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I received a free copy of Ticker by Lisa Mantchev via Amazon’s Kindle First program. I don’t read a lot of steampunk – in fact, this might be the second steampunk novel I’ve ever read – but I found the premise of a girl with a clockwork heart more intriguing than any of this month’s other offerings. 

I’ll start this off by saying that while Ticker isn’t marketed as being super steampunky, it is. The gadgets are thrown at you until you’re fed up with the very idea of technology, and then a few more times just for good measure. Because, in case you’ve forgotten in the last three sentences, this is a steampunk book, remember? Steampunk. Steampunk. Steampunk! You didn’t forget, right? Okay, good. It’s steampunk. Have a clockwork horse or something so you don’t forget. 

I wish that Mantchev had put as much effort into developing her characters and their relationships as she did into developing her gadgets. While the world is pretty solid, the characters are only weakly connected. The romance is barely hinted at before it becomes A Thing. The bad guy is almost laughable. The events are so disjointed that I actually thought I’d missed huge sections of the book. Even Penny’s illness seems contrived, when one moment she’s out running around town and the next she’s confined to bed for days, unable to eat or move. 

Maybe if steampunk was my genre of choice, I’d be able to forgive the messy writing. But as it is, Ticker was highly disappointing. 

Final rating: ★

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