“The Home Office telegraphy department always smelled of tea.”First line in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
I’m here to tell you why you need to read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street series by Natasha Pulley because those books have recently blown me away with their awesomeness. However, I’m willing to admit that they aren’t for everyone, so through this post, I hope to shed some light on what aspects of the books I think work so well, all to help you decide whether they are books for you. First, a little bit on what they’re about.
Synopsis of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street
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.
In case this synopsis didn’t convince you to read this historical fiction and magical realism story, I’m here to provide even more reasons to pick it up. Enjoy!
Each Book is a Contained Story
No need to worry about those pesky cliffhangers. Each book basically works as a standalone with its own contained plot. You should still read them in order, though, because we’re dealing with the same characters in both.
Magical Realism Element Gives Unique Twists
It would be a spoiler to tell you what the magical realism element is, but I’m going to hail it anyway because it manages to affect every little part of the story. It makes the author able to include plotlines you might have seen before. The magical realism element gives these familiar stories a unique twist that is guaranteed to hold your attention and keep you guessing all the way through.
An Atmospheric and Clever Writing Style
If you love a writing style that doesn’t force-feed you all the information but instead lets you make your own assumptions, you need to read a book by Natasha Pulley. She is so subtle in her style of writing, and it requires that you pay attention while reading. It’s not something you speed through. However, catching on to hints and suddenly understanding what’s written between the lines is such a rewarding reading experience.
Soft and Sassy Characters
Soft and sassy, also known as the best character-traits-combination anyone can have. They are ones you root for, and if you enjoy reading about such characters, they are going to march right into your heart and settle down there. It doesn’t mean that they are perfect. A lot of time is actually dedicated to exploring their flaws, which is done in a very cool way where the author doesn’t pass judgment on them. She simply presents them as they are and allows the reader to decide what to think. Bonus: You also get the best animal companion I’ve ever come across.
A Victorian London with a Touch of Japan
The words “Victorian London” are the only words a lot of readers need to hear before picking up a book, myself included. However, these books expand on that trope by giving it a Japanese twist. Personally, it was an unexpected but delightful splash of color to this world since I don’t know much about Japanese culture. The second book especially dives into this topic with great fervor, so I highly recommend these books to readers who enjoy reading about Japan. Or just want to know more.
I think that’s all I can say without going into spoilers. If you want more than these two books, there is also a companion novel called The Bedlam Stacks. I have a review for that right here if you’re interested. It takes place long before The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, but I still recommend you at least read Watchmaker first because The Bedlam Stacks include some backstory on a character from that one. Other than that, The Bedlam Stacks is pretty much its own story.
I hope you had some use of this review. Let me know if you intend to read them or if you already have.