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

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,010 ratings  ·  170 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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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
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
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.
Anatea Oroz
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
DNF at 180 pages.

I couldn't do it, I could not make myself finish this book - and that says a lot. Ask Taylor, Ellyce, Miccaeli, Nathalie, Kate and Caroline: I will read anything. Even if the plot isn't so great or the romance and worldbuilding are lackluster/forced/unbelievable, generally I've read myself into a place of guilty pleasures and I'll keep going just to satisfy my curiosity about what happens at the end.

Not so with The Legacy of the Clockwork Key. YA steampunk books are a rare bre
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
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 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
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
Lizzie the Sarcastic Blonde
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
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
I'm sorry. I really couldn't finish this. I tried to, but I can't. Review soon.


So I felt so bad not finishing the book, that I finally decided to actually read the remaining 158 pages that were left.

This is the story of Meg, and how she, after being orphaned and forced to work for an extremely mysterious man. She's never actually seen the man, but everyone that works in the house is absolutely terrified of him. When Meg discovers a secret she may not have wanted to, she's fired from her
Van (Short & Sweet Reviews)
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
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
Kelly Hager
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
Nicolette Vaughn-Etzel
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
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
Jules Goud
I really only have one real complaint.

I was rolling my eyes at Meg's romance or as she would say "the love of her life". Seriously. She knows absolutely nothing about him. And she loves him. Really? I wouldn't say that it is love.

Anyways, steampunk seemed to be popping up so much lately that I decide to roll with it and pick up this book that my librarian picked out for me. Not a bad choice. It was quite good, I must say.

I have to admit that I loved the automatons. They were wicked cool and to t
Meg has had quite a reversal of fortune when her family home burns down along with her loving family. She is forced to serve as maid in the home of a madman, and soon uncovers a plot shrouded in mystery involving a secret group of imaginative inventors called the Amusementists. With her newly made friends Meg must gather together the pieces of a special creation and stop a evil (or misguided) attempt to tear the fabric of time.
I liked that this was kind of a toned-down streampunk book- the inve
The Twins Read
This review can originally be found at The Twins Read.

Actual rating: 2.5/5

After a fire ravages Meg's home and kills her parents, she's forced to work as a maid in Lord Rathford's home - she takes that opportunity because it's certainly better than being tossed out onto the streets. Meg takes her grandfather's pocket watch with her only to find out that the pocket watch is actually a key. A key that will unlock truths and lead Meg into the secret society of the Amusementists - brilliant men who
Have you ever wondered how great books often slide by you? Yes, well that happened to me with this particular title. Apparently this book was the debut for the author back in 2013 and I just completely missed the memo! However, I am so glad that I found out about it now. This book is full of so much imagination and steampunk that I might explode with excitement before I finish typing this review. Meg’s life has been swept out from under her as we begin the story. Her home has burned, killing her ...more
Jessica Cheung
This is just going to be a very short review because I'm not going to write about the content (spoilers) but I just want to let everyone know how I feel about this book.

'Legacy of the Clockwork Key' is amazing. It captivated me right from the very start; right from the first word. The author used such detail in her writing and I think this book is a true success. I savoured every word in this book and I love to read and re-read it over and over again. It's under my 'currently reading' list at th
I'm not all that familiar with the steampunk genre but I really enjoyed this book and I think it is a good beginning for a promising series. I do think this a good book for readers looking to get into this genre. It is not too technical with mechanical details for the reader to get lost in.

The Cons:
~One problem I had with the story,was that there were some inventions that did just not seem possible using steam and clockwork technology. A couple of the 'amusements' were like modern technology. S
When her parents die in a fire, a mysterious and unseen employer takes Meg in as a maid, and she believes servitude will now be her life, until a watch turns out to be so much more than it appears, setting her on a path to romance, friendship and self-discovery.

I’m not a big reader of adventure and there’s a lot of it here, so those sections had me a little less enthralled, but I think if you are into action, as well as detailed steampunk creations, you’ll probably enjoy it, Meg’s a great heroin
Mar 27, 2013 Jen marked it as incomplete
DNF at 25%
The plot is literally going nowhere, and the romance is uncomfortable. Meg, the main character, seems confused a lot. Her need to find out about her family's past is too dull and uninteresting. I'm sorry, but I really just can't read for another 75% about Meg's grandfather.

Not writing a full review for this, since I didn't actually finish this.
Mariana Brennan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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)
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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