The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (3 out of 5)
I got this one from the St. Martin rep, Anne. Thank you, Anne. You’re forgiven for the fish. First The Nightingale, then this gem. Don’t let the 3 star rating fool you, I really did enjoy this book. The cover is great, the format of the book itself, even the font is great. It just didn’t consume me, much as I would consume a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, if allowed to. It was a pleasant, quick read. And a good one. I just needed riveting, and it wasn’t riveting… just a jolly good book.
This author is GREAT with character development. Holy smokes, you really feel as if you may find these people in a gin joint. 1883 London finds Thaniel coming home to find a mysterious timepiece on his pillow. He assumes it’s a gift, only to be told it’s not from the person he thought. Six months after he finds it, it saves him from an explosion that decimates Scotland Yard. What the hell is going on? He heads off in search of the watchmaker, Keita, to find out what secrets the watch holds. How is it possible that it saved his life? Why him? Some thing’s fishy, and no matter what Keita is telling Thaniel, weird shit keeps happening. Weird shit that can’t be explained- or unexplained even. Enter Grace, a physicist, who gets in the way of the chain of events and tries to figure out what is going on, and things get even more loopy. Thaniel doesn’t know what to think- is Keita up to no good? Or is Grace? What’s the deal with this watch? Why is he caught up in this crazy maelstrom of events?
OK. Here’s what I liked- everything. But it wasn’t riveting. I put it down half a dozen times, came back, picked it up, read a few chapters, and onto the next thing. Not at any point was I RIVETED to that book. I thought, from the buzz and the quotes on the back, that I was in for some mystical, magical journey. The journey from London to Japan as empires and long held traditions start to fall like dominoes- was some great atmospheric narrative. I love these characters. They’re all well developed, no goofy dialogue with hidden meanings, and no out of character actions. It was a nice little switch from a couple of other books recently, where the characters are seemingly set up well, then break out of character completely and do some real crazy shit, that ends up having NO bearing on the plot of the book that they’re in. So that was a nice change of pace. Like I said, a great little read, just a little bit too easy on the plot and non-existent on action. You can’t go wrong with it if you want a nice novel with some history and some fabulous character studies, and it would be a great vacation read.