(The Secret Order #1)
Author: Kristin Bailey
Length: 403 pages
Publisher: Simon PULSE
Rating 5 Stars
A teen girl unravels the mysteries of a secret society and their most dangerous invention in this adventure-swept romance set in Victorian London.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 . 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 inventiton 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. The clockwork key has unlocked her destiny in this captivating start to a trilogy.
My ThoughtsThis book is a fantastic mix of mystery and the inspiring wonders of invention and ingenuity.
The book's pacing is slow out of the gate, but picks up steadily in the early chapters as the secret of the "pocket watch" is revealed.
The 'nesting box' style of writing, where one discovery or significant occurrence leads directly to the next insures that there is never a lull in the action.
This writing style also makes this a far more complex read than it would otherwise be.
Clues to the mystery which drives the plot are sprinkled throughout the story, and missing said clues can cause the reader to be thrown of the story's map.
The over all tone of the book is very innocent and naive. The reason for this being that the story is being told from the vantage point of a very sheltered girl in Victorian-era England. This coupled with the fanciful nature of the toys tend to give the impression that this book has middle grade leanings.
Before accepting this assumption as fact however, one has only to read the last third of the book to witness the story's true complexity.
The love story between Meg and her unlikely hero, serves as the icing on the cake for this adventure laden trip down a steampunk driven wonderland.
They compliment each other brilliantly and their relationship helps to "grow Meg up" a bit.
This is a well done first book that doesn't scream series, choosing instead to transfix readers and transport them into a world that they never want to leave.