Updated with my full review which disappeared for some reason.
Nope. It just didn't really grab me.
I really, really wanted to like this one. I mean it’s Steampunk with a cat, so it should be right up my street. But it just didn’t quite work for me.
As I said in my previous update, the world-building was weak. One thing I enjoy about Steampunk is the use of alternative/bygone technology and there wasn’t enough of that to make the world truly come alive. Also the politics of the ‘Lits’ and the ‘Pirates’ wasn’t fully explored, which was a shame because I think that was something which could have been very interesting. Far more interesting in fact, than the completely unnecessary love triangle and Maeko banging on about Ash’s eyes.
Maeko bugged me a bit. She’s a supposedly streetwise, hardbitten person living off her wits, but always seemed to veer into TSTL territory, which didn’t fit in with her character. And the two guys are cardboard cutouts of every single other love interest you’ve read. There’s Ash with the amazing eyes (seriously, they must be fabulous because Maeko tells us over and over). He’s from a wealthy family, kind-hearted and trusting and is the complete opposite of Chaff, Maeko’s fellow thief and mentor. Maeko swithers between the two of them for the entire book and never comes to a decision.
There were a few typos (‘taught’ instead of ‘taut’ for instance) and places where the wrong word was used, but it wasn’t bad enough to jerk me out of the story. And as the book is set in London, the author was pretty good at having her characters using British words, but occasionally ‘pants’ instead of ‘trousers’, and ‘mom’ instead of ‘mum’ would sneak in. (A hole in one’s pants means something very different to a Brit).
As for the cat…. Well he was my favourite character even though I couldn’t work out from the various descriptions just how much of him was fur and how much was mechanical. The first description tells us he’s got a mechanical back leg and a mechanical shoulder. But then later on, it sounds as if one of his front legs is also mechanical, but that gets contradicted a couple of times, so who knows. But he sounded a lot smarter than most of the people in the book.
I think my problem with this book is not that it’s bad (I’ve read a lot worse), but that there is so much YA and steampunk out there that is better.