Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

watchmaker_filigreeRating: 3 stars

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.

Review: This one is frustrating, because I went into it so full of hope and there was so much potential here, but somehow it fell flat. It’s not terrible, but it’s not brilliant, and I was expecting something…more, although I can’t articulate how. It felt like a book with all the elements to be special–interesting world-building, characters I wanted to like, good plot potential–and somehow they didn’t quite come together. It’s not quite “I’ll never get those hours back” levels of not great, but it didn’t leave me wanting to recommend it to everyone I met. Not bad, not great, but entertaining enough that I finished it is probably the best I can say.