Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.
The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery.
I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did! I haven't exactly been seeing raving reviews on this book and after reading Bloodrose, I had mixed feelings on Andrea Cremer's books. This book actually exceeded my expectations and I ended up enjoying it!
This book takes place in the early nineteenth century, in an alternate timeline where the British won the Revolutionary War. The Empire has been punishing the descendants of any of the rebels during the war in the form of twenty years of servitude. Charlotte and many other children hide in the Catacombs waiting for a time when they can be a part of the fight against the Empire. Charlotte ends of rescuing a boy from Gatherers (Empire machine that grab runners) and takes him back to the Catacombs against her better judgement. Turns out, the boy has no memory of his life including his name. The others at the Catacombs are suspicious of him and the strangeness of the boy calls for some questions to be answered. Charlotte, Ashley (her brother), Meg, and Jack all have to go undercover in the Floating City to not only find more out about the mysterious boy, but info against the Empire.
At first, I wasn't real wild about this book. I was jumped in right away with absolutely no clue what was going. Words were thrown around with no explanation. Then, there was an info-dump that just flew right over my head. Eventually, I was able to understand what was going on and was able to fully enjoy this book. The world in this book is so interesting and very creative. It's a dystopian world in the past. And it's steampunk. I'm always fascinated by alternate versions of history and I thought this was a very interesting one. And the creativity involved in created this steampunk world is amazing! Though, I do wish I got more information on the current rebellion.
I did have a few problems with Charlotte, especially in the beginning. She's a bit whiny. I can understand a bit why she is, but she does act kind of immature. Ashley sees her as a little girl, Jack doesn't trust her as much as she deserves, this are the feelings she has, and they are true. My issue is that she doesn't just think these, she stomps her feet, gives the silent treatment, whatever way to show she's upset. Charlotte is not a bad character, in fact, she does have some great qualities about her. I appropriate how much she likes to stand up to what she believes in, she was just immature at points.
A big reason why I probably liked this book so much, was probably the romance. Which is odd considering how frustrating it is. Once Jack was introduced, I was shipping it. And when there's a ship, I stick with it. From the start Jack and Charlotte were bickering and Charlotte kept complaining, in her head, about him. SHIP. SHIP. SHIP. I love hate-to-love romances. I ship hate-to-love romances and this one qualified. I can't exactly elaborate, but I didn't trust Jack. When Jack did confide in Charlotte and she was pissed off, I still shipped it. I have mixed emotions though. Another guy comes in the book and I kind of wanted Charlotte to get with him? Mostly as a rebound thing to show Jack who's boss. Anyway, the romance was a bit screwed up, but I loved it.
I hope there's not a love triangle in the next book.
This book was much better than I expected! I was shipping this book the whole way through and the ideas behind this book was amazing. Charlotte was a bit annoying at points and I wish I got more info on the rebellion (maybe the next book?). Anyway, this was a great start for a new series and I can't wait for the next book.
Meaning: It was amazing!