I cheated a little with this book. Once I was drawn in to Boneshaker, I had a feeling I was going to continue reading the series, so I requested this volume from the library before I went out of town on a trip so I could continue reading it without interruption. I saw the Clementine mentioned in the pages of Boneshaker and paid attention to them, since I knew the next book would feature the ship and its crew.
Clementine follows the events of Boneshaker, and is about two stories that converge together about midway through the novel. In the first story, Croggon Beauregard Hainey is the captain of the Free Crow, a dirigible he stole from the Confederacy during the Civil War, is chasing down his own craft, stolen from him by another pirate. In the second story, Maria Isabella Boyd is an ex-Union spy, ex-actress, now hired hand at a private investigation firm, and her first assignment is to help ensure that a secret load of military supplies arrives at its destination in Kentucky. The convergence begins when it becomes clear that the ship carrying those supplies is the Free Crow ... now renamed the Clementine.
This novel moves at a brisk pace, similar to that of Boneshaker, but this time the main characters feel more realized. Hainey is an escaped slave, along with his crew of two, and there's more to him than just being a gruff captain, and Maria's background is so diverse that she stands out as a character all her own. While Hainey has some similarities, character-wise, to Cly, the main captain from Boneshaker, Maria is a different character from those who featured in the first novel. The closest character to her is Lucy, but even then, the backgrounds and personalities are distinct enough to make them separate characters.
Like Boneshaker, Clementine is mostly an adventure novel, with the cargo of the Clementine being the Macguffin that leads the characters forward. For Hainey, the ship is his Macguffin, but without the cargo, the ship wouldn't have been stolen at all, and besides, once the action gets underway, it's hard to care what is drawing the characters on their adventure, so long as they're drawn into it.
I'm pleased with the series so far. Judging on how Priest created Hainey and Maria in this novel, I expect that the characterization will improve with the subsequent books in the series. Maybe we'll get a better picture of Briar and Zeke in Dreadnought.