by Andrea Cremer
published by Philomel
genre: YA, Steampunk,
Summary (Goodreads): In this world, 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 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. Perfect for fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners, Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan and Phillip Reeve's Mortal Instruments.
My Thoughts: This was a good read but did not feel like a first book. It felt more like a prequel to a series. While there was a small story about the exile and who he really is, it wasn't enough to carry the whole book. This mainly was an introduction into this new world and the characters that live there.
I could have done without the romance drama/ love triangle that appeared even though one had only known Charlotte for minutes. Charlotte and Jack seemed too immature and then throw in Jack's brother and we have unneeded drama considering the world is in the middle of a war.
I liked the side characters we meet in the city from the clueless (or not) wife to the step sister that seems to have more sense than all the exiles put together.
Overall, there was not enough story to carry this book. The secret that is hinted at in the title had no effect on this book. If this had been a prequel I might have rated it higher but as is there wasn't enough depth and it focuses on the wrong characters.