It is not a real action book, like any of the Sharon Shinn books. It's pace is much more leisurely, but mom didn't mind because she liked and cared about the characters. The story unfolded well, and didn't seem forced. The mechanical dragons are also magical, and they are used to defend the country against the neighboring army, bent on invading.
You are plopped down right in the middle of a few situations and you are left to make your way through them, but that is not a bad thing. Magic, is of course, part of the story, but again, it is not so much action as people driven, a character study. Mom liked it and if the authors wrote another book, mom would read it.
Now, she didn't love it like she loves the Sharon Shinn books, and how much mom loves Senneth and Tayse (I mean, really, she would read anything with those two characters in it) but it was good. The only complaint mom has is the "F" word. One character uses it quite vigorously, and mom figures if you are going to have a fantasy book, with magical/mechanical dragons, you could come up with a new and creative swear word.
Mom saw this on Brudabaker's blog and had to "borrow" it, because she thought is was so hilariously funny.