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Publisher's Summary

New from Andrea Cremer, the New York Times best-selling author of the Nightshade novels, comes an action-packed alternate-history steampunk adventure.

In this world, 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 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. Perfect for fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners, Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, ScottWesterfeld's Leviathan and Phillip Reeve's Mortal Engines.

©2014 Andrea Cremer; 2014 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Cremer...creates an inventive blend of steampunk and alternative history in this new series. She gives readers a fantastical world with mechanical wonders and an opulent vintage setting. The characters are interesting and well developed. Readers will be drawn to future installments." (VOYA, starred review)

"[A]n entertaining romp in a richly imaginative setting." (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about The Inventor's Secret

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Devolved into a 16 year old girls' love triangle

This book started with a lot of promise. It was an alternate history steampunk story that started on a good path, but unfortunately devolved into a 16 year old girls' love triangle. This is one of the few books I couldn't be bothered to finish. So disappointing.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mechanically great

What did you love best about The Inventor's Secret?

I like the alternate reality. The characters were each well defined.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Linette: I like her firery style.

What about Leslie Bellair’s performance did you like?

The performance was well done. She identified each characters well with her voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

This is the first steampunk book I have the opportunity of reading (listening to). I enjoyed the alternate reality story line and the eclectic characters. This book is written for a TA audience. As an adult, the story came through as immature at times; especially when it addressed Charlotte's infatuated feelings. I addressed those with a few rolls of the eyes.

Sometimes it was also difficult to believe that a young girl who was not raised in the ways of society, found it so easy to play the part of a debutante. I was expecting more conflicting emotions and feats.

I enjoyed learning about the different classes and how they intertwined. Although there were several main personas in the story, they each were unique in their own way. They contributed to the tale as needed without bringing confusion as to who is who. The descriptions of the different apparatuses used in the book were quite clever.

Overall, I enjoyed this quick read.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Seems unfocused

_The Inventor's Secret_ Andrea Cremer receives three stars from me. I found the book unfocused as it diverged too much from the premise.

The book was read by Leslie Bellair, and I found her performance good. However, her voice tends more on childish than Young Adult, and many of her characters sounded pre-adolescent. I found that distracting. Her ideas about the book and the rhythms she uses were all fine.

On to the book. Disclaimer. I didn't finish this text. I had about 20% left, and just no longer could be bothered with the story Cremer bills the book as a YA Steampunk novel. I found at times the dialogue to be younger than YA. As well as, the writing. At times, I found myself asking: is this YA or Juvenile? The book would be a good juvenile book I believe and give 12-14 year olds a lot to discuss. However, as for a YA book for a 17--22 year old? I think many might find the book too simplistic.

For me, too much attention was paid on the romance plot than should be. It distracted me from the subversive task the characters were doing. What was needed was one of the characters to step up and say--Hey, we've got a mission to do here, and your behavior can and will bring attention to us, stop it.

I love a good steampunk, but this one isn't going to be listed as one. I found the world wasn't as steampunky as it should be. There were some interesting things but not enough. I think her idea of alternative history was excellent, and the political world we get glimpses at, I think are good.

Why did I not finish? I'm 52 years old, and I don't want to continue if I'm not enjoying a book. I didn't dislike the book from the beginning but as time went on, I become less and less interested in it. I don't care at this point what the secret might be or what inventor the title refers to. I think this is because Cremer's characters are not fully developed; thus they garner less interest in their stories.

Recommended: If you are interested in steampunk, do not start with this one. If you are reading to find books for teens and younger, I think this could be a good fit. For adults who are just interested in reading and reading different genres, I don't recommend the book. So then, why the 3 stars. While the book didn't appeal to me, I can see that it is enjoyable (it was enjoyable for me for a time), but most importantly, it isn't a crappy book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A good read. Entertaining.

I enjoyed this book a lot. It got me hooked quickly with the steampunk theme and alternate universe. The only flaw was the readers voice for the character Grave, it felt too childish for me and I found it annoying at times. But for the rest of the characters she voiced well for their personalities.