It is such a good feeling when a book is able to pull you into the story and you become reluctant to put it down until it is completed. Whilst there are many good books that come and go allowing for the reader to be interested and attracted to it there are few that make the entire book gripping. For me The Watchmaker of Filigree Street managed to keep me interested throughout, despite my initial reservations about whether it would quite be my sort of thing.
The main thing that I was attracted to when picking this book up off of the charity shop was that there seemed to be a hint of a clockwork octopus involved. I mean a clockwork octopus in my head is a rather cute little image and from the moment it was introduced to the story it became my favourite character due to the way it was given such a mischievous little personality; who needs to have a child in the house when you could have a watchmakers octopus stealing your socks.
It was not just the octopus that had a well-formed character though but all of those that appeared in the story, even those that appeared only for a couple of minutes had been given detailed descriptions elsewhere so there was a full picture of them inside your head. This description carried on with regards to locations, emotions and other minor details that helped to create a feeling of intrigue and that you are actually part of the story; the changing between describing things from two different time periods and countries was seamless to allow the book to constantly run smoothly. Personally, having a book based on somewhere that I know reasonably well and am able to consider what it might have looked like at a certain period of time or after a certain event is a real pleasure as it allows my mind to work but only a little embellishing is required rather than needing to paint a full blown scene.
The story arc is based around a big event, an explosion, that causes the main character to think about things differently, encounter different people and go on a life journey that changes a lot of things. Whilst the characters involved are all trying to figure out whodunnit the reader is given enough clues that they are likely to figure it out early on; For the reader the story is not so much about finding out the culprit but instead everything that comes from it for the main character (and a bit of shouting at the book to tell them who is responsible instead of them going through so much nonsense). There are also other things in the story that are very obviously meant to be and going to happen and whilst the predictability of it for the reader is often annoying it is done well here and still leaves enough questions open that nothing is a complete certainty.
As the first book by Natasha Pulley that I have read it has left me wanting to seek out some of her other books, especially given this one received much deserved acclaim from the reading community, and also to consider more books that fall into a similar category. Whilst there was an element of steampunk here there was nothing overly dramatic and that fine balance between a traditional investigation story combined with the steampunk worked really well and suggests that Pulley has a great ability to merge ideas and genres in a captivating and well thought through way.
Highly recommended if you like stories involving mystery, romance and something a bit whacky. A must read should you have the chance to grab a copy or to drop it onto your electronic reading device.