Legacy of the Clockwork Key Mini-Review/DNF Reasoning

Oh, the miserable, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when the awkward, clunky romance lumbers into a book like a kaiju and demolishes all of the pretty things the author has built.

This book starts out rather well: our heroine, Meg, has lost everything--parents, wealth, position, and home--to a catastrophic fire.  The only link she has to her past life is a tarnished old watch that she found by her father's body.  Her father's solicitor informs her that she must find employment to survive, but that a peer named Lord Rathford has specifically requested her services as housemaid.  Feeling the sting of her social fall, as well as mourning her parents, Meg must nevertheless accept, for what other option is there for a young lady in 19th century London?  Well, I suppose I can think of at least one, but it's not an option for Meg.

So, she enters the service of the mysterious Lord Rathford, also referred to as "the Baron."  After much poking and prodding of the English peerage system, I've managed to conclude that barons are addressed as lords and that there is no lordship, only a baronage.  ANYWAY.  I got confused a bit, because I kept thinking that Meg worked for two different people, but they're one and the same.

Every day, Meg performs the same tasks.  She starts the fire.  She brews the tea.  She cleans the spilt tea in the sitting room, refills the cup halfway, and then re-spills the tea.  She makes unmade beds and avoids shattered porcelain on the steps, taking care to keep the shards just so.  Meg states, "I had moved in to a place where timed had stopped altogether.  It was my job to make it certain it never moved again."

Now, come on. Aren't you intrigued?  Don't you want to know more about the mysterious and probably sinister baron who sits in the upper rooms of the house, spying on his servants and ensuring that nothing is ever changed?  I was.  It was very Bertha-Rochester-in-the-attic with a twist.

Ooh, that makes me think I could use a drink.  With a twist.

My apologies for the digression.  Things progress rather spookily until Meg meets the mysterious Scottish stablehand, of whose existence she's known vaguely, but it never occured to her to, you know, meet the guy.  Of course he is tall, dark, and mysterious, with an air of danger.  The cook warns her to stay away from him, but does Meg listen?  Nooooo.  Of course not.  She makes a trade with Stable Boy Will (dear lord, authors: there are more male names in the English language than Will.  I am so sick of reading about "Will"s).  She'll mend his shirts and he'll try to fix her watch.

Now, "fixing the watch" consists of Will prying it open and finding a SUPER SECRET MAGICAL SURPRISE inside that Meg could have totally found all along, being that she works in a kitchen with knives and such.  But poor Meg was worried that she'd not be able to put the watch back together.  It's actually not a watch at all, but rather a music box and shhhh secret key!  Whilst poking around the house that she helps maintain in stasis, Meg discovers that her watch opens a clock above a fireplace. She has to finish playing a tune that only she and her grandfather knew.  Gasp!  He is involved somehow.

Meg discovers a laboratory and evidence that her grandfather was part of a secret society conducting possibly unethical experiments.  He's not dead, as she thought, but in hiding.  Thus begins Meg's quest to find her not-dead grandfather.  She keeps dragging Hots McScots into the deal, and he keeps going, "Nae, I willnae help you!" and then proceeds to help her because she is, obviously, hot.  This seems to be the extent of their relationship, but I'm sure they fall in SO MUCH LOVE at the end.

What was an interesting premise faltered under the weight of stilted "dialogue" and a confusing set of quests that Meg must complete.  I could just see the downward spiral.  I wasn't interested in this secret society, or her grandfather, or the murder plots, or anything anymore.  And I'm rather unsure how this ends up being steampunk.

Some people loved this; I did not.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯



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