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Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Girl and the Clockwork Cat by Nikki McCormack

It's no secret that I love reading steampunk. However, I personally think if you're invested in writing a steampunk novel, you have to dedicate a lot of time in world building. I was intrigued by the synopsis (and the cover art) of the THE GIRL AND THE CLOCKWORK CAT, and obviously the title of the book screamed steampunk. In reality this story could have been set in any world or any time. Except for the occasional mention of airships and the clockwork cat, there really wasn't much point in setting this story in a steampunk world. In my opinion, the world building was almost non-existent.

Maeko, a half-Japanese girl has been roaming the Victorian London streets for almost a decade and now, because of a newly formed attachment to a cat, has stumbled upon a missing person's investigation turned murder investigation. The initial mystery is intriguing but I find everything goes downhill from there. She gets captured by the Lit (a type of police force), placed into jail, escapes, and the following night gets placed in jail again. Yep, you guessed it, she escapes a second time, however this time with a new friend, Ash. Together, Maeko and Ash try to find and help Ash's family that has unfortunately gotten involved in the murder investigation. A good amount of the novel is spent searching for the cat and for family members. It felt like everything was on repeat, probably because it was. Fast-paced action is usually a good thing, however in this novel, the action was so fast that it was hard to keep track of everything, and didn't let the reader appreciate the story.

I'm relieved the characterization was a little bit better than the world building. Maeko, the main character, is intriguing because of her Japanese heritage and because of her troubled past. The author could have expanded a little more on Maeko's past in order to really understand what drives this teen to take such risks with her life. She calls herself a street rat but whenever someone points it out, her first instinct is to say, "I'm not a street rat!" She's a little bit immature but her association with Ash actually helps her see the world from a different point of view. All of a sudden, life is more than pick-pocketing and living off scraps. She see the possibility in having a better life, of living off the streets, and she has a hard time deciding what is best for her.

Ash, the good looking boy she's trying to help, might be the first boy that sees her as a girl. All the other boys on the streets know that she's a girl and belittle her for it, but Ash is the first one that makes her blush and makes her think about the possibility of romance. Chaff, her pick-pocketing mentor, also becomes interested in Maeko, probably because he gets jealous and doesn't like the idea of losing her to someone like Ash. Regrettably, the almost-there love triangle is a tease because is it doesn't result in much.

Overall, THE GIRL AND THE CLOCKWORK CAT wasn't for me. It left me wanting and confused about the direction of the plot. It's not clear if this novel will have a sequel or not, and if it doesn't, the ending is unsatisfying and incomplete. The novel seems to have mixed reviews on Goodreads since some people seemed to have liked it. Personally it doesn't rank very high on my list of YA steampunk.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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6 People left their mark' :

  1. Thanks for your review ! I've never actually read steampunk before... tsk tsk.. You've inspired me to look into it more!

  2. Just don't start with this one....

  3. I am so sad to hear the world building in this book wasn't done that well. I love the cover for this book and to be honest I wanted to read this book if only for that reason. But I love good world building in my books and after reading your review I don't think I'll read it.

  4. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it! The cover is gorgeous and it sounds so good, it's a pity it didn't live up to that :( Great review!

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