I would classify Legacy of the Clockwork Key as a Middle Grade book, not a Young Adult book. It is a great introduction to the Steampunk genre for middle graders that want to see if this genre is for them.
When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow.
Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge, uncovering evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect.
Legacy of the Clockwork Key was a sweet book with mystery, romance, adventure and a little bit of Steampunk awesomeness. I think it's a wonderful book to read on a rainy or snowy day, especially curled up by the fire. This is not one to try to read at the beach! It requires too much focus that summer and sunshine tend to disallow. So add this to your autumn/winter To Be Read List.
Although I would have appreciated a little more character development I really enjoyed Kristin Bailey's protagonists Meg and Will. Both are strong and plucky and don't fit in with societal norms. Their courage to rise above their haunted pasts to solve a deadly mystery is wonderful to see grow throughout the novel.
Kristin Bailey does a great job with various romances throughout the novel as well. The slow build up and suspense wondering will they or wont they get together is wonderful. She writes about past heartache in such a way that you feel it a long with the character she is writing about. She makes you feel for everyone that has suffered through the pain of the mystery they are trying to and hope that in the end they get their happy ending.
Although it is a slow read I feel that Legacy of the Clockwork Key is still a great pick for those who are interested in the Steampunk genre but may not want to dive into a hardcore Steampunk novel or series.
I am definitely looking forward to the next installment in the series
Rise of the Arcane Fire (available 2/4/14). I can't wait to see what happens next!