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Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley


The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Author:  Natasha Pulley
Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA, July 14, 2015
Format:  Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages
List Price:  $26.00 (print)
ISBN:  9781620408339 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley

Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.
Google Play : iTunes : Kobo



Melanie's Thoughts

Thaniel Steepleton's life irrevocably changes when stranger leaves a gold pocket watch on his bed. Up to this point he has had a fairly lonely life as a telegrapher for the Ministry of Defence, lives a small bedsit, and sends half his meager wages to his widowed sister. His biggest challenge was trying to decide when to have his tea break. When the watch saves him from becoming yet another victim of the bombing of Scotland Yard, Thaniel is determined to find out who made it and how he ended up with it. His investigation takes him to none other than the watchmaker of Filigree Street - Keita Mori. Nathaniel's life soon becomes entangled with the unassuming watchmaker. The story moves from present to the past as we learn about Mori's past in Japan and the circumstances of his arrival in England. We also meet Grace who has returned home after studying physics at university. Grace wants to continue her experiments but is being pressured by her parents to get married first. When Thaniel meets Grace at a ball he couldn't possibly anticipate the chain of events that would ensue.

Pulley sets her debut novel in a grey and bleak London during a time when the Fenian's (or Irish Republican Brotherhood) were setting off bombs in key cities, mainly London. It is also a time when both foreigners and women were openly discriminated against. Setting her story during real events helps to create a feeling of legitimacy to the story and to the characters. I found the whole novel very atmospheric and felt that Pulley picked an excellent time period in which to set her story. I was however let down by the lack of characterisation. Neither Thaniel nor Grace stood out and, in fact, I found Grace extremely self-centered. She acts appallingly towards the end of the novel and no one seems to bat an eyelash. This seemed incongruous with the rest of the story and focus on finding the person who bombs Scotland Yard. Of all the characters Mori was the most developed and was by far the most interesting. I think this is down to the chapters dedicated to his history back in Japan.

My final bug bear with this novel and which made the whole novel a bit of a struggle for me is the typeface. I realise that the choice of typeface can be outside of the hands of the author but I struggle to understand why anyone would chose to use a typeface that used random capitalisation. A first I thought it was bad editing as I had an eARC but I flipped to the back and read the author's notes which explained the typeface. Very odd choice.

I had high hopes for the The Watchmaker of Filigree Street as I have read some other excellent debuts in the last few months, but overall I was disappointed. The characters lack the depth they require in order to pull off the convoluted plot. 

2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts


2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts

Each month you will be able to vote for your favorite cover from that month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2015 Debut Novel Cover of the Year. Please note that a debut novel cover is eligible in the month in which the novel is released in the US. Cover artist/illustrator information is provided when we have it.

I'm using PollCode for this vote. After you the check the circle next to your favorite, click "Vote" to record your vote. If you'd like to see the real-time results click "View". This will take you to the PollCode site where you may see the results. If you want to come back to The Qwillery click "Back" and you will return to this page. Voting will end sometime on July 25, 2015.



Vote for your favorite July 2015 Debut Cover!
 
pollcode.com free polls




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover Artist - David Palumbo




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts




2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July Debuts
Cover Design by Jason Gurley

Melanie's Week in Review - July 12, 2015



Melanie's Week in Review - July 12, 2015


Apologies for not posting last week but I have been enjoying the summer a bit too much and not working on my TBR. It has been a super duper hot summer so far which is unusual for the UK. So hot in fact that I could barely stand to turn on my laptop or concentrate on reading. I am back in the reading saddle so what did I read?


Melanie's Week in Review - July 12, 2015
Last week I read the Watchmaker of Filigree Street which is Natasha Pulley's debut novel. As this is a debut I have written a full review which will be posted soon so keep your eye out for what I thought of it. What I can say is how much I like the cover. I think it has an Art Deco feel about it although the story isn't set in that period.


Melanie's Week in Review - July 12, 2015I was having a quick look at my Amazon recommendations and came across a new book by Kelley Armstrong - City of the Lost. Armstrong is releasing this story in small chunks and I read the first and second parts. Each instalment is less than 50 pages long but it really felt like they were much longer. City of the Lost is about a young woman  - Casey Duncan - who is trying to protect her best friend by moving to a secret town full of people trying to hide. Normally, I don't like short stories or novellas but I have gotten used to serials after reading the Inn Keeper serial by Ilona Andrews and Radiance by Grace Draven. Armstrong develops her main character very quickly and even with so few pages you really understand her motivations and how she ended up in her current situation. She is determined, loyal and very interesting. I have already ordered instalment 3. (Note that City of the Lost is not yet available in the US. Look for it in 2016.)


Melanie's Week in Review - July 12, 2015
My final book of the week was The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl by Ishbelle Bee. This is only Bee's second novel. I reviewed her debut  - The Singular and Extraordinary of Mirror and Goliath back in June and was quite surprised to find a second book available on NetGalley. I almost can't adequately describe this book or in fact describe it at all. Book 2 focuses on John Loveheart as he skips through the country beheading anyone who looks at him the wrong way and searches for the perfect cake. There are a lot of characters in this story with a few returning from book 1. There almost has to be a lot of characters with the number of murders that take place. Apart from Loveheart the story focuses on a young orphan girl called Boo Boo who has a butterfly tattooed on her back. Boo Boo has also come to the attention of a famous butterfly collector who wants her to join his collection and isn't going to take no for an answer.

