Title: Legacy of the Clockwork Key (Secret Order of Modern Amusementists #1)
Author: Kristin Bailey
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Released: 5th March 2013
Rating: 2 of 5 stars
I hate writing negative reviews. And it pains me to say that for a book I was quite looking forward to, this was a major letdown. When I was thinking about what I wanted to include in this review, I struggled to come up with much that was positive. My experience with this book was pretty much: let's just get this over with.
Meg's life now is that of a maid, a complete contrast to the comfortable lifestyle she led before her parents died and Lord Rathford took her in. All she has left of her family and her past life is an old pocket watch. But one day she realises that it's not actually a pocket watch. It's a key, one that only she can use. It leads her to the discovery of a secret society made up of select members - including her parents. And with this discovery comes the knowledge that someone is murdering members of that society, and it all links back to a dangerous invention made some time ago. Meg finds herself suddenly involved in a whole new world, in which secrecy and danger play a significant part.
Meg, I think, was my biggest issue. I disliked her almost immediately. Whiny and selfish at worst, impulsive and irrational at best, she really annoyed me. She didn't actually think about what she was doing, her reasons for jumping into things were all wrong, and her attraction to Will came out of nowhere. Near the opening of the book, after first meeting the stable hand, she would continually go to him with whatever problem she suddenly faced, or whatever new bright idea she had. All I could think was, why? Why are you trying to involve him in things that have nothing to do with him? All it could possibly do was bring him trouble. Will himself I liked marginally better, but I felt no spark between them. Their relationship was tenuous and exasperating. For me, Lucinda was a far better character. She had spunk, spark and life. Yes, I'm aware they basically equate to the same thing. But that just emphasises how much character she has in comparison to Meg! Lucinda was actually pretty funny and I liked her daring nature.
The plot, sadly, did little to redeem the book. I love steampunk, and I loved all the different inventions that had been thought of. There was definitely some originality there. But some of those inventions were complex to the point where I couldn't really imagine them properly. More than that, I wanted to know how they worked. How were they able to do all these amazing things? The storyline became repetitive and consisted of one simple layer. Even in the opening, after the first few pages I was unconvinced by what was happening, having too many questions going around in my head. I did actually have to really force myself to read this by the time I was a quarter of the way through. There was so much potential here, but unfortunately the book was sorely lacking.
Legacy of the Clockwork Key was massively disappointing, though somehow I still can't say whether I can find it in me to read the sequel. I'm curious about the murderer, and yet I'm not sure it's worth coming back to the series, so chances are I probably won't. Characters like Lucinda and Oliver helped liven it up a bit, but ultimately I'm sorry to say that this was not a book that worked out for me.