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Series Review: The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Inventor’s Secret (from Goodreads):

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.

breakdown

Series: The Inventor’s Secret Trilogy
Author: Andrea Cremer
# of Books: 3 (The Inventor’s Secret, The Conjurer’s Riddle, The Turncoat’s Gambit)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Alternate History, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2014 – November 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I found out about this series when my library added the second book and my eye was immediately drawn to the cover. I noticed that it was by Andrea Cremer, who wrote the series Nightshade–a series that I didn’t totally love but still enjoyed. She’s a good writer–I just hated the heroine and love interest in that particular series. But this was a steampunk series which is the ultimate kryptonite for me and so I marked it on my wishlist.

I then forgot about this series until I was browsing audiobooks to read and decided this would make for a great audiobook adventure!

The Concept / The World:

I absolutely adored the alternate history aspect of this novel. A world where the American Revolution never succeeded? What a concept! It gives this world a rich background and a unique setting that captured my full attention.

The only downside of this world is that the Steampunk elements never really take off and shine. Honestly, if I didn’t read the “steampunk” tag on Goodreads, I wouldn’t have necessarily labeled The Inventor’s Secret as steampunk. There are some token elements but they play such a minor role that they could easily be written off as a product of the alternate history aspect rather than steampunk. The steampunk does become a little more apparent in the later books but not enough for someone looking for a true steampunk epic.

The Plot:

I will admit, I had no idea what the plot for this series would be. I thought it would be more of a steampunk adventure (I mean you have a group of exile teens living in the catacombs so obviously there is something bigger at play) but that isn’t the case. For one thing, there is a lot more talking than physical action and there is more of a focus on the romance than not (especially in The Inventor’s Secret). It gives this story a lighter feel that I still found to be entertaining just not overly grand.

I also found The Inventor’s Secret to be terribly predictable. None of the “big” twists surprised me because I could see them a mile away. Nonetheless, I was still interested in seeing how everything would play out. The final book, The Turncoat’s Gambit has a few unexpected twists so that was great.

I think the biggest problem with this series is that nothing ever gets elaborated on. Whether that is an attempt to create some mysticism or suspense, I don’t know but it doesn’t really accomplish anything. We get these inklings of bigger issues but it just seems like Charlotte and company just take everything in stride without necessarily delving deeper.

The Characters:

I really loved the cast of characters here! While Charlotte is a little forgettable/dull in The Inventor’s Secret, I could see the potential early on for her development/growth. So I was eager to see her become this respectable heroine and watch her journey. And she does grow up and get a little smarter as the series goes on which is nice to see.

The rest of the cast plays their roles well. I found myself drawn to the various side characters and their relationships. You just really connect with this somewhat ragtag team of teens as they try to navigate this dangerous and intriguing world.

The Romance:

This played a larger role than I anticipated in The Inventor’s Secret given the synopsis but once I started reading, I knew it would be a bigger focus. It’s a bit of a love triangle at the start but I like that it isn’t the sole focus as the series progresses. Other things are at play during the romantic moments of the first book and those take more of the center stage later. And you have all the subplot romances as well so there is always something brewing.

My Audiobook Experience:

I’m so glad I picked this up as an audiobook! The narration is fabulous and it felt like you were listening to a TV show. It was super easy to visualize things and I always love it when a narrator gives each character a unique voice.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Inventor’s Secret 3.5/5 | The Conjurer’s Riddle 3/5 | The Turncoat’s Gambit 4/5

overall

The plot isn’t anything groundbreaking but it’s entertaining and always had my full attention. I enjoyed the adventure this group of people takes in this super cool world.

Read if You Like: like romance, alternate history setting
Avoid if You: want a steampunk adventure

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Series Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series:

There is a prequel series called the Nightshade Prequel Series.

