The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley


“‘I’m in disguise and running away from my husband’s best friend, who can remember the future,’ she said, because her mind was too full to conjure lies. ‘I’m trying to beat him back to his house now, so that I might steal his clockwork octopus, which runs on random gears.'”

Are you familiar with Japanese fairy tales? I am after spending several childhood years in the country. The difference I’ve found between their fairy tales and ours is that the magical things that happen are treated as if they were supposed to happen instead of being something just shy of miraculous. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street reminds me of a Japanese fairy tale, not just because there are several Oriental characters in the novel, but also because the characters in this book treat the incredulous with everyday reactions.

I had seen this book advertised in the Bookpages magazine and added it to my to-read list. I waited several months until it was my turn for the e-book checkout through Overdrive. The plot summary sounded interesting.

Thaniel lives in London and has a boring job as a telegraph clerk. He goes home one day to find a watch lying upon his bed. The city is soon besieged by bomb threats and Thaniel is led away from an explosion because the watch started making a noise and he took it outside to not bother the other people in the workplace. He then starts tracking down the maker of the watch while reporting to the Scotland Yard. As he befriends Keita Mori, he learns that Mori has an ability to tell the future – unless the movements are completely random. Thaniel cannot decide what Mori’s role in the bomb is until his recently-met fiancé interferes by taking justice into her own hands.

The book was confusing to follow at times and it was hard to believe the plot when the characters were not in awe of fantastical events and things, such as a clockwork octopus that moves around and makes decisions based on random gears. Or Mori having bottles that can change the weather if the substance inside is released. Some parts were heavily described and other important plot elements were only hinted at. If you enjoy Japanese fairy tales, you would probably like this book. Otherwise, you may be left wondering the point of the story.

Buy the book here (affiliate link).

About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.