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Legacy of the Clockwork Key (The Secret Order #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,169 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews
When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow.

Hardcover, 409 pages
Published March 2013 by Simon Pulse
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Community Reviews

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This book was honestly a waste of my time. I really don't understand how I gave it a 2-star rating.

So, I read this from April 15 to April 16, so yeah, 2 days. 1? No 2. Okay. I expected this book to amaze me. For some reason I just did. I've never been a fan of historical fiction books so maybe that's why.
I decided to buy it, letting the 2nd book stay on the shelf instead of buying it as well. But when I finished the book, I was tempted to give it a 1 star rating in
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
As a steampunk reader, I can be nitpicky and entirely too difficult to please and I know it. However, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say that Legacy of the Clockwork Key fell short of what I had expected. For starters, it read more like Middle Grade than Young Adult and was, in many ways, far too naïve and oversimplified for my liking. In truth, I’m not sure it can even be classified as steampunk; it certainly started as one, and the author approached it very ambitiously, but the ex ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Regan rated it liked it
Shelves: books-owned-read
We are going to pretend that I finished this in March.

I enjoyed the beginning of this book, at first I thought the story was going to be very interesting and even creepy. I was wrong. This story was by no means bad, but it was very linear, characters go to point A, now B, ect. There was always the same villain, and there was no twists. I found myself speed reading the ending to quickly finish the book.

Not the worst book i have ever read, but by no means the best either.
May 06, 2012 Julie rated it it was amazing
Seriously guys, this book is awesome. Full of adventure and twists and just...add this to your wishlists!
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
I KNEW IT! I knew steampunk was gonna be the 'next big thing'!
I hate writing negative reviews. And it pains me to say that for a book I was quite looking forward to, this was a major letdown. When I was thinking about what I wanted to include in this review, I struggled to come up with much that was positive. My experience with this book was pretty much: let's just get this over with.

Meg's life now is that of a maid, a complete contrast to the comfortable lifestyle she led before her parents died and Lord Rathford took her in. All she has left of her famil
Anatea Oroz
Feb 28, 2013 Anatea Oroz rated it it was ok
This review is also posted on my blog, Anatea's Bookshelf.

I am not really a steampunk reader and this is actually my first steampunk novel. And as I figured out I actually do like this genre, this novel failed to impress me. What I was expecting is a book full of thrilling and suprising clues, but insead I got a quite simple and predictable storyline.

It's not that I didn't like the story, I just couldn't get into it as much as I would have liked. I found myself whishing to be done with Legacy of
*A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster for review purposes*

Coming into this book, I was unbelievably excited. The summery looked absolutely amazing…but unfortunately the book wasn’t. And it’s such a shame because Bailey had such an awesome idea. I just felt like the story line was so see-through, the whole mystery aspect of the book was way too easy, and the staging was atrocious. I also didn’t enjoy the romance AT ALL! I think it was very badly written, and so cliché and done before. I li
Apr 19, 2016 Veiledhorizon rated it it was ok
Longer review to come soon(due to exams DX)
Oh my,I expected a lot from this book but was let down. The character,Will was iffy while the main character,Meg was a little too whiny. The plot was not well developed too.
Mar 06, 2013 Zuleeza rated it liked it
Actual rating 2.5 stars


Where is that special something I was looking for?

Where is it?

Yea, it reads like a steampunk book, it's good, the plot was nice, the prose okay. But guys, for a traditionally published book, this was just not good enough. If this was published three years ago, I'd go ballistic for it but at the current standard, this just didn't cut it.

You know, if this book was made into an epic-fantasy video game, I'd be happy to play it. But as a book, it lacks powerful characters a
May 08, 2013 Leann rated it it was amazing
When Meg’s home is destroyed by a fire and her parents are killed, her fortune and future are gone. She is left with only the tarnished pocket watch of her dad’s. She is offered a job as a housemaid in Lord Rathford’s mansion and this is really her only option. Strange things are always occurring there as each day she must get up and clean the house and place everything back exactly the way that it was the day before, the tea cup on it’s side on the table, the rug askew in the hall and it was Me ...more
Mar 15, 2013 Esmeralda rated it did not like it
Shelves: giving-up, spies, realms
Couldn't finish. I liked how the story began. But as the story continued it went down hill. The main character is annoy and silly. I can't understand why she does the things she does. One example she is following clues to know more about her family and the group she doesn't stop to think things through. Or stop to think period. It is like she is following breadcrumbs without stoping to look that they lead to a open and very hot oven, dragging people who are trying to help with her. Not to mentio ...more
Mar 05, 2015 Pamela marked it as dnf
Oh, the miserable, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when the awkward, clunky romance lumbers into a book like a kaiju and demolishes all of the pretty things the author has built.