There is also a prequel adult erotica series called Captive: the Forbidden Side of Nightshade

There is also a spin-off series called the Nightshade Legacy

Author: Andrea Cremer
# of Books: 3 (Nightshade, Wolfsbane, Bloodrose)

There are 3 novellas: #0.5 Shadow Days, #2.5 Treachery, and #3.5 Aftermath

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Werewolves, Magic, Romance
Heat Rating: warm (but pretty steamy for a Young Adult read)
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

I actually read Nightshade 3 years ago and Wolfsbane 2 years ago but decided to reread both before I finally read the grande finale, Bloodrose this fall. Part of the reason was that the year between reading the first two novels really caused me some hardships as I couldn’t remember some of the finer details of the plot which in turn altered my reading experience. So I knew the two years between Wolfbane and Bloodrose wouldn’t be any better and subsequently put in my holds at the library to get my hands on these books.

When I first read Nightshade, I really enjoyed it though I did have my negatives about it. Rereading reaffirmed my initial impression: I like this series and the concept of it but dislike the heroine. I really don’t enjoy werewolf novels; they just don’t do anything for me other than piss me off with overprotective alpha males and silly (often nonexistent in the adult genre) plot-lines. I know that that appeals to some people but it sure doesn’t to me. And while this series does have some of those moments, I find it’s a lot more toned down (in some things) and it has a more intricate plot that peaks my interest.

That’s the best way to describe this series: an adult werewolf read for young adults. Because the sexual tension is there (Calla is probably one, if not the, horniest young adult heroine I have ever come across) complete with the love triangle and the alpha males that are supposed to get your heart racing; it just isn’t as descriptive as an adult paranormal read would be (though you get a pretty good idea of what is going down if you catch my drift). I guess that’s why the Captive: Forbidden Side of Nightshade series was created because this trilogy often bordered on adult content so I could definitely see Cremer doing a more adult series like she has.

One of the negatives with this series is Calla. Man, I really want to like her because she has everything she needs to be a strong, independent heroine and for the most part I would say she is independent. But her ultimate flaw is her flare for over-dramatics. She just flips like a switch in her moods at times and it doesn’t help that she is torn between two love interests for the entire series. One minute she wants to smack Ren then the next she is shivering in lust to be with him; same with Shay. This love triangle is one of the sole reasons why I hate love triangles in novels. It also doesn’t help that I am totally Team Ren through and through so I really can’t stand anything Shay does and in turn, anything Calla does with Shay. Calla actually reminds me a lot of Zoey from the House of Night Series, and not in a good way. Although Calla doesn’t have multiple love interests per book (she thankfully just has the two) she still is extremely self-absorbed about her romantic relationships and is constantly making out with them then subsequently feeling quilt for doing so.

It gets tiring–this back and forth between Calla and the two boys and by Bloodrose it was driving me nuts! I found Wolfsbane didn’t have much of a plot: it was mostly just Calla worrying about who she would choose between Ren and Shay. That got even worse in Bloodrose. By the time I was 50 pages in I couldn’t handle it anymore and had to read the synopsis for the Aftermath novella in the hopes it would tell me who she picked. It didn’t but I accidentally read a spoiler so that made things go a little smoother.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending of Bloodrose. Having read the entire series in a week I honestly was getting kind of bored with it (mostly because of the love triangle thing) and I think I just wanted it to end. I understand why some people hate the ending given the two twists we get near the end, I do a little bit too. But it honestly ended how I thought it would so in the end, no biggie.

I didn’t read any of the other novellas in the series (Shadow Days and Treachery) with the exception of Aftermath. I didn’t read the first two because I really could care less about Shay and Treachery just didn’t interest me. I don’t feel like I lost any reading experience by not reading them. Aftermath is a good one to read if you are interested in reading the spin-off series, Nightshade Legacy. But it doesn’t really wrap up everything if you are expecting an epilogue type of novella.

Despite not totally loving this series, I think I am going to give Nightshade Legacy a shot because I really like one of the characters it focuses on and I’m interested to see where the plot will go next.

Conclusion:

This series really lost momentum for me after the first book. Cool concept, interesting plot and awesome secondary characters but Calla as a heroine really disappointed me. If you enjoy werewolf reads and/or love triangle obsessed novels, this is the series for you. However, if you are like me and wanted to tear your hair out reading Twilight because of Bella’s love triangle, this is NOT the series for you.

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight Saga #1); Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Raised by Wolves Trilogy #1) and Marked by P.C. Cast (House of Night Series #1)

Synopsis for Nightshade (from Goodreads):
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?