I love steampunk and this cover is as steampunk at they get (plus the hardcover one actually has a cutout on the cover that reveals the watch on the inside page which is a really cool design). The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley is a delightful read that defies genres. The book takes place in Victorian London when the Irish Nationalist movement is terrorizing the city. Bombings at Scotland yard and Victoria station are being investigated. Could anybody but a master clockworker have created these bombs?
The characters in the book are well-drawn and interesting. Thaniel -a civil servant who is orphaned and friendless. Mori – the genius clockworker from Japan who is clairvoyant. Grace- a smart physics student hoping to prove the existence of Ether. Grace’s overbearing parents and student friends. Mori’s fellow Japanese immigrants living in his community. Thaniel’s fellow government workers. And let’s not forget Katsu – the mechanical octopus with a mind of his own.
The plot twists and turns as Mori’s premonitions come to happen and his friendship with Thaniel deepens. The mystery of the bomber runs through the entire book (only being solved at the very end.) There is a great subplot with Gilbert and Sullivan premiering The Mikado and some cool back story from Japan. You get a great feel for the time period with sooty air and suffragettes.
I love that this book defies genres. It is equal parts mystery, historical fiction, and steampunk. I recommend it especially to those who read steampunk, but also if you are looking for a good mystery. Pulley has a sequel (just published this year) which I hope to get my hands on soon.