Clock Striker, Volume 1: “I’m Gonna Be a SMITH!” by Issaka Galadima, et al

Clock Striker Vol. 1


Goodreads: I’m Gonna Be a SMITH!
Series: Clock Striker #1
Age Category: Young Adult
Source: Library
Published: 2023


The legendary Smiths, warriors who used technology in battle, are believed to be gone. But young Cast still dreams of joining their ranks–and receives the opportunity of a lifetime when one of last Smiths takes her on as an apprentice. Now Cast and her mentor Ms. Clock are embarked on a dangerous mission to protect lost Smith technology from falling into the wrong hands. But it is a mission that could be deadly.

Star Divider


I do not read a lot of manga which makes it difficult for me, I suppose, to really comment on how well a particular manga works in comparison to other, respected works. My perspective is that of the casual reader, one who sometimes dips their toes into the ocean of this storytelling form, and who may or may not continue in farther, depending on the experience. My non-expert opinion, then, is that the first volume of Clock Striker feels fun and enthusiastic–but also a bit unoriginal. It plays up a lot of tropes that perhaps fans really relish. But I was hoping for something that felt more exciting.

I’m Gonna Be a SMITH! is a book for readers that enjoy the good old standbys– legendary artifacts, secret organizations, gangster-style villains, a Cinderella-esque rise from obscurity to influence, and lots of girl power. I often enjoy tropes myself, so none of this is necessarily a flaw. I was just hoping that it would all combine into something that still felt fresh, and with characters that I could really care about. Mostly, however, I remember what seems to be a sort of standard, superhero-esque origin story combined with lots of confusing fight scenes and an overuse of, “Haha! You thought a mere girl couldn’t beat you! Eat dirt, sexists!” triumphs. The messaging is a bit heavy-handed, even if it is a message many readers will enjoy.

This foray into manga did not particularly leave me wanting more. However, I can see it being very popular with tweens and teens, who might be newer to some of the tropes and undoubtedly excited for all the girl power moments. While I will not be reading book two, I would recommend the series to other fans of manga.

3 Stars

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