Markham’s whereabouts. When her plan goes awry and they get arrested, however, Everley rejects the opportunity to evade punishment, lies about her identity, and gets sentenced to seven years in a penal colony. Everley is shackled aboard a ship to the accursed Dagger Island alongside other female convicts—part of achieving her goal of avenging her family’s deaths. Almost all the characters are white. King’s (The Warrior Queen, 2018, etc.) innovative plot and complex storyline are unfortunately hampered by characters who lack depth and development; Everley, in particular, displays a blank personality, and, as a result, the relationships between characters seem forced.
Despite its flaws, readers who enjoy plot-driven narratives will eagerly look forward to the second book in the series. (Fantasy. 13-18)