The things I liked about book 1 - the quirky characters, the story, the POVs were not really there in book 2. I found the story much more violent and in some parts much more silly. Bee continues to have a very creative and active imagination but this instalment is a the other side of macabre for me with no hero to cheer on.

That is all for me for this week. I hope you have had a good wee and much more productive than I have been. Fingers crossed for next week and until then Happy Reading.





The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl
From the Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq., Volume2
Angry Robot Books, August 4, 2015 (North America Print and eBook)
        August 6, 2015 (UK Print)
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - July 12, 2015
A dark and twisted Victorian melodrama, like Alice in Wonderland goes to Hell, from the author of The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath.
 
Two orphans, Pedrock and Boo Boo, are sent to live in the sinister village of Darkwound. There they meet and befriend the magical and dangerous Mr Loveheart and his neighbour, Professor Hummingbird, a recluse who collects rare butterflies. Little do they know that Professor Hummingbird has attracted the wrath of a demon named Mr Angelcakes.

One night, Mr Angelcakes visits Boo Boo and carves a butterfly onto her back. Boo Boo starts to metamorphose into a butterfly/human hybrid, and is kidnapped by Professor Hummingbird. When Mr Loveheart attempts to rescue her with the aid of Detective White and Constable Walnut, they too are turned into butterflies.

Caught between Professor Hummingbird and the demon Angelcakes, Loveheart finds himself entangled in a web much wider and darker than he could have imagined, and a plot that leads him right to the Prime Minister and even Queen Victoria herself …

File Under: Fantasy [ Closing the Net / Heads in the Trees / The Angel-Eater / Prime Minister’s Questions ]

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts


There are 10 debuts for July. Please note that we use the publisher's publication date in the United States, not copyright dates or non-US publication dates.

The July debut authors and their novels are listed in alphabetical order by author (not book title or publication date). Take a good look at the covers. Voting for your favorite June cover for the 2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars will take place starting on July 15th.

If you are participating as a reader in the Challenge, please let us know in the comments what you are thinking of reading or email us at "DAC . TheQwillery  @  gmail . com" (remove the spaces and quotation marks). Please note that we list all debuts for the month (of which we are aware), but not all of these authors will be 2015 Debut Author Challenge featured authors. However, any of these novels may be read by Challenge readers to meet the goal for July. The list is correct as of the day posted.



Rob Boffard

Tracer
Redhook (Orbit), July 16, 2015
eBook, 368 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
IN SPACE, EVERY. SECOND. COUNTS.

Our planet is in ruins. Three hundred miles above its scarred surface orbits Outer Earth: a space station with a million souls on board. They are all that remain of the human race.

Darnell is the head of the station's biotech lab. He's also a man with dark secrets. And he has ambitions for Outer Earth that no one will see coming.

Prakesh is a scientist, and he has no idea what his boss Darnell is capable of. He'll have to move fast if he doesn't want to end up dead.

And then there's Riley. She's a tracer - a courier. For her, speed is everything. But with her latest cargo, she's taken on more than she bargained for.

A chilling conspiracy connects them all.

The countdown has begun for Outer Earth - and for mankind.




Camille Griep

Letters to Zell
47North, July 1, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Everything is going according to story for CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty)—until the day that Zell (Rapunzel) decides to leave Grimmland and pursue her life. Now, Zell’s best friends are left to wonder whether their own passions are worth risking their predetermined “happily ever afters,” regardless of the consequences. CeCi wonders whether she should become a professional chef, sharp-tongued and quick-witted Bianca wants to escape an engagement to her platonic friend, and Rory will do anything to make her boorish husband love her. But as Bianca’s wedding approaches, can they escape their fates—and is there enough wine in all of the Realm to help them?

In this hilarious modern interpretation of the fairy-tale stories we all know and love, Letters to Zell explores what happens when women abandon the stories they didn’t write for themselves and go completely off script to follow their dreams.




Logan J. Hunder

Witches Be Crazy
A Tale That Happened Once Upon a Time in the Middle of Nowhere
Night Shade Books, July 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Real heroes never die. But they do get grouchy in middle age.

The beloved King Ik is dead, and there was barely time to check his pulse before the royal throne was supporting the suspiciously shapely backside of an impostor pretending to be Ik’s beautiful long-lost daughter. With the land’s heroic hunks busy drooling all over themselves, there’s only one man left who can save the kingdom of Jenair. His name is Dungar Loloth, a rural blacksmith turned innkeeper, a surly hermit and an all-around nobody oozing toward middle age, compensating for a lack of height, looks, charm, and tact with guts and an attitude.

