I have been a fan of Cornelia Grey’s works for few years now, ever since I read her short story for the first time back in 2011. Over the years, I have loved all of her books and was overjoyed when she finally released her first novel back in 2014. This would be her second, clocks in around 69k, another entry in her Deal with a Devil series). It can be read as a stand-alone, though, because the only similarity coming from these series is the devil, Farfarello.
In The Empty Hourglass , Thomas is a toymaker who lost his hand after an accident destroyed his laboratory. He comes to the city of Montrale, where the reclusive Jethro Hastings lives. Jethro is said to be the best prosthetic inventor and Thomas wants to ask Jethro to make one for his hand….
Unfortunately, this will be my first experience where I completely underwhelmed with the story. In fact, I have to be honest and say that this is my least favorite of Grey’s. I think my biggest problem with it was the fact that the story was written from Thomas’ perspective, and for once, he wasn’t the one making the deal with the devil. I didn’t feel the urgency — that intense situation of one facing the end of his days, of losing his soul to the devil. In that sense, I felt like nothing ‘big’ happened in the book and I kept waiting and waiting … and waiting.
I also found Jethro to be rather defeatist as a character, and maybe I would’ve liked him better if he was given his own POV in the book so he could ‘fight’ for his case, so to speak . For example, the background of him making deal with Farfarello, the part with Stefan, that was rather wasted because it was only mentioned during the time of needs, not before.
I guess I couldn’t agree more with Farfarello when he said this:
“You are screwing everything up! I swear, in centuries I have never had so much trouble. Time is running out! Why won’t you two just do what you’re supposed to?”
It was not a very good sign where I found secondary character, like Mina the ghost, and Dragana the blind inventor, to be more intriguing rather than Jethro as (supposedly) love interest of Thomas. Heck, I wouldn’t exactly call him love interest too because if you’re looking for romance, it was pretty lackluster.
So yes, this was a meh read for me and I couldn’t fully recommend it if you’re a newbie of Cornelia Grey’s works. She has other things that are way better. One that I always happily recommend will be (currently out of print) Benjamin Pepperwhistle and the Fantabulous Circus of Wonders
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
Title: The Empty Hourglass
Author: Cornelia Grey
Genre: Steampunk Fantasy
Word Count: 69,100
Publisher: Anglerfish Press (a Riptide Publishing Imprint)
Release Date: April 11, 2016