This review first appeared on Goodreads. You can view it here: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley
After reading both The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and Natasha Pulley’s related short story “The Eel Singers” (from the collection The Haunting Season, Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights), I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this. I loved spending time with Thaniel, Mori and Six in Pulley’s richly re-imagined Victorian London.
Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot, though I didn’t feel that the narrative pulled together quite as coherently as it did in the earlier stories. This may have been, in part, due to the complexity of the story itself. There are more viewpoint characters in this novel, and the narrative jumps between settings a bit more than it did in the first book. Mori’s background also felt a tiny bit muddled in places, but that may have been intentional (or maybe I didn’t read those parts closely enough). That said, the glimpses into Mori’s life in Meiji-era Japan prior to meeting Thaniel were fascinating to read.
Pulley does a fantastic job of integrating her research, cultural and linguistic knowledge into the story. As always, I love how she blends fantasy with historical fiction, exploring what could (or might?) have happened. The steampunk elements are super fun too.
If you haven’t read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street yet then I’d recommend reading that novel first, as this novel builds upon what happens there. If, like me, you love that book, then you’ll probably want to read this one too.