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Search tags: Nikki-McCormack
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review 2015-07-06 05:37
Not Everything Ran Like Clockwork
The Girl and the Clockwork Cat (Entangled Teen) - Nikki McCormack

This is what happens when a decent author with a good story gets screwed over by her craptastic publisher.

 

The Girl and the Clockwork Cat is a good story with likable characters. My main problem with the story is that the world building is so lacking. It's Victorian(ish) London with steam coaches and such, but the reader isn't given much more than that. In all matters not pertaining to lock-picking and purse-snatching, our MC Maeko knows less than Jon Snow. Characters occasionally try to school her on matters pertinent to the plot, but it's not enough to form a complete picture, so the reader is left to piece together what they can. Consequently, I'm a little confused as to how the Literati can be the police force and also some type of political party, and it seems pirates are some type of political party too, when they're not dressing like harlots (in Maeko's opinion) and playing exotic music in pubs. Or maybe that's how they do their campaigning? No idea. I'm not even sure if this version of England has a monarch. Sketchy world building aside, it's paced well with drama and suspense, and on storytelling merits alone I would give it at least three stars (even though I thought the love triangle was totally unnecessary), but it's plagued by the typical sloppy editing I've come to expect from Entangled.

 

Entangled is, in my opinion, little better than a story sweatshop. They crank out hundreds of books a year and quality suffers for quantity as books are rushed through production. Some of their books happily receive quality editing. The rest? Well, this book is a prime example. Missing words, extra words, wrong words, non-words, punctuation errors, tense issues, continuity errors, redundancies, and just about every single problem copy editing and proofreading are supposed to catch weren't caught. The cat's artificial appendage keeps switching legs. Past simple is used when past perfect is called for. Redundancies like "lowering down" were left in. The errors are plentiful and distracting, but I'd still like to read the next installment and see where these characters go from here. I just pray it gets better editing.

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text 2015-07-03 07:15
Reading progress update: I've read 48%.
The Girl and the Clockwork Cat (Entangled Teen) - Nikki McCormack

From location 1621 (48%): The cat climbed onto her lap, placed a paw on either side of her neck, one warm and alive, the other chilly brass, and pressed his head against her neck.

 

However, earlier at location 152 (5%) it said: An engraved, articulated metal armor fully encased its left back leg and shoulder, complete with little brass claws at the end of each toe.

 

Either I read that description at loc 152 wrong (not to mention the book cover), or the cat totally just shoved his ass in Maeko's face and somehow managed to rub his head on her neck at the same time. THIS CAT IS AMAZING!

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text 2015-07-02 14:46
Reading progress update: I've read 41%.
The Girl and the Clockwork Cat (Entangled Teen) - Nikki McCormack

Is it just me, or does anyone else find flashbacks written in present tense to be counter-intuitive and off-putting?

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text 2015-04-22 16:31
Dont think I'll bother with the next one
The Girl and the Clockwork Cat (Entangled Teen) - Nikki McCormack

Updated with my full review which disappeared for some reason.

 

Nope. It just didn't really grab me. 

 

I really, really wanted to like this one. I mean it’s Steampunk with a cat, so it should be right up my street. But it just didn’t quite work for me.

As I said in my previous update, the world-building was weak. One thing I enjoy about Steampunk is the use of alternative/bygone technology and there wasn’t enough of that to make the world truly come alive. Also the politics of the ‘Lits’ and the ‘Pirates’ wasn’t fully explored, which was a shame because I think that was something which could have been very interesting. Far more interesting in fact, than the completely unnecessary love triangle and Maeko banging on about Ash’s eyes.

Maeko bugged me a bit. She’s a supposedly streetwise, hardbitten person living off her wits, but always seemed to veer into TSTL territory, which didn’t fit in with her character. And the two guys are cardboard cutouts of every single other love interest you’ve read. There’s Ash with the amazing eyes (seriously, they must be fabulous because Maeko tells us over and over). He’s from a wealthy family, kind-hearted and trusting and is the complete opposite of Chaff, Maeko’s fellow thief and mentor. Maeko swithers between the two of them for the entire book and never comes to a decision.

There were a few typos (‘taught’ instead of ‘taut’ for instance) and places where the wrong word was used, but it wasn’t bad enough to jerk me out of the story. And as the book is set in London, the author was pretty good at having her characters using British words, but occasionally ‘pants’ instead of ‘trousers’, and ‘mom’ instead of ‘mum’ would sneak in. (A hole in one’s pants means something very different to a Brit).

As for the cat…. Well he was my favourite character even though I couldn’t work out from the various descriptions just how much of him was fur and how much was mechanical. The first description tells us he’s got a mechanical back leg and a mechanical shoulder. But then later on, it sounds as if one of his front legs is also mechanical, but that gets contradicted a couple of times, so who knows. But he sounded a lot smarter than most of the people in the book.

I think my problem with this book is not that it’s bad (I’ve read a lot worse), but that there is so much YA and steampunk out there that is better.

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text 2015-04-21 02:55
Reading progress update: I've read 69%.
The Girl and the Clockwork Cat (Entangled Teen) - Nikki McCormack

Ack. The love triangle is completely unnecessary. The story could hold up quite easily without it. And I'm getting rather fed up with hearing about Ash's eyes. Yeah, they're amazing. I get it. They're also wondrous, beautiful, mesmerizing and every other fucking word in the thesaurus. 

 

The world building is a bit weak. It's supposed to be steampunk, but I need more than a few references to airships and a bit of clockwork gadgetry to make it come alive. And talking of clockwork; "...metal armor fully encased [the cat's] left back leg and shoulder,..." Hmm, I'm not quite sure how the shoulder thing works, but we then get, "The cat climbed onto her lap, placed a paw on either side of her neck, one warm and alive, the other chilly brass,..." Huh? Since when did it have a mechanical front leg? Am I missing something here?

 

And 'bollocks' is a fantastic word (I use it a lot). But it needs to be used properly or you just sound silly. 

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