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The Inventor's Secret Hardcover – April 22, 2014

20 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Inventor's Secret Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—Cremer, author of the "Nightshade" books (Philomel), has veered into a new world with this, the first title in an alternate-history series. She combines elements of steampunk and Victoriana to create an America in which the British won the Revolutionary War, descendants of the rebels are forced to labor in indentured servitude to atone for their forefathers' errors, and the children of those descendants are up to their eyeballs in plots against the government. Although the premise is promising, the execution is a bit of a miss. Character development is superficial, and a lack of historical context will exasperate readers. Most distressing of all is the female lead, Charlotte, who spends more time dithering over potential love interests than she does infiltrating the enemy and marshaling her troops. Teens who have come to expect strong female characters such as Katniss of "The Hunger Games" (Scholastic) and Alexia Tarabotti in the "Parasol Protectorate" series (Orbit) by Gail Carriger will be disappointed. Snappy dialogue and proficient world-building won't be enough to draw in kids.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

From Booklist

In this steampunk world, the British have won the Revolutionary War, and they are not making it easy on the losers. Deep in the forest lives 16-year-old Charlotte and her older brother, Ash, who is the leader of a group of young people, children of revolutionaries, who will move to the front at age 18. Coming in and out of their hiding place is handsome Jack, from the upper echelon of society, but who is a revolutionary at heart, and newcomer Grave, saved from the steel Rotpots by Charlotte, but with no memory of his past. Cremer does most everything right here: her fantastical colonial setting is well imagined, the characters have depth, and the adventures are heart-stopping. The romance—and potential entanglements—is predictable fare, but Charlotte is a lively enough heroine to keep the interest of several fellows, and readers, too. Happily, the ending, which mixes machinery and magic, and forces some characters into assuming new roles, will have readers eager to find out what happens next. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cremer is the author of the international blockbuster Nightshade series. Her legion of fans will be waiting for this one. Grades 9-12. --Ilene Cooper

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books (2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399159622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399159626
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrea Cremer is a New York Times and international bestselling author. She spent her childhood daydreaming while roaming the forests and lakeshores of Northern Wisconsin. She now lives in Manhattan, but at heart she will always be a small-town girl.

Andrea has always loved writing and has never stopped writing, but it took a horse and a broken foot to prompt her to finally write the novel she'd always dreamed of writing. Prior to becoming a full-time novelist, Andrea resided in the academic world where she taught early modern history.

When she's not writing, Andrea tries to master difficult yoga poses, wanders through Central Park, and hunts for new music to provide the soundtracks to her novels.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By iowaegian on June 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Although I think Cremer's premise for this book was good, and had potential to be a great book, it unfortunately read like a bad harlequin romance novel. Ridiculous amount of time spent on describing the main character's physical reactions to her love's touch, etc. - a bit inappropriate for a 7th grade target reading audience in my opinion. The most disappointing thing however was the author's failure to resolve the story conflict. There was no victory for the heroine, no resolution to any of the plot twists, the reader was left completely hanging- obviously poised for a sequel, but given the unsatisfying ending I won't be buying it. This book just felt forced. I'm sure Cremer is a very talented writer, but think this book falls short. Very mad I splurged for the hardcover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sara VINE VOICE on May 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Sixteen-year-old Charlotte has lived her entire life in hiding. She, her brother, and the rest of their ragtag group spend their childhood in hidden away until they're old enough to join the rebellion against the corrupt British government that controls North America with an iron fist and iron machines. When Charlotte saves a strange boy running from these vicious machines and takes him to the secret hideaway, everything changes. In order to find out who this mysterious and potentially dangerous boy is, Charlotte and her friends must venture into the dangerous city, disguising themselves in an effort to avoid detection. Can the rebels survive while surrounded by the enemy? And does this mysterious boy spell their doom or salvation?

It's been quite some time since I've read a book by Cremer, the last being her paranormal YA novel Nightshade. My strongest lasting impression of that novel was a strong female lead and a well-executed love triangle, both of which fans will find in THE INVENTOR'S SECRET. To be honest, this one started a bit slow, but I stuck with it because I've previously enjoyed Cremer's writing. This gamble ended up being well worth it, as, once Charlotte and the gang were out of hiding, the action really picked up.

What I really liked about this premise was the alternate world it presented. Instead of an alternate Victorian London (or alternate England of any time or place), Cremer presents readers will an alternate 19th century America in which the Revolutionary War was lost to the British, who then expanded their empire. I'm sure there's other steampunk like this around, but I haven't read it, so it was a new, exciting premise to explore.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Step Into Fiction on April 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The Steampunk genre has always scared me. It's always been a category that I've been hesitant to read. Probably because I usually liken it to historical fiction, and historical fiction isn't really my idea of a fun read. But recently I'd seen some photos of cosplayers in steampunk outfits and I really got intrigued. Then I remembered that I had picked up this book at New York Comic Con last year. Believe it or not, I've never read an Andrea Cremer book, even though I own 5 of her previous works. But I am glad that I choose this book as not only my first steampunk book, but my first Andrea Cremer book because this book was fantastic!

The Inventor's Secret is set in an alternate universe where the British won the Revolutionary War. The outcome of this is a continuing war for freedom. Now I must admit the historical back story is a major flaw in the story. I wish that the build up had been written a bit clearer for the reader. Maybe a passage before the start of the book giving details about the war. But luckily the characters and the adventures that they partake makes up for the lack of historical background.

Our lead is Charlotte. She is a gun-toting sixteen year old that you do not want to mess with. Nothing makes me happier than a strong female lead. She along with her brother Ash, live in a catacombs where they are in charge of looking after the children in their hideout. It immediately became clear that both Charlotte and Ash have been forced to grow up earlier than most. Their maturity levels rival those of people twice their age. But I am guessing dealing with war causes you to age faster. I loved their sibling relationship. It always fascinates me when an author write a story with a strong sibling bond. Also in the story is Jack.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Brown on December 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't get into this story. The alternate history (British winning the war) is never explored with any satisfaction. The steampunk is also lackluster, as the descriptions of the cool tech can be confusing to visualize and understand. I picked this up as a steampunk novel, but by the end of the book mysticism/magic trumps the tech. Boo. The characters are okay but the story is distracted by a standard teen romance triangle trope despite having more interesting plot lines to explore. Dialogue can be flat too. Finally, there is weird inclusion of having the characters worship Greek gods which is also never explained (why did British get involved in a dead Greek religion??). Although this is supposed to be the first book in a series I couldn't bear to have to read the rest of the series, even to have some of the slightly more interesting plot points resolved.
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