Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.
Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.
What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together.
About the Author:
Nikki started writing her first novel at the age of 12, which she still has tucked in a briefcase in her home office, waiting for the right moment. Despite a successful short story publication with Cricket Magazine in 2007, she continued to treat her writing addiction as a hobby until a drop in the economy presented her with an abundance of free time that she used to focus on making it her career.
Nikki lives in the magnificent Pacific Northwest tending to her husband and three cats suffering varying stages of neurosis. She feeds her imagination by sitting on the ocean in her kayak gazing out across the never-ending water or hanging from a rope in a cave, embraced by darkness and the sound of dripping water. She finds peace through practicing iaido or shooting her longbow.
I do like a good bit of steampunk, it does seem to be gaining popularity at the moment, especially in the YA market – which is great to see. The Girl and the Clockwork Cat was a well written, and thought out book, with an interesting storyline and some lovely prose.
From a writer’s perspective, I did have a problem with the dialogue. As the book was set in Victorian England there were a lot of ‘bloody’ cliches in how the characters spoke. Although this can feel more ‘realistic’ to readers from other countries, as an English reader/writer I unfortunately cringed. It conjured the kind of ‘Dick Van Dyke’ accent in my head so felt a little patronizing to me personal – and ruined the character interaction, which apart from that aspect was great. I always try to give a bit of advice whenever I criticise part of a book (it’s only fair to give a solution if you raise a problem) but it’s a bit difficult here from a cultural perception stand-point. I’ve read some really good English dialogue written by authors from other countries and some much worse than what you’ll find in this book, the only advice I can give is to tone it down and perhaps speak to people in that country – harder to do when your characters are set back in time, granted. I think all too often TV Shows and movies are used as research points for dialogue and its understanding that, although some are as historically accurate as they can be, others are merely satisfied with an over-the-top charactiture. I’d have been happier if, as this is a steampunk novel for made-up swears and parts of language to have been included.
The front cover is beautiful and will no doubt garner attention on the virual bookshelves
Overall I’d give The Girl and the Clockwork Cat 3 out 5 stars. Cog me! It’s nice to read some steampunk!