This book starts out rather well: our heroine, Meg, has lost everything--parents, wealth, position, and home--to a catastrophic fire. The only link she has to her past life is a tarnished old watch that she found by her father's body. Her father's solicitor informs her that she must find employment to survive, b
Amy B
Aug 26, 2015 Amy B rated it it was ok
So, it was a little more than "ok" but I just had too many issues with it to give it three. Still, I enjoyed it and will probably see what the next installments have to offer. :) My rating is based more off of personal taste than of the author's skill.

There were several good points to Legacy of the Clockwork Key. I found it to be well-written with a smooth and easy flow. Bailey's strong point, I think, is her detailed descriptions of all things clockwork, and the inventions she devises are reall
Feb 09, 2015 Holly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of steampunk
Yay, I finally got to read this!! Thank you to Simon for making this available at PulseIt in anticipation of the third book. I've just started book 2 and hope I can get my hands on book 3 soon! While I agree with some other reviewers that Meg was rather naive and seemed younger than 16, we do have to remember that the story is set in the Victorian era, when girls and women did not get an education anything like boy's. Nor were they really allowed a real-world education, at least not those of the ...more
I also read this book for free on Pulseit. This was the first book that I read that I was aware was steampunk. I've read Pullman's His Dark Materials series. And after reading this book, I became obsessed with steampunk. Since reading this book, I have read at least a dozen steampunk books and I am never looking back.


After Meg's mansion is set on fire, her family and the wealthy life she once had are gone. She has nothing left. With no money left to her name, she must become a servant. The house
May 23, 2013 Mara rated it it was ok
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I absolute love the cover art, with the wheels in the upper corners, and the clockwork bird, and the skyline of London. It's extremely attention-grabbing for a Reader like me, who loves Victorian mysteries. Unfortunately, the cover is a bit misleading.

Characters: The biggest problem was Meg Whitlock, the protagonist. Quick to take offense to the slightest tease or criticism, Meg spent the majority of the book angry at someone - usually Will MacDonald. Her foul temper caus
Originally posted at: Girls on YA Books

The Legacy of the Clockwork Key is one of those other 2013 debuts that just rock your socks! I loved it to absolutely no end!! There have been about 4 books that have been released this year that have already made my top 5! This my friends, would be one of them. I absolutely love steampunk novels but I read them so rarely. So it’s one of those genres (and I am sure you have heard me mention this several different times on SEVERAL different occasion
Van (Short & Sweet Reviews)
Mar 04, 2013 Van (Short & Sweet Reviews) rated it really liked it
Meg is orphaned after a fire killed both her parents, and with nowhere to go she takes a position of a housemaid in a big ol’ creepy mansion. Day in and day out she cleans room after room, keeping everything as is since the day the baroness of the house passed away. As for the Baron, she has never met him but all the servant says he watches over them and knows everything that goes on in the mansion. On one of Meg’s usual cleaning routine she stumbles upon a wall clock with the same three pedals ...more
Aug 16, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
see my full review on my blog

