Clock the Chaos Mage. A stranger out of time, hidden in the folds of shadow. He is the guardian of Coney Island’s supernatural borderlands, and the only thing standing between our reality and the demons that thirst to destroy it.
Clock’s Watch. An anthology of heroic dark fantasy and terror. Illustrations by Sean Bova, Jay Campbell and MV.
This is a book that at first glance I don’t think I would have normally found myself reading, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Clock’s Watch is a series of short stories centered around a bit of a mysterious character, Clock, who is the warden over Coney Island. Here he watches day after day and night after night for signs of demons having invaded our realm, intent on possessing humans and destroying them.
Though the stories could each be read on their own, read in sequence they paint an overall progressive picture of some of Clock’s time as guardian and we get to know just a little bit more about this mystery man. But really the main focus of the stories are these other characters that come and go. Through them we get to see life in this area through its residents. What are their hopes and dreams? What is important to them. How do they live? These are some of the things we get to see explored in these shorts. In a way, this felt like a little bit of a love letter to the area and its people. It felt very slice of life in some ways–at least until the demons showed up.
This is very much a dark fantasy and there’s no holding back from the violence and gore inflicted by the demons. Good people die. Clock can’t save everyone and you get the feeling that it eats at him just a bit. But after being around a while maybe it’s resigned to the fact and is focused instead on making sure he can catch the demons before they unleash too much into the world. But don’t go into this expecting it to be fun and light. It is a quick read, in part because of the length but also the pacing is great, but it’s not light and airy. In a lot of ways I felt like the stories were somewhat introspective as well.
One of the things I liked most about these stories is the prose itself. It has such a lovely rhythm to it and made for a great reading experience.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed these shorts. Honestly, this really isn’t something I normally would have expected myself to like as much as I did. I would recommend Clock’s Watch to lovers of dark fantasy, or folks that maybe want something a little different. 4/5 stars.
Many thanks to the author for providing a copy for review. This did not affect my opinion of the book or my review.