When I have the choice between reading another book or reviewing the one I have just read, I usually choose to read another one. As much as I adore shouting about books on my blog, reading is, after all, my first love!
Therefore, I have decided to do some mini-review posts to tell you about some other books which I have read and think you might enjoy.
This time, the mini-reviews are all themed around clockwork, which seems to be turning up more and more in children’s books. I am a big fan of steampunk so I’m really enjoying this!
The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher
Travelling to a new home with an unknown new family, orphan Seren Rees is shivering in a Victorian station waiting room, when she is given a mysterious newspaper parcel by a strange and frightened man, who then disappears. Reluctantly she takes it with her… But what is in the parcel? Who are the Family who must not be spoken of, and can the Crow help Seren find Tom, the boy who has been missing for a year and a day, before the owner of the parcel finds her?
The Clockwork Crow is a gripping Christmas tale of enchantment and belonging, set in a frost-bound mansion in snowy mid-Wales, from a master storyteller.
I love everything Catherine Fisher has written so had to read this!
This book reads like a classic, feeling familiar and warming like many books I read as a child. It reminded me of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase in feel. It was fast-paced, with Seren being thrown into a new place and a new adventure simply by happenstance. It is a brilliant adventure, with elements of folklore and character evoked masterfully in just a few lines.
My only niggle was that the book being so short meant that I was left with a lot of questions – I hope that this will be the beginning of a new series! One that I will be adding to my box of wintry/ Christmas books to read while curled up under a blanket with a hot drink!
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
Some secrets change the world in a heartbeat…
Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her?
With her friends—Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox—Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart…
Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian adventure.
I absolutely adore this book so am somewhat ashamed not to have written a review of it before! I have read it out loud to hundreds of children and they have been absolutely enraptured. Lily is a great heroine and I have a very soft spot for Malkin, the mechanical fox companion ho helps Lily on her way. This reminds me in tone of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and reads like a classic.
The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James
Wealthy students from across the galaxy come to learn at the prestigious academy where Hugo toils as a watchmaker. But he is one of the lucky ones. Many androids like him are jobless and homeless. Someone like Dorian could never understand their struggle – or so Hugo thinks when the pompous duke comes banging at his door. But when Dorian’s broken time-travel watch leads them to discover a sinister scheme, the pair must reconcile their differences if they are to find the culprit in time.
A wildly imaginative sci-fi adventure from YA star Lauren James, particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
This is such an imaginative and gorgeous story of friendship, adventure and discrimination. I loved Hugo and Dorian, as well as the gentle development of their friendship throughout the story. Lady Ada De Winters was another favourite and I loved meeting a small sampling of the alien races in this book as they are all so diverse and fascinating. I would love to read more set in this world and feel that it does an admirable job of examining some of our societal assumptions in such a short time.
Look out for this one on 15th July!
The Starspun Web by Sinead O’Hart
For fans of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy comes a thrilling adventure about a brave girl who finds a portal to parallel worlds, and must protect her secret from the evil forces trying to capture it.
All her life, Tess has lived at Miss Ackerbee’s orphanage with her friends and her pet tarantula, Violet. But one day, a mysterious man named Mr. Cleat shows up and whisks Tess away to live with him. Before Tess leaves, Miss Ackerbee gives her a strange lens, and makes an even stranger admission: that Tess can travel to parallel worlds, and has been able to do so since she was found as a baby. Now, with her newfound abilities and the mysterious lens in tow, Tess must navigate life with Mr. Cleat and his nefarious housekeeper, who seem to be up to more than they let on. As Tess learns about the lens and its role in transporting her to other worlds, she discovers that behind Mr. Cleat’s oily smiles is a darker intention: one that could bring the world to its feet. Can Tess keep her secret from Mr. Cleat, and figure out what he’s up to? And what if the lens falls into the wrong hands? With the help of Violet and her friends from the orphanage, Tess can finally discover the truth about Mr. Cleat and, more importantly, herself.
After loving Sinead O’Hart’s debut book, The Eye of the North, I was really excited to read this. Needless to say, I was not disappointed!
The story follows Tess De Sousa, who has grown up in a home for orphaned children thinking she is a completely normal person. Yet, whenever a mysterious man appears at the orphanage with a ‘claim’ to her, her guardian reveals the intriguing circumstances of Tess’s arrival at the home and her belief that Tess is, in fact, not even from this world but a parallel universe.
Their original plan is to send Tess away as her parents were obviously eager to hide her, but Tess decides that the best way to find out more about her past is to go with the strange man and investigate from the inside.
The story is original and refreshing and the characters will find a place in your heart. Tess is the perfect protagonist – she is headstrong, smart but also a bit impatient. Her friendships with the girls in the home were some of my favourite scenes to read.
Thomas, the boy she meets in a parallel universe (which seems to be our world’s Dublin during the 1940s), is also investigating the theory of parallel universes and how to see or travel between them.
I loved how real historical details were woven in among the fantasy and how this story dealt with all the characters with such warmth.
A lovely middle-grade story, highly recommended for any who have enjoyed Cogheart or Sky Song!
I have now borrowed a copy of Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy from the library, after seeing it mentioned in this summary.
Have you read any of these books?
Would you like to read any of them after reading this post?
Could you recommend any other books featuring clockwork?
What are you reading at the moment?
Thanks for reading!