As though Meg has some features, not some many features of Tessa Gray, i can't say i didn't enkoy the book. The whole non-magical of it was worth it. And i do think that 2nd book will be as good as this one, so yes, one thing confused me deeply, and i guess i will find the answer in the next book, who is the man who killed Meg's parents amd tries to kill her too? I was fascinated by the all gear-invertions. And i really loved
Jan 10, 2016 Annie rated it really liked it
An adventurous steampunk read with great mystery.. Young Meg has had her life turned upside down following the tragic fire that claimed the life of her parents.. she becomes a maid for a Lord's house then uncovers a family mystery which sends her on adventure to find the truth.. Interesting how the mystery relates to clever inventions her family were connected with.. full of mystery, twists and even a hint of romance.. pretty good read..
Rebecca McNutt
Feb 13, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
Part tragic story of a girl who loses everything, and part spellbinding story about a fantasy world that she has a key to, this novel is original, adventurous and really worth reading.
Okay. *sigh*
I didn't finish this book.
I don't know....when I flipped through it because I was bored I kind of got some tiny spoilers and lost interest.
At least I made it to page 100.
Okay, yeah, thats pretty bad considering I didn't even get half way.
And its not the books fault! Or the main character's fault! It's mine.
I was bored and uninterested and distracted and it....kind of got pushed onto the side.
And then I found some other amazing books that completely captured me (AHEM AHEM
This book started off with an intriguing premise and story line, but halfway through I found it silly and the protagonist's behavior a bit embarrassing. It just couldn't keep my interest.
Kelly Hager
Apr 01, 2013 Kelly Hager rated it really liked it
This is a promising beginning for a new trilogy. I will also admit that I am predisposed to like this as it deals with a dead parent and is extremely gothic in tone.

Meg is a fantastic heroine, one who is unapologetically smart but is also very relatable. While this book is very much steeped in class distinctions (Meg, especially, is very aware of how far she's fallen in London society), Meg isn't as concerned with her reputation as one might expect. Instead, her attention is focused on figuring
Apr 27, 2016 Emmaleah rated it liked it
3.5 stars

To me, it went to fast at the start but ended up action filled and more interesting towards the end. Overall, a good book with an interesting concept.
Nov 07, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
Can we please stop writing young female characters that 'aren't worthy' of the attention of anyone? Ugh. This is a trope that needs to be buried with its head lopped off so that it can stop coming back undead.

Outside of the annoyances of a weak female character leading a group of strong characters, I would have liked to hear how many of the inventions worked. 'Gears' isn't quite enough to satisfy my desire to understand the inventions - though the descriptions of the scenery and the appearance
Paperback Princess
Jul 29, 2015 Paperback Princess rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YA Steampunk-lovers
Recommended to Paperback Princess by: Itching for Book Tours
Shelves: tour
Kristin Bailey wrote a FANTASTIC debut novel! The Legacy of the Clockwork Key, the first book in the Secret Order Trilogy was so enjoyable that I could not put the book down! It was fast-paced filled with so many mysteries that you can't get enough of! Each turn of Meg's adventure has you eagerly anticipating for more.

Meg is a recently-orphaned young woman, now working as a maid at Lord Rathford's manor. Meg's life is mundane, boring and tiresome as her daily activity is repeated day in and day
Nicolette Vaughn-Etzel
May 31, 2015 Nicolette Vaughn-Etzel rated it it was amazing
There are few books that I read twice. I read a lot of books; I don't often choose to go back and re-read something. I've read this book maybe... 7 times now? It goes on my list of best books.

Here's why:

These characters are very rich and vivid. Meg is relatable, realistic, and amusing. She makes mistakes, and there are consequences. But she's also resourceful, clever, and honest.

Will is swoon-worthy, but also a real person. He doesn't rule Meg, but neither does Meg rule him. They are two indep
Aug 11, 2014 Katy rated it it was amazing
Legacy of the Clockwork Key
by Kristin Bailey

Book Trailer

Author's Website

Gears, wheels and clockworks oh, my…

Mechanical beasties, men, horses and ships…

Murder and mayhem, romance and adventure

This first installment in the trilogy, The Secret Order, opens a world misplaced in time that will intrigue and delight teens of fantasy, sci-fi, mystery and romance. With in the first few pages you are dropped down in the middle of a
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Kristin Bailey grew up in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in California. As a kid she enjoyed visiting the beach, camping and skiing with her two brothers.

Now she is a military wife and mother of two young children. She is also terrible about spoiling her pets. She has one fluffy mutt, two cats who think they own the world, and a fish tank with a quartet of fat fish, and two secretive striped
More about Kristin Bailey...

Other Books in the Series

The Secret Order (3 books)
  • Rise of the Arcane Fire (The Secret Order, #2)
  • Shadow of the War Machine (The Secret Order #3)

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“He could sit in the dust and dark of the carriage house and rot for the rest of his life. Clearly that's what he wished to do. It was not my place to get in the way of so profound a destiny.” 8 likes
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