Summary “Watchmaker of Filigree Street” (N. Pulley)

What you liked:

  • Setting felt very authentic, comfortable, not overwhelming with historical details
  • Mechanical octopus Katsu ❤
  • Characters cool, not annoying –> a very good sign
  • Thaniel felt ordinary –> relatable, not over the top
  • Diversity: very different from each other
  • Keita, Thaniel, Grace –> balanced
  • Different cultural backgrounds
  • Tea making rituals
  • Conflict of Grace and Keita started to escalate –> fate vs. free will –> felt very intimate
  • Mechanics of Mori’s clairvoyance –> about probability
  • Steampunk, magical realism –> best genre categorization –> Zafón books reminded us of him, Murakami also quite close
  • Writing style –> quiet, details matter
  • Enjoyed the different genre –> didn’t know where the story would go
  • Was not boring
  • Grace nice –> surprising ‘villain’ –> antagonist –> slow and harmonic way –> surprise –> many layered conflict with Keita
  • Ether/science vs. clairvoyance/magic
  • Rooted for Thaniel and Mori; surprise!; felt sudden; quietness of the romance –> subtle, hints –> unexpected; not the focus on their relationship –> homophobia could be problematic
  • Japanese character, how he was portrayed, polite, reserved
  • Historical background: Clan na Gael –> thought it would become a spy mystery –> “sharp turn, goes in one way, then it grabs you, and pulls you to the side”, not a whodunnit as expected
  • Katsu = Japanese food; well researched; well written for a first novel
  • Relaxing / calming -> right for these times

What you disliked:

  • Disappointed about the Japanese content –> why use this approach? –> less than an creative endeavor –> academic background thrown around? (Not everybody agreed.)
  • Mori didn’t want to use the first name –> not appropriate –> unless in a fight, married –> include of the culture –> you can always delve deeper into a character –> “on the fence” with the first point of criticism
  • Got lost with Grace’s science –> didn’t work out for all of us
  • Clockwork parts –> technological miracles, AI Katsu, nobody is interested in the world –> not really a steampunk novel
  • Magical realism: accept the magic, think it’s mechanical –> downplaying –> fits the story –> we all just accept it
  • Writing style: calmness nice, but in conversations –> lost
  • Pace a bit slow in times –> daily routines –> topic of novel, but also a bit more action would have been nice

Thanks a lot for the discussing that I enjoyed a lot. I am also thankful that there’s a variety of people showing up at meetings even though there are some brave souls reading all the books I pick!

Stay safe & take care! I am looking forward to talking about “Howl’s Moving Castle” via Discord in May!

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