After a fire ravages Meg's home and kills her parents, she's forced to work as a maid in Lord Rathford's home - she takes that opportunity because it's certainly better than being tossed out onto the streets. Meg takes her grandfather's pocket watch with her only to find out that the pocket watch is actually a key. A key that will unlock truths and lead Meg into the secret society of the Amusementists - brilliant men who invent dangerous and wondrous machines like a game, hidden from the prying eyes of society.
I like steampunk but I'm sad to say that I wasn't really happy with this book. The characters were boring and flat and the romance was totally nonexistent. I couldn't feel Meg's attraction to Will even from the get-go when she would always make it a point to run to him every time she needed help. Will, on the other hand, was slightly better but not really, he's got a better head on his shoulders and isn't as rash as Meg but ultimately he's as boring as she was.
The one thing I actually wasn't indifferent to were the inventions, or Amusements as they're so called, because they were undeniably elaborate and well-crafted. But it would have been interesting to know how the Amusementists managed to hide these inventions, which are all on the huge side, from wandering eyes. I mean large metal structures that rise out of the ground? A battle between a giant metal ship and a man-made Leviathan? How do you hide such huge hulking things from people? Surely someone would have noticed.
Aside from that, the book gets a little repetitive after a while. Meg and Will and their new found allies run off to different Amusements to collect things needed for their final goal - stopping this machine which has the power to destroy life as they know it. While the Amusements are intricate and detailed and interesting, the fact that they go to each and every one and do the same things over and over and over again kind of dragged and bored me to tears. I suppose the fact that a murderer was out to get them would have added some suspense but I found myself uncaring.
That ending wasn't very spectacular either and this book is actually quite forgettable. A book where I had to wonder how in the world this secret society manage to stay a secret at all. It wasn't bad, it's just boring and I don't know if I want to read the next book. I'll think about it.