Author: Kristin Bailey
Genre: Young-Adult, Steampunk-Fantasy
Series: The Secret Order #1
Hardcover, 403 pages
Publication: March 5, 2013 by Simon Pulse
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Source: Publicist, Arc
When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow.
Meg has uncovered evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect—and that Meg alone can destroy. Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge.
Meg is orphaned after a fire killed both her parents, and with nowhere to go she takes a position of a housemaid in a big ol’ creepy mansion. Day in and day out she cleans room after room, keeping everything as is since the day the baroness of the house passed away. As for the Baron, she has never met him but all the servant says he watches over them and knows everything that goes on in the mansion. On one of Meg’s usual cleaning routine she stumbles upon a wall clock with the same three pedals flower as her broken clock necklace. It turns out that the clock isn’t broken at all; it’s really a key. What Meg learns is that the key unlocks a lot of clues about her grandfather, that he isn’t dead and was in a secret society. Only Meg knows how to use the key, and a lot of people are willing to do anything to get their hands on the key…even murder.
Legacy of the Clockwork Key is a fun and engaging steampunk adventure as readers joins Meg in search of her grandfather and to stop members of the secret society from retrieving the key to unlock their dangerous inventions. This book kind of reminded me of the Amazing Race as Meg with the help of Will, Lucinda, and Oliver solves clues after clues. The clues take them all over London to different sites of the Aumusementists’ inventions and some of the inventions incorporate a bit of mythology! For example one of the clues took them into a labyrinth, and with special goggles Meg was able to find a yellow thread buried within the sand, Ariadne’s thread. As the tale goes, Prince Theseus had to solve the labyrinth to save his people. The King’s daughter, Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and to help him through the maze she gave him a golden thread that led to the exit. Meg and Will follow the thread to the clue (plate) and to their horror find the plate is on none other than a metal-geared Minotaur! There’s a lot of other surprise along the way, and with each new clue solved I get more excited to see which inventions Meg will discovers next.
As for characters, I didn’t really warm up to Meg right away …she was kind of whiney and never thought things through before jumping into danger in the beginning. Towards the middle-end of the book she got better, after she realizes what she’d been doing. One thing I like about Meg was she didn’t care what society thought was proper. She liked Will, a stable boy who came from nothing and saw him for who he was and it didn’t matter that he was poor or that she was technically middle-class. I liked Will, even though he knew Meg kept taking major risks he jumped in as well just to keep her safe. Although, he was frustrated half the time, he didn’t mind giving Meg a piece of his mind. Legacy of the Clockwork Key is the first book in a planned trilogy, so be aware that not all questions get answered and the ending is left open for the next book.
I absolutely loved this book, and would highly recommend it to those who enjoy the steampunk-fantasy genre. The gadgets, gears, and clockwork inventions will have you in awe; from clockwork ravens, steel horses, flying apparatus, to a giant kraken-like monster! Legacy of the Clockwork Key was a nonstop action- mystery from start to finish…definitely a debut not to be missed!