Fiction / Paperback / 336 pages
This review is spoiler-free, unlike Google
To begin, a warning: DO NOT Google this book or read reviews before buying it, lest the ending be ruined for you. I'm certainly glad I didn't, as popping the title into Google during the writing of this review immediately displayed search suggestions with spoilers. (Come on, Google!)
With that said, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is easily the best book I've read so far in 2017 (8 in total, if you're curious), and you should definitely read it. Here's my spoiler-free review.
A fairly simple premise to start: Thaniel Steepleton is saved from death by a timepiece that mysteriously came into his possession some six months before a terrorist explosion. His search for answers brings him to Filigree Street, where he meets -- you guessed it -- the watchmaker, Mori. I'll leave off there, as any further details might take away from the fun of the story, but let's just say there's far more going on in this novel than meets the eye.
What I liked
As often happens, this book first grabbed my attention with its attractive cover art. As you can see above, it's rather cool-looking. But this is more than just a well-designed paperback: with its complex plot, lively characters, and imaginative technological feats, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street was far better than your typical Victorian-era mystery. The clever writing and well-concealed hints led me to barrel through in just a few days' time.
The imagery in this novel is particularly fantastic, to the point that I'd almost like to see it in a theater just so I can see Mori's octopus -- almost. At the same time, I'm afraid that Hollywood would ruin it, and in any case I rather like the Mori and his gadgets that exist in my imagination, and they'd be vanquished if brought to life in a film.
As for the ending, I was fairly pleased. It was an unexpected but enjoyable outcome, and I think I'd like to read the book again eventually to review the groundwork Pulley laid now that I know what the story is building to. Again, since I promised no spoilers, that's all I'll say.
What I didn't like
There were only a couple of things I didn't like about this novel, and one of them had more to do with the author than the story itself. You see, the paperback edition I bought placed the "Note on the Author" at the beginning of the book, and I read it before starting the story. This made it hard to get into the book at first, as connections with the author's background kept pulling me back into the real world.
Second, there were a few minor characters I found a bit tedious, and there were frankly too many minor characters for my taste. It made me feel as though creating characters is the author's favorite pastime, since even the nonessential characters were described in detail.
I highly recommend this book
If you can't tell already, despite a few minor gripes, I highly recommend this book -- so much so that I gave it to a friend to read immediately after I finished in order to let someone else enjoy it, and so I could have someone else to discuss the ending with. (He also enjoyed it quite a bit, finishing it quickly despite it being something he'd never have picked out for himself. Fine praise, indeed.) In short, read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. Then talk to me about it so I have someone else to discuss that ending with. :)