I had very, very mixed feelings about Legacy of the Clockwork Key! As much as I wanted to love it, I couldn't really get into it until we're well into it--about halfway maybe?
My biggest issues with the book: the main character and the romance.
But in order to understand why Meg was such a big issue, I'll start with the romance: It was basically insta-love at it's finest. Will is supposed to be cold and dangerous, but somehow he warms up to Meg almost immediately and suddenly he's risking almost everything for her--after knowing her for only two weeks. That's where I started to cringe a bit. And then, suddenly, Will is using the l-word after one kiss, and maybe three weeks of knowing her, tops. When done right, I'll fall in love with the romance, but the way it was written just irked me.
Bringing me to Meg. She was...well. She acted like a DID (Damsel in Distress) throughout the first 75% of the book until suddenly becoming a half-decent character. She's described as clever and witty, but in all honesty, it felt like she was more reliant and dependent than anything else. She was so easy to trust someone and maybe that's okay, but what definitely annoyed me was how she was (mostly) always right: she would get a "bad feeling" about this character and then "In my heart, I knew(...)", etc. She trusted basic strangers when there was a murderer out there! What's also annoying is that she almost killed herself, Lucinda, and Will because she was jealous and wanted to prove something--then had the nerve to say it wasn't her fault! Oh, my rage monster is rising!
But this was a clever book at least. One clue led to another and I was surprised by how complicated these machines seemed to be--and how familiar others were. Night vision goggles, a hidden passage behind a bookshelf, and a few others were invented--a century before though! The Amusementists were definitely clever people and I loved how Meg's grandfather laid out clues so nicely--and convenient. Her grandfather really thought of everything!
I loved the dialect that was so convincing. It definitely felt like I was back in the Victorian era and I loved seeing all these plot twists just jump out at you. The ending was what really shocked me even though I'm pretty sure I should've expected it. It's a fantastic book that's creative in the most subtle ways.
I'd recommend this for people who are just getting into steampunk since it introduces you to the world nicely (this is probably only my second steampunk book!) and isn't as confusing as some of the steampunks sound!