The Doomsday Vault by Steven Harper
Light urban steampunk it is! Oh, and it’s Click the clockwork cat!
In a clockwork Brittania, Alice’s prospects are slim. At 21, her age and her unladylike interest in automatons have sealed her fate as an undesirable marriage prospect. But a devastating plague sends Alice off in a direction beyond the pale-towards a clandestine organization, mad inventors, life-altering secrets, and into the arms of an intrepid fiddle-playing airship pilot.
Yes, there is a sequel out, which I just could not get into.
I don’t know. I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s not, but I hesitate to say that it’s wonderful. I guess if you really want a light urban steampunk, and you’ve read all the Carrigers already?
Did I mention the clockwork cat? It was absolutely my favorite character of the whole book.
The “Clockwork Plague”! It isn’t all bad–it might make you into a mechanical genius!
…And even if you become a zombie, you’ll still have an appreciation for music!
I should have loved Alice in theory, but she never quite developed for me. The first couple scenes were great, where she shows her technical prowess, but then she seemed to become defined by her instalove for Gavin, who…was sort of a nonentity. The worldbuilding was pretty great, but I couldn’t fall in love with it, because the characters were weak. Highlight for spoiler: Also, Gavin’s catching the clockwork plague and the resultant uselessness of Alice’s natural talents was a big reason I didn’t finish the second book. Why make her so talented and then negate that?