November 14, 2010

The Clockwork Three

The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby
Published in October 2010 by Scholastic Press
400 Pages
Reviewed from finished copy provided by publisher.
Junior Fiction

"Summary from goodreads"
Three ordinary children are brought together by extraordinary events. . . Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician from Italy, who was sold by his uncle to work as a slave for an evil padrone in the U.S. But when a mysterious green violin enters his life he begins to imagine a life of freedom.
Hannah is a soft-hearted, strong-willed girl from the tenements, who supports her family as a hotel maid when tragedy strikes and her father can no longer work. She learns about a hidden treasure, which she knows will save her family -- if she can find it.

And Frederick, the talented and intense clockmaker's apprentice, seeks to learn the truth about his mother while trying to forget the nightmares of the orphanage where she left him. He is determined to build an automaton and enter the clockmakers' guild -- if only he can create a working head.

Together, the three discover they have phenomenal power when they team up as friends, and that they can overcome even the darkest of fears.
I like the steam punk genre. There's something about the mechanics of clockwork that intrigue me. I think it's been around for ever, but I love that it has a name now. :)
The Clockwork Three is a debut novel for Matthew Kirby whose also a teacher. The book follows the lives of three children who are strangers in the beginning, and whose lives intersect at various parts within the novel. Each chapter follows one of the characters as they make their way through the hand that life has dealt them. Guiseppe was my favourite character as he had such a beautiful and loyal heart and I think his story was one of the saddest although all three had suffered terrible tragedies.
I also connected with  Hannah. Her love for her father and family and faith in all things that are good enables her to overcome incredible obstacles.
The only character I had trouble connecting with was Frederick. I'm not sure why other than a lot of the exciting parts happened when Kirby was writing about the other two children. There were times where I skimmed his chapters.
The three stories come together in the end and we see how we can touch other peoples lives without realizing it and how sometimes the people we meet are the people we need at that time.
A good book to recommend to the 9-12 age range.

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