I was lucky enough to receive The Watchmaker of Filigree Street from Bloomsbury USA, and when you get a book from a publisher, there’s nothing you want more than to love the heck out of it. You want to be like, “See? Aren’t you glad you sent this to me?! Look at me telling the world how awesome this book is!” Unfortunately I just can’t do that for this one, and it is SO PAINFUL for the people-pleaser in me to have to be honest.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Published by Bloomsbury USA on July 14th 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
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1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.
I received this book for free from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
a Victorian London setting, a mysterious and almost magical Japanese watchmaker, and a bit about probability and chance
Part of it was a genre issue:
Books I don’t enjoy reading: thriller/suspense novels, books with magical realism, mystery novels, and what I’ve recently learned about myself, Victorian era novels.
Guess what this book has? ALL OF THAT.
There was a lot going on that my brain didn’t like:
So in addition to it just being set in a world that wasn’t my favorite and smooshed into a bunch of genres that aren’t my thing, there was some incongruities that didn’t sit well with me.
Like how we’re in Victorian London but then there’s a large chunk of the novel that revolves around Japanese characters and their culture. I like Japanese culture, but my brain didn’t like it mixed with Victorian London. It feel like oil and water and I was confused.
Along the same lines there are all these different storylines happening in the beginning that I was trying to keep up with, but then I just couldn’t so I get even more confused.
But I am not going to lie: this book was pretty AF.
GOODNESS GRACIOUS if I ever get a book published I want my cover to look like this one, and I want the copy of my book to be in this font, because seriously everything about this book’s aesthetic was on point!
So who is this book for? MY HUSBAND. Oh, wait. That doesn’t help you. This book is for people who like things that are ever-so-slightly bizarre, enjoy light Steampunk settings, a hint of magical realism, and a soft mystery to solve.