So. I'm not a huge fan of steampunk. It's just not my particular fetish--reading about how normal things might have been made with OMG GEARS ALL OVER THEM bores the hell out of me. I like this book, though. My issues with it are the opposite of those I had with The Night Circus, which, while beautifully written with lively, eccentric characters, fell flat because of the lame love story.The love story here is pretty good. It's shoved to the side, but that works because Emma's love interest isn't the male lead of the story, and Emma is a compelling enough character that you believe she has the effect she is portrayed to have on the men of the story (unlike in novels like Twilight, where the lead girl is dull and lifeless).The plot worked fine for me, too. My only real issue with this novel is the characterization of Archibald Clare and those of several of the incidental characters. Archibald is a Sherlock Holmes-type character, but it...I don't know. It just doesn't quite ring true to me. The reader is told that things Archibald is doing are annoying, but they don't really seem to be. Does that make sense? And the side characters, with the notable exception of Mikal, are similarly poorly conceived.That said, it's a fun, well-written book. The author does a good job with word choice, and she isn't overly descriptive of the steampunk elements of the environment--the reader is told no more than she needs to know to follow the story, and sometimes not even that. What a relief.