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Book Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (Spoiler Free)

Monday, July 24, 2017


July 24, 2017

“Your science can save a man’s life, but imagination makes it worth living.” ― Natasha Pulley, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

I really wish I could say I liked this...

I just can't. That kills me! When I first read the synopsis for this book I was SOLD. I thought it would be interesting and a page-turner, but sadly, for me it fell rather short. The synopsis for The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is as followed:

FROM GOODREADS: 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.


Now, don't get me wrong, there were moments that I did enjoy! I think Thaniel's character development was my favourite. He goes from this uptight, stoic, telegraphist and throughout the novel he returns to the man he used to be. The one who loved music and art.

I also enjoyed the setting. Victorian England is probably my favourite atmosphere when it comes to literature, throw in a touch of steampunk and you have a fan right here. However, the book does change POV a lot and I just couldn't help but get a little bored. 

I definitely had a hard time understanding the language a bit. The novel is written with British antidotes and references that I did not understand. I had to look them up a lot, but that's what Google is for, right? Pulley does have a way with words though. Her syntax is a work of art. Every sentence written was so well thought out and I loved the way every aspect of the story worked together to create a very unique work of literature.

Mori's character revelations were a surprise for me on many levels. I thought it was interesting to go on the journey with Thaniel to see what Mori's intentions were because even I thought he was a bit sketchy at times. I think you will be pleasantly surprised when you figure out the mysterious watchmaker. I definitely was!

I have to say that the ending, and I suppose the entire work, was not what I was expecting. The story took so many turns that it made me a bit dizzy. The beginning was very slow for me that I almost put it down. It usually takes me about 100 pages to get into a story, but I couldn't even get past the first 30 at the start. It was a struggle. 

I immediately fell in love with Grace's character during the first chapter of her POV in the first part of the book, but then the author strays away from her for a while and I think that made me lose interest pretty fast. My absolute favourite thing about this book was the clockwork and not just Katsu, the automaton Octopus, but everything! I have always loved clocks and how they work and when you mix it with science and somewhat supernatural aspects, it makes it even better! 

Thaniel, Mori, and Grace are all at the center of one of the most imaginative stories I have read in a while, but I never felt as if they were surprised by anything... There is a SMALL aspect of fantasy, but they just go along with it and I don't find that to be realistic. I wanted MORE. I wanted more from the characters especially. I didn't grow attached to them at all. I wanted to connect with them and as much as I think the plot was a great idea, I think it could have been done a different way. 

Overall I have to give this book a 2/5. I thought the writing was beautiful, but I just couldn't get into it and I found myself dreading to read it. This was the first time in a long time that I considered not finishing a novel. Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me this, and I will definitely be looking to Pulley's other novel The Bedlam Stacks, I just wish I enjoyed this more!  

Happy Reading!

- Haley

I received this book from the publisher for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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