Author: Andrea Cremer
Series: The Inventor's Secret #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Starts out with a bang, but the plot fizzles out once we really start to get into the story. Charlotte causes heads to turn when she brings back a mysterious stranger with her to their young adult hide out, especially since this stranger has no recollection of who he is or where he's from. But Charlotte insists that he's harmless, and they wind up having more important things to worry about. Such as the secret that Jack's been keeping, at least from Charlotte.
I am still relatively new to the genre of steampunk, but I am definitely a fan. And the world that Cremer creates for this story is awe inspiring, if only she had used it more than simply the backdrop it becomes. Her concepts are masterful, but the execution becomes less than desirable the further into the tale we weave.
Take, for prime example, the romantic element in this novel. It becomes so heavy, it feels as if the plot drops out of the story almost completely for the bulk of the middle. The novel becomes all about Charlotte's relationship with Jack, and how neither can be sure of their feelings as their worlds continue to shift and change around them. Not only does Cremer go for the cliche love triangle angle, but she even takes it a step further and adds a fourth element into the mix, as if it wasn't already too heavy to start. The tangle of the relationships in this novel really disinterests me for the majority of the middle of the story, but I still cannot help but try to like it.
Cremer gives all the makings of a great story. Likable characters. A mystery to solve (who is this Grave kid anyway, and why the heck can't he remember anything?). The ending certainly leaves the story open for continuation, and if done without all the nonsense of Charlotte and Jack and company liaisons, then it really shows promise. Cremer certainly has the potential, if she can manage to cut out all the excess fat. I will definitely read the next installment, but I have my fingers crossed that we can focus more on the plot and less on the relationship drama in the sequel.