This is one gorgeous paperback. If you’re into steampunk (I low-key love it) then you will adore this book. This is a pre-loved copy given to me by a friend (thank you LJ!) and I just think it’s beautiful.
For me, the narrative got off to a slightly slow start; there are three characters to follow, and a couple of times, I’d spent so long with one that when the narration switched I had to flip backwards to remember who I was reading about – but to be fair, I read the first part on a train journey, so readers who are not quite so distracted may not have the same issue. It didn’t matter, anyway – a third of the way in and I was hooked. If you enjoyed Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork trilogy (The Infernal Devices), you will enjoy this, too, with its beautiful mix of magic, mystery and machinery. As you can see from the selfie, the visuals are just wonderful, and I have to say that the content matches the cover art perfectly. I thought it was particularly clever how you are left doubting who to trust – I’m still not sure whether or not there is an actual ‘good guy’.
The story, as I mention, focuses on three main characters in Victorian London. We meet them just before they all meet each other, and there is a pleasing correlation between how we as readers can see what’s coming for them and the theme of foresight in the book. There’s a nice amount of culture clash to draw you in, as well – the story covers both steampunk, industrial London, and traditional Japan. The characters deal with international politics and day to day racism/race relations – one Japanese character chooses to dye his hair blond so that he doesn’t stand out so much, which is an interesting theme in today’s London – but these themes are not the point of the book, they are simply part of the characters’ lives. I like this; you can reflect on the questions raised without the book feeling preachy, and the characters feel real and three dimensional.
I’d love to see a film of The Watchmaker – the images are stunning in my imagination, and I bet they’d be absolutely breathtaking on the silver screen. Think Japanese cherry blossoms intertwined with gleaming clockwork. Lush. Get on it, Hollywood!