I have to admit — I’m not even sure how to review this one. It is just wonderful — like all of Natasha Pulley’s books. I loved The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Bedlam Stacks, and this is a fabulous addition to the series.
The Lost Future of Pepperharrow is a sort of sequel to Watchmaker, following the further adventures of Thaniel and Mori. Thaniel is now a diplomat (rather than an office grunt in the embassy offices). Mori has been off the grid for months, leaving Thaniel to take care of their ward, Six. Just as Thaniel is assigned to a mission in Tokyo, Mori returns and the three embark on the long journey to Asia. Oh, and most importantly, Katsu is back.
Tokyo harbor is in the shadow of the Russian Navy and the various legations within the city are getting tense. Strange static electrical storms are brewing and ghosts are swimming into peripheral vision. On the surface, Mori’s dynastic home is a calm oasis from the unrest, but the safety is eroding.
As with her previous books, Pulley develops slightly steampunk-y science that is delightful. She invents interesting physics that seem like they just might work. At the same time she tells a great story with danger, adventure, kindness, mystery, and oddness. Japanese culture, on the edge of Westernization, adds to the otherworldliness.
Mori’s ability to “remember the future,” Thaniel’s synesthesia and Six’s spectrum disorder all play an important role without taking over the narrative. Readers are also introduced to two new characters, both strong women. It definitely helps to balance out the story in what could have been a macho novel.
Tanaka had set up little fans and chalk packets in the ceilings all through Yoruji. They feathered down a soft snow of chalk, outlining any ghosts and falling in strange, soft blanket on the nightingale floors. It held the marks of everyone’s bootprints beautifully. Someone gave Kuroda a cotton mask on the way inside.
Like Tanaka had said, the ghosts were everywhere. In every corridor, at every corner, by every pool and balcony, they overlaid each other in silent crowds. The same people appeared again and again, Suzuki and Mrs. Pepperharrow, Mori; Kuroda even saw a glimpse of himself, walking the other way. Every single one was a perfect recording of a list instant months ago, years ago, all overwritten across each other. ~Pg. 339
Simply put, I loved the book and when I finished all I wanted to do was bask in its warm, filament glow.
My thanks to Bloomsbury for the review copy.
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (February 18, 2020)
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches