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The Inventor's Secret Paperback – July 14, 2015
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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 --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
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 --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
Top customer reviews
Cremer wrote this in third person limited POV choosing Charlotte as her voice. This could not have been a better choice for Cremer. Not only does it allow a strong female character to show her ability to take to the action, but when she goes undercover in the New York, it shows she can be feminine as well.
Something I found most interesting was the emphasis on the ancient Greek pantheon. This seems to seep into every crevice of life within the resistance and the Empire whether they realize it or not. It is based on an ancient Greek book of the dead that the inventor, Hacket Bromley was able to bring dead flesh back to life. Knowledge is guarded by the priestesses of Athene. It follows the characters everywhere, even in the way they dress.
It hits the ground running on page one and doesn’t stop.
There’s more adventure ahead for these rebels, and I can’t wait to see what’s next
The story takes place in 1816 in an alternate historical setting. I love this time period and even though it's an alternate setting its still intriguing. Charlotte and a group of rebels live underground hiding from The Empire. OMG! This is just going to be one of those gushing reviews that probably make no sense. That's how I usually write a review when I love it to pieces. And I loved this book hardcore!
I absolutely adored the main character, Charlotte. She was a strong character. but she had her weaknesses. Which makes her so relatable. I loved her brother Ash and her love interest, Jack. JACK! JACK! JACK! How I absolutely swooned over him. Gah! I can't even! The banter between Jack and Charlotte was to die for. He loved to pick on her and get under her skin.
"Suspended in the cool night air, they began to spin as if they were dancing without moving their feet. She didn't want to leave this moment. She wanted to float in the sky in Jack's arms as long as she could. The swell of feeling threw Charlotte off balance. This was Jack. Jack, who could rarely be anything other than annoying. Jack, whom she'd sworn not to speak to for at least a month last year, but who had then made her so angry she'd had to yell at him. Who teased her at every opportunity. But with utter clarity, Charlotte became aware in that moment how much she adored him for all those things about him."
Sigh! So dang good! The romance is this book is amazing, but the action and adventure is great too! I loved the world Andrea Cremer created mixed in with the history. The characters are all fantastic. The only character I wasn't a fan of was Coe. Ugh! Not saying why, but he drove me crazy! Such a wonderful start to a series and now I'm angry at myself for not buying book two because I need it! I'll be buying it immediately.
"Storm clouds build on the horizon. Before long, they'll be upon us."
The Inventor's Secret is not only steampunk, it is an alternate history as well. In the world that our characters live in Britain won the Revolutionary War and America lost. Britain has thus made those who fought against them be little more than slaves. They have to work hard for little to no money, live in squalor, and hope to survive to the next day.
Of course, there are those that still stand against the British Empire and hope to take back America and win their independence. While the adults are off fighting, they have their children hidden away in a series of caves, known as the Catacombs. There the children scavenge for the things they need and try to stay out of sight.
Charlotte is our 16 year old heroine. She is one of the handful of children that live in the catacombs. Her brother, Ash, is the leader. Once he is 18 he is to leave the Catacombs and go fight alongside the rest of the adults. A few other characters of note are: Jack - the boy who loves to torment Charlotte, Birch - the inventor of the group, Pip - the happy go lucky one, Meg - the oldest female of the group and the one that takes care of all of the rest, and Scoff - the pilot and amateur alchemist.
The story starts out with a bang. Charlotte is out in the wilderness and comes across a lost boy running for his life. She assists him and brings him back to the catacombs. Unfortunately, this boy cannot remember anything at all. Not who he is, where he came from, or anything about anything at all.
With needing to find out more about this strange boy Charlotte sets off on an adventure with Ash, Jack, and Meg to the Floating City (New York). Jack and Ash have their own thing to do in regards to the war, and Meg and Charlotte are to work on figuring out the mystery behind the boy. They meet a few other interesting characters along the way, and many secrets are told.
The Inventor's Secret was an absolutely fantastic read! I loved the world and the creativeness around it. Especially in regards to the Catacombs and to the Floating City. It is just so wonderful to try to picture a city up in the air with multiple levels. And the ships that take them there! My imagination was going into overload and I loved it!
I also really enjoyed the characters. Charlotte is pretty headstrong and stubborn. I enjoyed that a lot about her. I do wish she could be sure about somethings (boys) as she is about other things (fighting). I haven't quite decided how I feel about a few of the other characters. I guess time will tell as more things about them are found out.
The one thing I could really do without though is the hint of a love triangle. I am not too big of a fan of them in the first place. I have only come across one or two that I have actually really enjoyed reading through. The one that seems to be trying to take place in this one is not one of those. At points it almost feels forced into the story. I also have no idea who I am going to root for.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and the world that it contained.
Find more of my reviews here:
The premise of the book relies on a virtual reality where the USA was not born and America remains a colony from Britain. The author could have explored further on issues that a colony suffer or lacks: freedom, democracy...government.