"Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.
The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery."
First of all, I should mention that this is an alternative timeline, a different world. The British lost the American Revolution, not won. But for purposes of this book, the British (lobsters!) won and they apparently dominate the world. There is a Resistance, but not many people know about it. Or so it seems. It is a bit hard when you are confined to one POV (Charlotte). So you got that so far? Nineteenth century steampunk plus a bunch of lobsters (remember the British soldiers' uniforms? They are all red).
Charlotte is a bit spoiled and nosy, but they apparently are all positive traits. Well, if she wasn't nosy or rude (like most heroines in the fiction world), she probably wouldn't be in trouble by end. Then again, this entire book probably wouldn't exist thanks to the lack of that trait. And Charlotte would be dead. Whoops! Another strange spoiler, eh? Anyway, Charlotte "Lottie" No-Last-Name (possibly Marshall, though) is a smart and clever girl. The only problem is her hot-temper, irrational behavior, and stubbornness. Easy said: Most of these traits won't go away by the end, but she does mature a bit.
The Inventor's Secret is a good book, not a great book. It is good and it isn't bad (plus, I hope Andrea Cremer doesn't screw this series up too). There are a bit bumps here and there in the plot, but overall, it is an interesting read. I think it will probably contain your attention for most of the book. The beginning is boring. The section before the ending, also boring. Everything else is fine. The only problem? You have to read the beginning/exposition. Without the backstory, you won't understand anything.
There are a few keys and lessons learned. First of all, girls must take control of their situation. Don't let a man rule your life! Just kidding. But it does go a bit like that. Truthfully, it is more like this: Don't wait around for the perfect man. Go out to the world and find him. Any other lessons? I can give you one: Just don't get your nose into other people's business. So many books wouldn't had happen if characters didn't stick their noses into the wrong conversations.
Overall, I think the Inventor's Secret is good.
Rating: Three out of Five