Normally politics are the least of his concerns, but after everyone in the neighboring kingdom of Farrawee comes down with a severe case of being dead, Dungar learns that the masquerading princess not only is behind the carnage but also has similar plans for his own hometown. Together with an eccentric and arguably insane hobo named Jimminy, he journeys out into the world he’s so pointedly tried to avoid as the only hope of defeating the most powerful person in it. That is, if he can survive the pirates, cultists, radical Amazonians, and assorted other dangers lying in wait along the way.

Logan J. Hunder’s hilarious debut blows up the fantasy genre with its wry juxtaposition of the fantastic and the mundane, proving that the best and brightest heroes aren’t always the best for the job.




J. Dalton Jennings

Solomon's Arrow
Talos Press, July 14, 2014
Trade Papeback and eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
It’s the mid-twenty-first century. The oceans are rising, the world’s population is growing, terrorist organizations are running rampant, and it has become readily apparent that humanity’s destructive nature is at the heart of the matter.

When all faith in humanity seems lost, a startling proposal is announced: Solomon Chavez, the mysterious son of the world’s first trillionaire, announces that he, backed by a consortium of governments and wealthy donors, will build an interstellar starshipone that will convey a select group of six thousand individuals, all under the age of fifty, with no living relatives, to a recently discovered planet in the Epsilon Eridani star system. His goal is lofty: to build a colony that will ensure the survival of the human race. However, Solomon Chavez has a secret that he doesn’t dare share with the rest of the world.

With the launch date rapidly approaching, great odds must be overcome so that the starship Solomon’s Arrow can fulfill what the human race has dreamed of for millennia: reaching for the stars. The goal is noble, but looming on the horizon are threats nobody could have imaginedones that may spell the end of all human life and end the universe as we know it.

Filled with action, suspense, and characters that will live on in the imagination, Solomon’s Arrow will leave readers breathless, while at the same time questioning what humanity’s true goals should be: reaching for the stars, or exploring the limits of the human mind?




James Kendley

The Drowning God
Harper Voyager Impulse, July 28, 2015
eBook, 240 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
To uncover modern Japan's darkest, deadliest secret, one man must face a living nightmare from his childhood

Few villagers are happy when Detective Tohru Takuda returns to his hometown to investigate a string of suspicious disappearances. Even the local police chief tries to shut him out from the case. For behind the conspiracy lurks a monstrous living relic of Japan's pagan history: the Kappa. Protected long ago by a horrible pact with local farmers—and now by coldly calculating corporate interests—the Kappa drains the valley's lifeblood, one villager at a time.

As the body count rises, Takuda must try to end the Drowning God's centuries-long reign of terror, and failure means death…or worse.




Brian Kirk

We Are Monsters
Samhain Publishing, July 7, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 312 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum. 

He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.

Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.

Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.




Rhonda Mason

The Empress Game
The Empress Game Trilogy 1
Titan Books, July 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
One seat on the intergalactic Sakien Empire’s supreme ruling body, the Council of Seven, remains unfilled, that of the Empress Apparent. The seat isn’t won by votes or marriage. It’s won in a tournament of ritualized combat in the ancient tradition. Now that tournament, the Empress Game, has been called and the women of the empire will stop at nothing to secure political domination for their homeworlds. Kayla Reunimon, a supreme fighter, is called to battle it out in the arena.

The battle for political power isn’t contained by the tournament’s ring, however. The empire’s elite gather to forge, strengthen or betray alliances in a dance that will determine the fate of the empire for a generation. With the empire wracked by a rising nanovirus plague and stretched thin by an ill-advised planet-wide occupation of Ordoch in enemy territory, everything rests on the woman who rises to the top.




Natasha Pulley

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
Bloomsbury USA, July 14, 2015
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.
Google Play : iTunes : Kobo




A.F.E. Smith

Darkhaven
Harper Voyager (UK), July 2, 2015
eBook, 400 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
Ayla Nightshade never wanted to rule Darkhaven. But her half-brother Myrren – true heir to the throne – hasn’t inherited their family gift, forcing her to take his place.

When this gift leads to Ayla being accused of killing her father, Myrren is the only one to believe her innocent. Does something more sinister than the power to shapeshift lie at the heart of the Nightshade family line?

Now on the run, Ayla must fight to clear her name if she is ever to wear the crown she never wanted and be allowed to return to the home she has always loved.




Gary Whitta

Abomination
Inkshares, July 29, 2015
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages

2015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts
He is England's greatest knight, the man who saved the life of Alfred the Great and an entire kingdom from a Viking invasion. But when he is called back into service to combat a plague of monstrous beasts known as abominations, he meets a fate worse than death and is condemned to a life of anguish, solitude, and remorse.

She is a fierce young warrior, raised among an elite order of knights. Driven by a dark secret from her past, she defies her controlling father and sets out on a dangerous quest to do what none before her ever have―hunt down and kill an abomination, alone.

When a chance encounter sets these two against one another, an incredible twist of fate will lead them toward a salvation they never thought possible―and prove that the power of love, mercy, and forgiveness can shine a hopeful light even in history’s darkest age.

Review: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley2015 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - July DebutsMelanie's Week in Review - July 12, 20152015 Debut Author Challenge - July Debuts

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