I love Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade and Rift series, so I was really excited to hear she was working on a new book called The Inventor’s Secret. When I found out it was a steampunk novel – excitement gone.
I think the genre is based on an interesting concept, but I seldom see it done well. Steampunk is usually all about the gadgets and machinery and costumes and conventions and ugh. It just gets so overdone. So when I received the ARC for The Inventor’s Secret featuring the tagline – “What if the British won the Revolutionary War?” – I was not excited.
But Cremer pulled through once again. The story centers on a brave, headstrong heroine named Charlotte. We’re immediately thrown into a thrilling escape as she saves Grave, a mysterious boy with amnesia. They arrive at the Catacombs, Charlotte’s secret home, and we’re soon introduced to a cast of quirky characters: sardonic love interest Jack, overbearing brother Ash, kindly Meg, crazy inventor Birch, zany Pip, etc.
The story continues to improve from there. We enter a more traditional Steampunk world with interesting – but not too over the top, well not for the Steampunk world – gadgets and weaponry. Then the characters are given further depth as Jack’s oh-so-dramatic family dynamic is revealed. We even get a shot at the typical YA love triangle with Jack’s big brother Coe (I’m rooting for Coe).
Honestly, if I take a hard look at the book, not that much happens in terms of the plot, but the novel’s saved by an energetic and endearing (if somewhat predictable) cast of characters. It’s a great book if you’re looking for a strong, teen lead with a lot of romance, a little action and just the right amount of Steampunk.