The Watchmaker of Filigree Street: A Review

Set in the 1800s, Thaniel Steepleton’s average life working as a telegraphist is turned upside down with the discovery of a pocket watch in his home. The journey this simple object takes him on has him finding a friend whose life is full of secrets, a woman looking to marry, and a magic previously thought incomprehensible. With a little bit of science mixed in with magic, Filigree Street holds more than what meets the eye.

This book was a bit of an unexpected piece of enjoyment. I was a little confused in the beginning because the first part bounces from Tokyo to London and I missed some of the transitions at the chapter openings, but I started to follow the story and things started to fall into place.

I was also a little confused by Mori’s abilities and his explanation as to how they worked. I am still a little cloudy on the details, but towards the end I started to gather it together.

There were terms I felt like I should know, but didn’t like Clan na Gael and ether. But after a quick internet search, I was able to put the pieces together and keep reading without question.

The story was a little slow for my taste with the majority of Part One being, well, boring to say the least. Once it switched to Part Two, the story picked up pace and the separate stories for the characters started to merge. Mori became a character that I both liked and disliked. He has this extremely wonderful ability to create clockwork creatures, such as Katsu the octopus, but he also allows bad things to happen to the other characters in order to progress the future into a way he deems it needs to be.

Grace, while her intentions could be considered good, became the villain for me. I wanted to like her because she was an educated woman that was having to deal with being considered inferior compared to men. She was also a bit of a mad scientist, which lands her in a bit of trouble at one point in her academic career, which is also an endearing trait. But she is rude, crass, and outright cruel to Thaniel. Thaniel is essentially doing her a favor and yet she has no respect for him and, without giving too much away, attempts to ruin Thaniel’s humble attempt at happiness.

Thaniel and Mori are where the story is. Don’t worry, no spoilers here even though I am bursting at the seems to tell you what happens at the end of Chapter 24. I was thrown off balance, surprised and I think literally left with my mouth hanging wide open.

The ending took a bit of a turn, but I can’t say it was a twist ending. In a way, I saw it coming. It was a good read nonetheless.

I came across this book as a book club selection and while it was not the book I originally wanted to read this month, I did enjoy the final 2/3.

I’ve already started on the next read, The Cellar. So far, I’m enjoying it.


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