Publication date: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (thank you!)
Purchase: The Book Depository • Amazon
When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow.
Meg has uncovered evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect—and that Meg alone can destroy. Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge.
Legacy of the Clockwork Key wasn't the mysterious, steampunk story I expected it to be. Far from that, actually. And the only thing I can say is I tried. I really, really tried. Kady Cross' The Girl in the Steel Corset, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron are among the very few steampunk novels I've read, and they were all amazing. You know how, sometimes, you read all these amazing books from one genre and somehow start to think that said genre's supernatural, and all the books in that genre are really, really good? And then one book'll come along and bring you back to reality, the world where there are good and bad books in every genre. Yeah, Legacy of the Clockwork Key was that book for me.
I couldn't connect with any of the characters, or feel anything other than annoyance. Meg's selfish. She's whiny. She's irrational. She doesn't think. She's often confused, and jumps headfirst into situations that clearly won't end well. Will's behavior is inconsistent, flipping between brooding, wannabe-mysterious guy and attempted knight in shining armor, while somehow managing to maintain his status as an all-around douchebag. He's not (for the most part) the suffocating, overprotective guy you see in a lot of books, and he did call Meg selfish and impulsive (true), which earned him a few brownie points -- points he promptly lost, as they spent the next 80+% of the novel sneaking glances at each other, drowning in insta-love, and eventually proclaiming everlasting love after a just short, shoddily-done, lacking-in-depth relationship. Sorry, but I still don't believe they're in love :/
Lucinda and Oliver both had interesting back-stories and strong characters, but soon succumbed to [a feel I can't tell you because it's all shades of spoilery, I think] and just seemed to vanish - poof - from the story.
The plot held potential - I'll give it that. The beginning, with the idea of a master intent on keeping his house frozen in time, and what followed later with the watch-that-wasn't-a-watch-but-a-key, all the inventions, and the organization - that all held potential. It was an interesting concept; wonderful ideas. But the story itself just wasn't anywhere near as good as the concepts were. Most of it was just Meg running around with the key in her hand, occasionally arguing or making kissy faces at Will. Or, to stir things up a bit, something would happen: giant boulders falling from the sky, wings, a creature they had to fight... all things that came and went in a page or two. I loved the idea of tying the various creations with mythology, but again - nothing really happened, and when it did, it was easily solved, and solved so quickly that you're left wondering why it even happened.
And the inventions. They were cool, though they would've been more interesting if they had more page space. And maybe if the author spent less time trying to come up with new machine ideas, and more time developing the ideas she'd already come up with. I really don't feel like Legacy of the Clockwork Key was a steampunk novel because we never really understood how the machines worked, and the ideas were a little too far-fetched for machinery to begin with. It was more like magic - not gears and keys and machinery.
Then we came to an ending - four-hundred-and-something pages of nothing drawing to a close, and then it just ends. We finally get a little bit of action, and then... Done. No bang. No big, exciting reveal. Not even a cliffhanger. It just... tapers off. And that's that.
PROS: Wonderful idea.
CONS: The plot went everywhere and nowhere at the same time, and the characters and the romance had just about as much depth as the inflatable pool my mom bought my brother yesterday.
OVERALL: Legacy of the Clockwork Key was a very dull book - nothing overly horrible, but nothing attention-grabbing or interesting. I didn't hear of it until after I'd been offered a spot on a blog tour, but I think it's safe to say that, in the little time between hearing of the book for the first time and reading it, I was excited. And now I'm disappointed. Oh, and my mom never bought my brother an inflatable pool.