Cryptic Clockwork by Renley N. Chu Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One writer attempts to cope with the trauma of his past in late author Renley N. Chu’s autobiographical book of poetry and prose, “Cryptic Clockwork”. 


The Synopsis

Cryptic Clockwork is an autobiographical series of prose and poetry he wrote through difficult experiences.This begins with the loss of his parents, and continues through his experiences in his abusive adoptive family, the loss of a close friend through suicide, and a toxic, abusive relationship with his ex-boyfriend. They give a glimpse into Ren’s internal state as he processed through past and ongoing trauma, his grief, inability to speak, struggles with mental health, and homophobia.

The Review

This was quite an incredible and moving read. The author was truly talented, having found a way to expertly and subtly traverse the complex emotions of his own heart and mind and somehow managed to tie his experiences into the greater experience of life overall. The tragic and heartbreaking beginning of loss and memory speaks to those who have ever lost someone truly special in our hearts, while the hope that the author found after years of neglect and abusive relationships will easily speak to the spark of hope we all hold in our hearts in the darkest of times.

The writing was quite eloquent in its approach. The balance of poetry and prose was profound in this autobiographical work of art, and the way the author seemed to tap not only into our own emotions but into complex emotions that really defies definition really showcased the complexity of his own mind and heart, showing what a true writer and creative soul he was.

The Verdict

A heartfelt, thought-provoking, and memorable book of poetry and prose, author Renley N. Chu’s “Cryptic Clockwork” is a must-read autobiography. The beauty and heart that shines through in this narrative are impossible to ignore, and while fans will be hard-pressed to not have a tear in their eye, they will definitely have difficulty putting the book down as well. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Author of Cryptic Clockwork, an autographical collection of prose and poems, and Melody of Your Heart, a short story anthology about life, love, and loss. These works were compiled after his death by Tiffany Chu, in hopes they bring hope and encouragement to anyone going through dark times.

Born in England as Leonel M. M. Santiago on May 14, 2003, Renley lost both his parents in a fire that permanently damaged his vocal cords and lungs at the age of five, leaving him unable to speak. He became Justin Steele at the age of eight when adopted into the Steele family.

Through a shared love of writing, Renley met Tiffany Chu in 2020 and they formed a close friendship. At the beginning of 2021, even as his health rapidly deteriorated, he prepared to move to the U.S. and become part of the Chu family.

On May 18, 2021, he changed his legal name to Renley Nicolas Chu.

About a week after his eighteenth birthday, Renley suffered a severe attack leading to lung and heart failure; he passed away on the morning of May 25, 2021, three days before he would have left for the U.S.

Renley’s last wish to come home was fulfilled on June 1, when his ashes were brought to San Diego and scattered at Los Penasquitos Canyon.

He left behind numerous samples of his writing, both personal as well as fictional. Each piece he wrote exudes the rawness and authenticity of his heart, his emotions, his experiences. His style tends to be stream-of-consciousness and metaphorical with a sense of immediacy and strong emotion.

Rest in Peace, Renley Chu (May 14, 2002 – May 25, 2021) 



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